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Femi TemowoBy Femi Temowo
First created
Femi TemowoBy Femi Temowo
First created
£1,307
pledged of £15,000pledged of £15,000 goal
39
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, September 5 2013 6:55 PM UTC +00:00

About

This project takes its inspiration from Chinua Achebe’s latest book ‘There Was A Country’; a memoir based on the Nigerian civil war. As a young boy my father told me many tales of the exploits of his unit during the war. Although I was taken on flights of fancy by some of his stories and terrified by the details of others, it was not until years later that I truly connected with this incredibly significant event in Nigerian history. Halfway through Chinua Achebe's book, I felt compelled to contribute something musically/artistically to its re-telling. I needed to help raise awareness of these historic events, in the best way I know how – that is with the use of modern jazz music forms coupled with a very thorough understanding of West African folk music forms. That's when the idea for this new work was born. Although this work stems from the story of Biafra, war and conflict are things that affect us all and I want to explore the human experience as a result of war. This is not a politically motivated undertaking but a journey into how art can help us to understand and contemplate even the most odious of historic events.

1. I want to explore some of the popular forms of indigenous Nigerian musical styles of the Civil War era/late sixties and bring them together with forms of modern jazz improvisation. Specifically, that would include Highlife music both from the western and eastern parts of Nigeria and also other folk styles like Apala music. Afro-Beat was also a form that had begun to emerge by this period in Nigeria. I believe that the fusion of these styles with modern jazz improvisation is something that can yield very interesting music with copious amounts of room for artistic depth and emotional content.  

2. I will look to set to music, two key speeches given at the time by the two leaders of the warring fractions - the announcement of secession speech given by Colonel Emeka Ojukwu, the Biafra leader, and the famous ‘No Victor No Vanquished’ speech given by General Yakubu Gowon, at the end of the war. The words of these speeches will be set to music hopefully using the original recordings of the radio broadcasts of the speeches themselves.

3. There are two poems written by Dr Chinua Achebe that have been published as part of the aforementioned book that I will set to music. I had previously hoped to be able to ask the great Chinua Achebe himself to read some of his poetry on this album, but as you may know he very sadly passed away in March of this year. His passing is a great loss to this world and now even more so, I hope to be able to use his poems in the spirit of him and his works, in tribute to him and all that he stood for. Being particularly moved by the story of the late Christopher Okigbo who is regarded as one of Nigeria’s finest poets by many, I have also decided to set a melody and harmony to one of his great poetic works, ‘Distances’. 

4. A collaboration with a visual artist I believe would be exceptionally good for giving any prospective audience of this work something to help the imagination. Using images and footage from the time - not just of the war, but also of Nigeria in general - and creating a collage of animated/moving images that would feature during the performance of the work, would add another dimension to their experience and help bring Nigeria’s story to their eyes as well as ears.

Collaborations

Other collaborative efforts include working with guitarist Lionel Loueke from Republic Of Benin as a guest on the project. He is a renowned African jazz musician strongly associated with musicians like Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. 

Risks and challenges

The most obvious obstacle I can think of, is possibly, trying to sync calendars with collaborators. Musicians tend to be busy the better they are at what they do and move around the globe a lot. Getting people together in the same space at the right time is sometimes tough but having recorded two albums to date (self-produced) I know a bit about this and can work well with short wndows of time to get great results from my collaborators.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £8 or more About $10

    A Pre-release digital download of the album at least 4 weeks before general release.

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    A signed copy of the finished CD, a signed photo and a ticket to the Launch event.

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    Pledge £80 or more About $102

    Your very own personalised ringtone (for smartphone), tailor made for you, sung and played by Femi, plus a signed photo, pre-release signed copy of the album and a pre-release digital download

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    Pledge £150 or more About $192

    A Pre-release digital download of the album, a signed copy of the finished CD and a ticket to the Launch event. And a 45min guitar lesson with Femi in London or via skype.

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    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,280

    A signed copy of the finished CD, a ticket to the launch event and a private 30 min gig in your home from Femi, at a mutually agreed time after the release of the CD. (Gig option is UK only)

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Funding period

- (40 days)