In the thick of the lockdown in 2020, The Cavemen, driven by their Roots album, became a cherished discovery for every Nigerian with ears for nonconforming exquisite music. The stunning twelve-track with its retroelements, embedded mannerisms of brothers, Kingsley and Benjamin, and its overarching and unmistakable weird but mesmeric sound provided the much-needed escape to a dimension clouded by 80s Igbo Highlife and the brightness of twenty-first century’s digitized sounds, Nigerians craved when things were bleak. So, imagine the storm they stirred when they made witnessing them in their elements live, possible. Not only did these live shows became something like rendezvous for outside-hungry Nigerians, but they also created a communal sense of belonging to a culture curated by these brothers. Afrovibes made this possible.
Technology has afforded music industries around the world with so many opportunities, including many avenues for artists to reach their audience. In 2016, Berlin-based duo, Philipp Starcke, and Felix Glasmeyer premiered their audio-visual YouTube hosted series, COLORS Show. With a roster of upcoming artists, the platform didn’t hit jackpot in its initial stage, it only became increasingly important with its range of coveted spots which attracted B-listers eventually and since then, variants of music’s next best thing, have been springing up around the world. In 2017, Bisilola Bakare tapped this unique blueprint for an equally uncommon idea of hers, Afrovibes.
Revamped to harness the colorfulness and exquisiteness of African music, Afrovibes was established as a platform to celebrate Africa and the music, art, and fashion that defines the culture. The concept is a fusion of platforms that pushes these elements through the different expressions of the umbrella company, Afrovibes Africa. There is Afrovibes Live, the platform dedicated to live events and concerts, Afrovibes Studio, modeled after live studio performances and summarily, a content generation platform, and Afrovibes Travel which focuses on the creation of unique travel experiences and the exploration of Africa. To garnish Afrovibes Studio, Bakare and the team partnered with Jameson Nigeria, a brand that has aligned itself with the everyday lives of Nigerian youth.
Despite the advancement of tech, there are still some voids yet to be filled and innovators like Bakare, have identified this void. For Afrovibes, contributing their own quota to pushing the culture, creating platforms where arts and music can find expression is key. According to Bakare, “…the void we are filling is pushing focus and spotlighting alternative sound and artists, Afro-soul and Jazz. You rarely find a platform that is seventy percent dedicated to that because there are a lot of them out there but no platform. I would say it’s a niche we play in.” Their focus on lovers of art and music from different tribes across the African continent is proof of this, coupled with partnerships with artists that fall within the niche in Nigeria and Africa at large. Bakare says, “…we hope to partner with artists like Fatoumata Diwara from Mali, Nyornuwofia Agorsor from Ghana, Brymo, Tems, Asa, and many more.”
Afrovibes has been in existence for a while now. Back in 2017, they had their first show, then came back in 2018 for few months. Since 2019, they have had what they describe as ‘vibrations’ back to back every month except in 2020 due to lockdowns around the world. This is when they began to harness the mystery that surrounded intimate shows. In November 2020, they managed to put up a concert with The Cavemen and planned for another that fell through in December. These movement restrictions pushed them in the direction of Afrovibes Studio, a new direction, and initiative aimed at pushing and achieving their goals to be a global platform that showcases exceptional talents and amplifies the originality of African music, arts, and culture. The Jameson Nigeria sponsored Afrovibes Studio at present is the company’s best innovation.
Around the world, the lockdown became the gateway to more innovations for artists to thrive regardless of movement and creative constraints, and just like the COLORS Show, Afrovibes keyed into this. Shedding more light on its establishment, Bakare said: “Afrovibes Studio is an initiative we took seeing that we couldn’t gather as we would have loved due to COVID. This new direction has given us the opportunity to showcase more talents and reach even a wider audience online. Big shout out to Jameson Nigeria for believing and making it happen.“
For them, the ultimate goal is to be a global African brand known for pushing and promoting African culture through music, art, and travel, and through a partnership with Jameson via Afrovibes Studio, they reorient this month with a lineup of performances to be delivered every Sunday, in a series titled Vibes And Rhythm and led by Dwin, The Stoic. Earlier this month, the poet, singer, and songwriter debuted their earth-toned studio with a soulful rendition of his latest, Ifunanyam, paving the way to what we’re tipping to become Africa’s biggest tech and culture bridge. Deenade, Jackmillz, and Aziz are coming up next but, in line with their inventiveness, the brand is keeping the lineup under wraps.