Fuji A Opera: An Historic Night Redefining Fuji

Fuji: A Opera hosted its third edition of Fuji Vibrations at Muri Okunola Park, Victoria Island, on December 7th, 2023, showcasing five iconic artists on one stage. The event thrilled a diverse audience, creating historic and unforgettable moments.

Similar to previous years, the audience represented various walks of life. This year, apart from technocrats, industry captains, media moguls, tech entrepreneurs, influencers, and music journalists, there was a group of thrill-seekers who could easily be mistaken for Fuji music historians, critics, gatekeepers, and taste-makers. This year marked both a beginning and an end.

Jide Taiwo, the long-running host of Fuji Vibrations, delivered an opening charge that reminded the audience of the night’s monumental event. DJ Kulet, Nigeria’s first female Fuji DJ, was on the decks for the evening. Her thoughtful interruptions, quick musical quips, and extended plays became the evening’s soundtrack.

Alhaji Musibau Alabi, also known as Omokekere, was the first to take the stage, and his performance was both serene and melodious—strikingly resonant on the drums and soothing on the pipes. Even among a sea of stars, his humble charm made him memorable. His mastery and command of the genre were anything but small-scale. His alias is brilliant irony.

Nkechi Obidi, the project manager of Fuji Vibrations, delivered a concise and warm welcome address. She expressed gratitude to the sponsors—Korect Bitters, Goldberg Lager Beer, and Supa Komando Energy Drink—for their steadfast support of Fuji Vibrations 3.0. Additionally, she highlighted the significant contributions of partners and collaborators, such as the Lagos State Government, LASPARK, LASAA, Mezovest, Coca-Cola Hellenic and Eclipse Live, whose involvement was pivotal to the success of the night including FUJI: A Opera’s Executive Producers; Tosin Ashafa and Papa Omotayo .

The night unfolded in vibrant colors—fuchsia and red. The VIP area on the right featured attendees dressed in white Fuji Opera merchandise and Fuchsia Ankara fabrics, each tailored to express individual personalities through diverse styles and accessories. Some even made Boy Scout scarves out of the fabric.

Baa Wasi (a.k.a Pasuma) was set to perform, and the ovation echoed loudly. Everyone stood shoulder to shoulder, craning their necks towards the podium, their eyes radiating intense focus. The suspense reached its zenith. Then, he appeared—humble and unassuming. Clad in a black polo, denim trouser, and a black face cap, his salt-and-pepper beard framing his face, his gold tooth sparkling with his smile.

Grasping the microphone, he emitted a gentle growl as he began to sing, igniting an ecstatic response from the crowd. He commenced his performance regally, acknowledging the presence of all Fuji musicians on the bill. Even DJ Kulet received a triumphant acknowledgement. He notably recognized the contribution of a female Fuji DJ to the genre’s economy. Pasuma astounded the audience by flawlessly belting out the lyrics of his contemporaries, eliciting wild enthusiasm. The atmosphere teetered between raucous excitement and the making of a historic moment right before our eyes.

The display of respect from an elder to his peers was enchanting, prompting Atawewe to take the stage. He simply couldn’t stop himself. When Pasuma handed him the microphone, he would belt out a Pasuma song. It was a musical exchange, with Pasuma singing an Atawewe tune and Atawewe belting out a Pasuma melody.

Malaika waltzed to the podium, exuding an aura of reverence akin to someone in the presence of a superior. Initially unnoticed by Pasuma, but upon catching sight of him, Pasuma enveloped him in a warm embrace. Thus, the exchange of songs commenced. Malaika willingly set aside his own celebrity status, bowing his head in deference to the eminence of Pasuma Wonder.

And then, Saheed Osupa graced the stage. The atmosphere seemed to bear a weight heavier than the sky itself. To everyone’s utmost surprise, they embraced—an extended embrace that could be captured by a child holding a camera for the first time. It spoke volumes, signifying the breaking down of barriers and marking a monumental moment. It symbolized the end of a two-decade feud that had often portrayed the fuji genre as violent, branding it as uncouth. This act represented a significant rebranding.

Pasuma’s performance set the tone for the day’s activities, influencing the essence of other performances, save for one. Each artist ascended the podium, highlighting the significance of the moment. Amidst the frenzy, Atawewe displayed a measured stage presence, affirming his standing as a formidable musician.

Quibla- KS1 Malaika stands out as the more contemporary among the Fuji musicians, evident in both his appearance and that of his band members. They adorned themselves in T-shirts bearing the word ‘GRACE.’ He announced it as the title of their upcoming album scheduled for release in a few days. Malaika commands his band with expertise, delivering a profound message of hope and thanksgiving.

The intellectual, Saheed Osupa, took the stage next, and the class resumed. If Fuji were a book composed of chapters, Saheed adeptly unravels the folklores, moral instructions, and the pivotal connections between Fuji and the broader world. He advocates that not everything originates from Fuji, yet everything essential resides within it. What a profound philosophy!

Following Saheed was Obesere, who is a musician’s musician—a blend of rawness, wildness, and carefree spirit intertwined with deep emotions and introspection. Fuji, for him, becomes a canvas on which to untangle fantasies, taking audiences on a journey to an imagined, provocative Eden while appealing to primal instincts. He reveals the essence of his craft, leaving the audience to make their own decision. He seamlessly combines spirituality and intense sensuality.

Obesere delivered a performance that defined an era and sparked discussions about the genre’s future.
At this juncture, it was time to reconsider the direction in which the genre is headed. Who will step in to replace these legends when they are old and gray? Is there a genuine future for Fuji music, or is this just the beginning?

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