It is not every day that established musicians come together and share a stage for the good of humanity. This is what guitarist and producer Kunle Ayo and his friends have decided to do in May 2018, in spite of a wild beast schedule associated with their status.
The list of his friends reads like the “Who is Who” of the African musical heavy hitters – Ringo Madlingozi, Oliver Mtukudzi, Hlengiwe Mhlaba, Lebo Sekgobela and a few surprises.
“There is a brain drain of experienced and talented African musicians, and that robs the continent’s young an opportunity to be groomed properly by their idols,” says Kunle Ayo.
“As an experienced African musician spending more time overseas, recording in the studio, managing media, and administrative work, one loses the opportunity to give back to the community. Sometimes even losing touch with the challenges facing the continent.”
Kunle realized this conundrum when he was on tour discussing the challenges bedeviling the continent.“I realized we talk about these things all the time and do little about them – especially education. It is then that I decided to call on my friends to shed a light as to how we could be a solution,” says the enterprising live performer.
The solution didn’t come all at once but Kunle knew that he could start with what he already had – his musical experience and skills, recording studio, a strong network of friends and an open heart.
So the dream of discovering, nurturing and supporting emerging musicians began earnestly.
Dubbed Beam The Light, the annual music project is meant to assist emerging musicians to get a shot into the music industry in a sustainable way.
“Through these series of shows we are hoping to raise enough funds every year to take at least two emerging musicians into a bursary programme that would help them acquire key musical and entrepreneurial skills,” said the multi-award winning Jazz Maestro.
THE INAUGURAL SHOW
Although Kunle’s friends come from diverse cultural backgrounds and musical genres, they hope to offer their fans a bit of their friendship expressed in a musical extravaganza.
“It is a humanitarian show that is going to be full of surprises and experimentations because it cuts across all genres, categorizations, and age. We will all use one band and try and find our individual and collective voices on stage as we collaborate.”
“The idea is to inspire people through our music and messages on the night to realize that they can contribute in the smallest of ways to beam the light in their communities. The Lyric Theatre venue provides a perfect setting for such collaboration, even more, we are going to double it up as an Africa Day celebration”
Although the Show is scheduled for May 25, Kunle points that the Africa Day coincidence chose him.
“We had planned for March, but the venue was available around May, in interesting and ironic ways we began to build something much bigger than jumping on stage, entertaining people and leaving the stage.”
AN APPEAL TO PARTNERS
Of course Kunle Ayo and his friends, through the Beam The Light project have bigger dreams for empowering up and coming musicians, including offering them study bursaries, space for recording and distribution deals, they believe more light can be shed to light up the continent.
“The little light that we can beam up can be elucidated more if we have partners that share our vision of promoting education and skills development within the musical fraternity.”