Monday, February 15, 2010

Meridian Hour, a feast of words

Published 11/15/2009 4:29:00 AM

Meridian Hour, a feast of words

Akeem lasisi

Since she played a major role in Owo Eje, a film produced by Remdel from Kola Akinlade’s Yoruba novel that goes by the same title, Ganiyat Ogundele has not been very consistently in action in the performance world. Well, she re-surfaced a few years ago in Jos, Plateau State, where she was part of the Jos Repertory Theatre Festival. 

Then, she had noted that the need to tidy up some home front demands had held her back a little bit. 

When she thus returned to stage in Lagos recently, where she performed at Poetry, Laughter, Arts and You, a poetry festival produced by Ben Tomoloju, she was conscious of the need to re-assert herself.

She largely succeeded in doing this as she swung from Yoruba traditional dance to poetry recitation, especially in the staging of Eddy Adeinokun’s collection, Meridian Hour, which was the main show of the two-day feast sponsored by GTBank. It was anchored by actor and culture activist, Ropo Ewenla.

While the programme held at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, climaxed the contributions that Uncle Eddy, as the celebrant is popularly called, had made to literary development in the country, it also helped to re-invent other poetry performers such as Iquo Eke, Funmi Aluko and Folu Agoi. 

Each had performed separately to the delight of the audience that cut across different strata of the society. 

While Eke and Aluko filled the inspiringly branded hall with poems that connected culture with romance, Agoi, who teaches English at the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijanikin, spiced the event with a satirical poem.

Yet, another major revelation of Play is that the real traditional/vernacular poetry and its modern counterpart can be accommodated in the same entertaining experience. 

This was evident in the fact that popular esa egungun (masquerade chant) poet, Suleiman Ajobiewe, opened the show with his elastic voice and seemingly inexhaustible rendition that was well applauded by the audience. 

Exploiting the flexibility of oral performance, he sang the praise of the Managing Director of GTBank, Mr. Tayo Aderinokun, digging elaborately into his Olowu Oduru lineage praise.

Also on the bill was songbird Yinka Davies, who invoked the essence of the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, with her performance of his popular poem, Telephone Conversation. 

Yet, the main act, Meridian Hour, served as a melting pot for various seasoned talents and polished groups, who practically sent ablaze the emotion of the author/celebrant. 

“I am simply flagabasted,” Uncle Eddy, who was surrounded by members of his immediate and GTBank family, friends and associates that included Mobolaji Adenubi, Mr. Ben Lawrence and Akin Adeoya, had said.

Starring with Ganiyat in Meridian Hour were thoroughbred actor and director, Felix Okolo, the Nefretiti and members of Crown Troupe of Africa.

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