One of the hot spots and tourist destinations for music lovers in Nigeria is the New Afrika Shrine.
The place located within the Central Business District CBD of Ikeja in Lagos State particularly at NERDC Road in Ikeja usually attracts the young and old on weekdays- Thursdays and on Sundays. That is because, Femi Kuti and his Afrobeat music band named The Positive Force regularly performs there on those two days. And if you are a motorists or passers-bye just driving or passing by the Shrine on those days, you will always be bemused by the crowd outside and captivating music that blares loudly from the speaker from the New Afrika Shrine. The surroundings and NERDC Road leading to the New Afrika Shrine is riddled with food and drink vendors who make the place a lively place filled with men and women and the vendors indirectly eke out their living from selling food, drinks and liquor there. Indeed, this is characteristically the Lagos Night Life where music and food get people- top business men, young adults and also hookers in need for a man for the night meet and indulge in good food, drinks and entertainment. At the New Afrika Shrine, there are men dressed in orange and yellow T-shirts who protect the venue- both inside and outside from miscreants or men who may want to foment trouble attracting the Nigeria Police Force. Indeed the fear of the Afrika Shrine especially late into the night is the fear of being welcomed by pick pockets, social miscreants, riff raffs who have seen the Shrine within or without as their haven to do business despite the security officials on ground. It is a known fact that the intellectual as well as the illiterate looking people and secret cult boys revel at the atmosphere in the Yeni Kuti-inspired facility which is the only lounge or event centre where undiluted Afro beat music reigns. Despite Femi Kuti’s ban of drugs usage and heavy smoking in and around the New Afrika Shrine for years, young men and women and captains of industries sometimes find the New Afrika Shrine the right place to indulge in heavy smoking and taking of drugs publicly.
At the New Afrika Shrine, the warning by Federal Ministry of Health that Smokers Are Liable To Die Young is just a saying and not a thing to be taken seriously.
But for Grammy award-nominee musician, Femi Kuti, the burden of being Abami Eda- Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s first son has driven him to continue the legacy of one of the greatest music export and activist from Africa and also carve a niche for himself. As our correspondent sauntered into the Shrine having being checked by security officials, a new atmosphere filled with music, booze and smoking different welcomed him as Femi Kuti and his band, the Positive Force were about to being their album performance to herald the tenth album titled, One People One World. With songs like Democracy, a Religion-theme song and others, the event attracted hundreds of music lovers within the venue as the fourteen-man band including four dancers and back-up singers serenaded all that came. The beauty and uniqueness of Femi Kuti is the passion that goes from him to his band even as the five brass instrumentalists- (two saxophonists, one trombonist and two trumpeters) played beautifully to the different songs on display. One of the side attractions, was two Afrobeat dancers doing their thing in a caged place each at the opposite corners just after the space made after the stage. The two ladies danced rhythmically to the music, ‘Bang Bang Bang’ and ‘Day By Day’ off Femi’s previous album. All that came really enjoyed the music and you could indulge if you desired to.