The tag ‘alternative music’ as regards to the Nigerian sound, has always been a subject of debate for music lovers and critics. Some people are of the opinion that any genre outside the popular sounds, like Afro beats and other familiar sounds, are to be considered as alternative, while others categorize alternative music distinctively in their use of live instruments and bands. However, the genre is nothing like the mainstream—alternative music in this part of the world is typically regarded as more eclectic, producing artists that are considered unconventional, free-thinkers, and radicals.
Some of the young Nigerian artists making way for the ‘Abuja sound’ include Cef, Jessica Bongos, Tay, Sute, Lady Donli, Efe Oraka, Rubunu, and Davina Oriakhi to mention a few. You usually find them playing at organized concerts, catering specifically to the needs of alternative music lovers or across bars in conjunction with spoken words artists.
The Tamerri Festival is a three-day cultural initiative, bridging the gap for the ‘Abuja sound’ by creating a platform where these artists can truly express their music to a large number of Abuja residents and foreigners. The last edition recorded huge success, a large number of the ‘cool kids’ turned out to acknowledge the rise of good, unconventional music.
The Fusion Festival in Abuja is also an annual event that creates the same avenue for alternative artists to connect with their fans. Some of the bars that put together regular live sessions for the creatives and their customers include:
There’s still a lot of work and a need for more public acceptance in order to push this genre to gain the recognition it deserves. However, the artists in view are making a significant difference by standing firm against compromising on the western influence their songs have, especially the unending bother of making their music more acceptable and marketable by the general Nigerian music scene. What is important to note is the glaring potential the incredibly talented new generation singers pose, with a progressive fanbase ready for ‘unconventional’ sounds in Abuja.