Ekwe Awards for Igbo preservation gets into gear

Posted: May 4, 2012 in arts/culture

Preparations for the first edition of the All Igbo Music Awards, otherwise known as Ekwe Awards were unveiled in Owerri last Thursday with the hosting of a select media-cum-artistic parley at the Lodan Hotels by Ugo Stevenson, the originator of this unique musical prizes event.

“Ekwe is a percussive instrument used in all Igbo music styles. That is why we have chosen to brand the All Igbo Music Awards as Ekwe Awards.” The main focus of the honours ceremony, he also said, is to celebrate those who have preserved Igbo language and culture “through the most effective medium of mass communication known to man, which is music.”

According to Ugo Stevenson, AMEN best highlife artiste, 2007 and NMA best highlife artiste 2008, each Igbo speaking state in the federation has a unique brand of music that is peculiar to it. “Anambra State is home of Ekpili music while Enugu boasts of the Ogene sound. Bongo and Abigbo are peculiar to Imo, Odumodu is of Abia. Ebonyi has Nkwawite while our Ikwerre brothers in Rivers State have Ori Obo and the Igbo of Delta are masters of Oyorima.”

These unique music styles have found strong expression in Highlife, which may rightly be described as Igbo contemporary music. ‘These music styles are currently performed by more than two thousand practitioners around the globe, with high record of success,” Ugo Stevenson maintained. His audience included journalists, broadcasters and art enthusiasts from around the South East zone of the federation including Delta and Rivers State.

Ugo Stevenson, a former national director, research and documentation of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Artistes and Practitioners (NANTAP) was recently honoured with the chieftaincy title of Ogene Emebiam in his home town Emeabiam in Imo State.

He studied theatre arts at the University of Port Harcourt and worked at the Imo State Council of Arts and Culture as a performing artiste. He is the founder director of the Ogbakoro Theatre Group, a professional theatre arts company in Owerri.

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