Friday 11th May 2018 would forever remain indelible on the minds of Ashafa Olushola Martins, Ayodele Olatunji and members of Oludare Cultural Group.
The three emerged overall winners at the grand finale of the Ariya Repete Talent Hunt 2018 in the Fuji, Juju and Drumming categories.
The grand finale which is a culmination of three months of displays of superb music talent by about 5000 up and coming acts across the south west of Nigeria and Ilorin, an even more rigorous selection process by the Judges, held at the Trans Amusement Park in the ancient city of Ibadan.
The road to the final was a long one as each contestant who progressed from the audition stage went through rigorous grooming and mentorship sessions at the Ariya Academy. Eventually, out of about 5000 contestants, only sixteen progressed to the final in Ibadan after they were selected from the forty that slugged it out in the Lagos semi-finals.
For the Fuji category, only six contestants namely Ayomide Ode Omotola, Saheed Akangbe, Abiodun Saheed Oloto, Sulaimon Ajibola Destiny, Mohammed Adewale and Asafa Olushola made it to the final. Another four, Wale Crown, Bukola Ahmed, Ayodele Olatunji (a.k.a Femi Bright) and Ayegbayo Oluwaseun qualified from the Juju music category. They were joined in the final by the six dance groups; Ifesowapo Cultural Group, Sakuba Cultural Group, Oludare Cultural Group, Igba Iwase African Entertainment Cultural Group and Eniafede Dance Group.
It was a blend of fun and serious business as all the finalists treated the audience to rich renditions of their severally rehearsed and composed songs. Their sonorous voices rent the night as the whole of Ibadan stood still for the performances of all the 16 budding artistes.
All sixteen finalists delivered very impressive performances making the selection of the eventual winners even tougher for the Judges. In the end, after long periods of result collation and consultation among the Judges, three contestants who stood out [Ashafa Olushola Martins, Ayodele Olatunji, and Oludare Cultural Group in their performances emerged.
Ashafa Olushola Martins got N2 million prize for emerging tops in the Fuji category, while Ayodele Olatunji a.k.a. Femi Bright also went home with N2 million cash prize after winning the Juju category while Oludare Cultural Group, led by a pregnant woman, Olubunmi Sadiq came first in the drumming category and won N1 million cash prize. Consolation prizes ranging from N1m to N250,000.00 were given to First and second runner ups in all the three categories.
Speaking to Journalists at the event, Franco Maggi Maria, Marketing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc said: “As Nigeria’s first indigenous brewery, our pro-Nigerian orientation is evident in our various initiatives. The Ariya Repete roundtable and talent hunt is a reflection of our commitment to promoting the Nigerian brand and more specifically Yoruba culture especially through music. Music and Language are two very important elements of every culture, hence by promoting Juju, Fuji and traditional Yoruba drumming, we are not just promoting Yoruba music or the talented acts that have been unveiled here today, but the beautiful culture of the Yoruba people.”
An excited Ayodele Olatunji, a National Diploma certificate holder from the Federal Polytechnic Ado-Ekiti could not hide his joy. He said: “This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I give glory to God for this win. It didn’t come by my power. I just want to appreciate God and Goldberg Lager Beer for this great opportunity. With this 2 million naira, I will buy some of the music instruments needed for my shows and make significant change in the life my family economic-wise.
In addition to the beautiful performances by the contestants, there were also several scintillating performances by Fuji and Juju greats. Juju maestro King Sunny Ade reminded all why for decades he has remained active in the music scene with a masterly delivery of several of his evergreen Juju songs. Not to be outdone, Fuji Lords K1 The Ultimate, King Osupa Saheed, Taye Currency all represented the Fuji genre well with exceptional performances that got the audience raving as they engaged them in an endless sing-along.
“We live for nights like this: beautiful music, beautiful people, smiling faces, cash prizes to reward excellence, a promise of a very future for the new talents discovered here and of course an endless supply of Goldberg Lager beer. I am impressed by the quality of talent displayed by the music acts discovered in Ariya Repete 2018 and can’t wait to see them excel in the music scene out there.” said Emmanuel Agu, Portfolio Manager, Mainstream Lager and Stout, Nigerian Breweries Plc.
The event was witnessed by The Oyo State Commissioner of Information, Arts and Culture, Mr. Tayo Arulogun, The Special Assistant to the Oyo State Governor on Youth and Sport, Honorable Bolaji Repte, Top Nollywood Stars including Yemi Solade, Sanyeri, Wakili, Adedamola Olatunji, Dele Fagboyo the Anchor of Aajirebi and Odunlade Adekola who anchored the event among many
The Ariya Repete 2018 started in Abeouta with the Roundtable discussion involving key stakeholders in the music, art and culture sector. The initiative of Goldberg Lager Beer, a product of Nigerian Breweries Plc. It is a yearly talent hunt competition that aims to discover, develop and promote talents in the indigenous Yoruba music of Fuji and Juju genres, including Drums, as a way of helping to preserve the Yoruba rich musical and cultural heritage.