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Ariya Repete 2019: Lagos auditions yield winners, as show goes

By Ayo Onikoyi

Winners have emerged from the first regional knock-out of Ariya Repete 2019. The 2019 edition of the competition kicked off on 12th June with two simultaneous regional auditions in Lagos, where hundreds of talents turned out en-masse to strut their stuff and earn a place in the regional knockouts which held on Friday, the 14th of June.

After the auditions, 18 individuals were selected across two regional knockouts, which occurred concurrently at Stalad Hotels, Abule Egba, and Aso Rock Bar, Ikotun. Each regional knockout featured 9 talents, with 3 competing in each category of Fuji, Juju, and Afro-pop.

The regional knock-outs popularly known as selection parties featured some memorable performances. All contestants brought their A-game as they slugged it out for a place in the quarterfinal.

After a night filled with thrills, a few spills and some electrifying performances, the judges, which featured the likes of veteran afro-pop music producer – ID Cabassa renowned OAP Adebayo Faleke as well as Juju legend, Champion Opio, were faced with the hard task of picking the regional qualifiers from a pool of impressive talents on display.

At the Ikotun selection party, Abiodun Oloto, Adeniyi Temitope and Abraham Effiong qualified in the Fuji, juju, and Afro-pop categories respectively while in Abule Egba, Olayemi Kehinde, Akinlabi Johnson, and Olajide Olayiwola qualified from the Fuji, juju, and Afro-pop categories.

Drug Abuse: winner emerges in 2019 ‘Monster Hit Story Contest’

By Ayo Onikoyi

An Enugu based pastor, Gabriel Obiano (Gabriel Ooc), has emerged winner of 2019 Monster Hit Story Contest. The competition is an initiative of Ororo Pattaya 20km and David Jones, who is known for his Anti-Drug Advocacy among Nigerian Youth.

The contest, which ran on Instagram and Facebook between April and May, was designed for Nigerian youths on social media to share true-life story that borders on any life changing experiences on drug and substance abuse.

Obiano’s story titled “How I Lost My Girlfriend To Drug Abuse” was a revelation on the disturbing trend of drug abuse and addiction among Nigerian women.

The Port Harcourt based pastor narrated how he met Esther and later proposed to her, only to discover she was a drug addict who has gone as far as using cocaine.

Obiano, explained that despite his many efforts to help Esther retract her wayward steps, she ended the relationship citing the sharp contrast in their lifestyle.

Obiano’s story attracted 377 likes, and 849 comments on Instagram, making a total of 1,226 votes to emerge winner of the contest.

Working with Hugh Masekela has been helpful to my music – Femi Ogunkoya

By Rotimi Agbana

After sojourning in South Africa for many years,working with international stars including, late Hugh Makesela, Angelique Kidjo, Soweto Gospel Choir, Wizkid, Simphiwe Dana, among others, versatile Afro-beat musician, Saxophonist and dynamic vocalist, Femi Ogunkoya, is back in his home country, Nigeria, to have a feel of the music industry.

JUNE 12 @26: Celebration like no other(Opens in a new browser tab)

Speaking on his musical odysseys in a chat with Showtime, the unique singer explained how late Hugh Masekela  helped him define his unique sound.

“My Experience with Hugh Masekela was very helpful, I was a fan before I met him, and I loved his music before I performed with him. He was a great man with principle and loved the African culture. The long lasting influence he has had on me is simply helping me to stay true to the African sound, helping me to believe and reminding me that African music is still the future, the world started here in Africa and will return to Africa. He aligned me as I was drifting, trying to play all styles of music with so much experiments and he listened to music and my live sound and he pointed out to me that my strength lies in the Traditional Afro-beat and highlife and jazz and this makes me unique”, he said.

Femi, who is also the younger brother to renowned ‘Gbedu Master’, Kola Ogunkoya, explained his decision to come back to promote his music in Nigeria.

Cambridge language conference marks Game of Thrones lingo

The brains behind some of science fiction’s most popular invented languages are gathering for a conference to showcase their skills.

The San Diego-based Language Creation Society has brought together “conlangers” – or people who “construct” languages – in Cambridge.

Among the languges represented is Dothraki, as used in Game of Thrones.

UK organiser Dr Bettina Beinhoff said the convention would enhance the network of language creators worldwide.

The society – which has 185 members in 27 countries – was created in 2007 to “promote the art, craft and science of language creation”.

It came to recent prominence after the producers of Game of Thrones got in touch to find a language creator to develop Dothraki, from the few words and phrases in the original books by George RR Martin.

Linguist David J Peterson, a member of the society, was then chosen to devise an entire language for the series.

Dr Beinhoff, of the Anglia Ruskin centre for Intercultural and Multilingual Studies, said most conlangers derived inspiration from Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien, who developed languages for much of his work.

“For many language creators, Tolkien was the starting point, many want to recreate his sense of aesthetics,” she said.

“I hope the conference will inspire conlangers to learn from each other, as well as get ideas and solutions to any dilemmas they face.”

Other constructed languages, such as Klingon, from Star Trek, have developed their own cultural appeal.

Esperanto, invented in the late 19th Century as a “universal second language to foster peace and international understanding”, is spoken by about two million speakers worldwide, according to language database Ethnologue.

Society president Joseph Windsor, said: “When you hear Klingons speaking Klingon, or the Dothraki speaking Dothraki, it adds a sense of believability to a fictional world.

“I’ve heard from different conlangers who engage with the craft as catharsis after a stressful day, or who use their languages to be able to keep a completely private journal.

“You can’t Google Translate a conlang that no-one else knows.”

Dr Oliver Mayeux, who has a PhD in linguistics from Cambridge University, said building a language from scratch is an “incredibly personal thing”.

“It’s like poetry or painting – people who do it have a natural expressiveness and admiration for language,” he said.

“We don’t do it for fame or notoriety, we’re a rather eccentric tribe of language nerds, coming together to discuss their creations.”

Mark Rylance resigns from RSC over BP sponsorship

Actor Mark Rylance has resigned from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) over its sponsorship deal with oil company BP.

Rylance, in a resignation letter, said he was quitting to “lend strength” to progressive voices in the RSC.

The RSC said it is “saddened” by Rylance’s departure but that corporate sponsorship is “an important part” of its funding.

In 2016, he said he was likely to quit unless the RSC dropped its ties to BP.

The oil company declined to comment on Rylance’s personal choice, but said it remains committed to sustainable energy solutions and is “proud” of its partnership with RSC, held since 2011.

This includes funding a £5 ticket scheme for 16-25 year olds, with around 10,000 tickets being sold through the initiative each year.

Rylance, an Oscar-winner and associate artist with the RSC for 30 years, has been a longstanding critic of the sponsorship agreement.

In 2012, he signed a petition stating BP’s sponsorship deal allowed the company to “obscure the destructive reality of its activities” which he said threatened the future of the planet.

“Half the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere currently warming our planet have been emitted in the last 30 years,” he wrote in today’s resignation letter.

“BP has made the third-biggest contribution to climate change of any private company in history.

“I do not wish to be associated with BP any more than I would with an arms dealer, a tobacco salesman or anyone who wilfully destroys the lives of others alive and unborn. Nor, I believe, would William Shakespeare,” he added.

Rylance last appeared on stage for the RSC in Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet in 1989.

Bruce Springsteen beats Madonna to top UK album chart

Bruce Springsteen has beaten fellow US music veteran Madonna to top the UK album chart with his latest release.

Western Stars – The Boss’s 19th studio album – racked up 25,000 more combined sales than Madge’s Madame X, which had to settle for second place.

The two new entries saw last week’s chart-topper, Lewis Capaldi’s debut album, knocked down to three.

In the singles chart, Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s I Don’t Care held onto the top spot for a sixth straight week.

Taylor Swift claimed the week’s highest new entry with You Need To Calm Down, which entered the chart at number five.

Little Mix have the only other new entry in this week’s Top 10 with Bounce Back, the girl group’s first release since leaving Simon Cowell’s Syco record label.

The song incorporates elements from Back to Life, a chart-topper for Soul II Soul in 1989.

Western Stars – Springsteen’s first album of new material since 2012 – is now the 69-year-old’s 11th UK chart-topper.

That’s one less than Madonna has achieved over a 35-year career that has seen her notch up the most UK number one albums by a female artist.

The promotion trail for Madame X has taken the 60-year-old singer from the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas to the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv.

Madonna’s last studio album, 2015’s Rebel Heart, also made its UK debut at two on its first week on sale.

British four-piece Bastille were another top five new entry with their third studio album Doom Days, which entered the chart at four.

That was one space ahead of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, the 40th anniversary reissue of which saw it attain a Top 40 placing for the first time since its 1979 debut.