Extraordinary Cultural Event Produced by TRACE Events and Ecobank takes place, to Launch Africa 2020 Season in France
TRACE Events, in partnership with Ecobank, hosted a cultural extravaganza on Tuesday 3 July at the New Afrika Shrine, Lagos, Nigeria. Joining President Macron of France were 1,200 VIP guests and 250 journalists, who packed the iconic music and cultural venue, home of Femi Kuti and his world-famous band. On the night, the legendary musician and son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti performed a show-stopping set for the audience and brought President Macron up for the finale, in what is the first time in the Shrine’s history that a serving President has graced the stage.
The evening’s full line-up included stars of music and screen, never before seen on stage together, including afro-pop queen Yemi Alade, Cameroonian singer Charlotte Dipanda, talking drum performer Ara (Thunder), prominent Nollywood director Kunle Afolayan, world-famous artistes Angelique Kidjo, Asa, and Youssou N’Dour, Nollywood stars Joke Silva, Rita Dominic, and Ramsey Nouah, and Kareem Waris Olamilekan, an 11 year-old genius child artist who stole the show by producing a hyperrealist drawing of President Macron in under 2 hours.
During his return visit to the New Afrika Shrine, the French leader recollected happy times he spent there when he was working in Nigeria as a student in 2002. President Macron also remarked that the Shrine is a cultural and political symbol for Africa. “Let me just remind you that this place is obviously a cultural place, a music place, but it’s a space about politics as well,” said the French president. “[Fela Kuti] was not just a musician, he was a politician as well. (…) He was a politician because he wanted to change society. So if I have just one message for young people here at the Shrine tonight: yes, politics are important. Yes, be involved.”
TRACE Events, the event department of global broadcast and digital afro urban media group TRACE, hosted the high profile event, in association with Ecobank, Lagos State, Institut Francais and the New Afrika Shrine, to kick off the 2020 Season of African Cultures in France. The event was unprecedented, and a major logistical challenge: the intimate and iconic location on Lagos’ popular Mainland neighborhood of Ikeja had to be secured and roads were blocked by Lagos State to ensure access for the French President’s arrival.
“What an honour it was for TRACE to host this unique and very special event. Logistically, this was by far the most technically challenging event the TRACE Events team has ever pulled off, and what a night it was! TRACE’s mission is to support, nurture, cherish and celebrate Afro-urban music and cultures and to bring them to the world, and we did this, last night, with the eyes of Nigeria, and the world, on us.” explains Olivier Laouchez, co-founder and Executive Chairman of TRACE. “Last night was a celebration of incredible African creativity, culture and entertainment. We are indebted to the performers, who put on a brilliant show, Femi Kuti, for opening the doors to this iconic cultural venue, and, of course, to President Macron for making the trip to the Shrine and shining an international light on African culture, as part of the 2020 Season.”