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Calabar Jazz Festival Destination Cross River, Nigeria’s strongest tourist brand, has unveiled the programme of events for the inaugural Calabar International Jazz Festival. This jazz festival, holding from 29-31 March 2012, is the first of a new series of events designed to introduce a new dimension to the Calabar Festival experience in 2013. The emergence of the Calabar International Jazz Festival as an annual event over the Easter holiday weekend comes as a direct result of the successes recorded by various jazz concert events held during the Calabar Festival season over the years, as well as the demand from more discerning fun seekers for a jazz event in a more intimate setting. This event is also designed to provide the ideal Easter weekend getaway, and realistically establish it as a permanent fixture on Nigeria’s social calendar. First-timers to Calabar would have a unique and breathtakingly different experience of the city and time-honoured serenity. This all-new holiday experience will feature:
  • Concerts featuring national and international stars,
  • Fun-filled daytime activities and tours for all the family,
  • Fabulous VIP after-parties, including an intimate reception hosted by Governor Liyel Imoke, and,
  • An opportunity to sample some of the local delicacies which has caused Calabar to be acclaimed the best kitchen in the country.
Programme of Events Friday, March 29, 2013: Arrivals Welcome Cocktails Concert featuring D’Angelo, Asa, Bez and Darey Venue: Main Theatre, Cultural Center, Calabar Time: 7pm After-party Saturday, March 30, 2013: Family Fun Fair at the Children’s Village, Marina Resort Optional Guided Tours (featuring views of Old Calabar, Creek Town, the Slave History Museum at the Marina Resort, and the Tinapa Business Resort) Concert featuring Eric Benet, Jonathan Butler and Burna Boy Venue: Main Theatre, Cultural Center, Calabar Time: 7pm After-party Sunday, March 31, 2013: The Easter Family Pool Party Venue: Tinapa Water Park The Governor’s VIP BBQ Venue: Government House, Calabar Concert featuring Darey, Bez and Burna Boy Venue: Millennium Park, Calabar Time: 7pm Monday, April 1, 2013: Departures Guest Artistes
For real lovers of alternative soul, D’Angelo needs no introduction, with hits such as “Brown Sugar” and “Untitled” readily coming to mind. D’Angelo is not just a top-rate performer, but also an accomplished songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He is known for his production and songwriting talents as much as for his vocal abilities, and often draws comparisons to his influences, Marvin Gaye and Prince, as well as claims as one of the true fathers of neo-soul.
  Eric Benet could also make that claim too. With four Grammy nominations, a Soul Train Music Award for hits like “Georgy Porgy” and “Spend My Life With You”, and extensive credits as a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter in his own right, he is also considered as one of elder statesmen of neo-soul. Currently promoting his sixth album, “The One”, one would do well to note how, like good wine, his music keeps getting better with time.
Jonathan Butler was one of the star performers of Calabar Festival 2012, with a stunning repertoire of timeless classics. His is the stuff of legend: during the height of the apartheid regime in his native South Africa, he was breaking the race barrier musically, becoming the first black artiste to feature on mainstream South African radio. Also famous for his faith as a Christian, he is also highly regarded as a worship leader of repute.
Darey Art Alade is the son of the renowned Nigeria entertainer Art Alade, as well as one of Nigeria’s most accomplished musicians to date. The multi-platinum selling artiste has several crowd favourites under the belt, most recent among them “Sisi Eko”, performed in collaboration with Flavour. Having “conquered” Nigeria, Darey has set his sights on the world stage – a fact made evident by the smashing success of the “Love Like a Movie” concert in February 2013.
Asa: No mention could ever be made of the inroads Nigerians are making into the world of soul music without talking of Asa. The sonorous songstress has had the nation eating out of her palm ever since the release of her eponymous first album, featuring hits such as “Bibanke”, “Eye Adaba”, and the monster hit, “Jailer”. Her music draws its powerful character from the inspiration lent by legends such as Marvin Gaye, Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, Aretha Franklin, Sunny Adé, Ebenezer Obey and Lagbaja.
Bez & Burna Boy
The flavour of the month, and the pulse of Nigeria’s music right now, undulates between two poles. For pop and hip-hop lovers favouring that deep groove, Burna Boy is the man of the moment, taking the heights of Naija music by storm and staking a claim with the ultra-cool party anthem “Like to Party” in 2012. Weird enough, that was also the year Bez came through with his album “Super Sun”, drawing major reviews as Nigeria’s most cerebral musician at the moment. Both musicians come with a hyper-fresh new to the game. If you’ll be in Calabar this season, don’t think of missing any of these guys.

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This article was first published on 11th March 2013 and updated on April 1st, 2013 at 3:32 pm

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