Elder’s Corner: Film documents the pioneering efforts of Nigerian musicians highlighting the power of music to both heal and transform lives

Elder’s Corner is a new documentary that provides a unique perspective on Nigeria’s colourful history through the collective journeys and work of the nation’s music heroes.

From the celebratory sounds of King Sunny Ade’s jùjú music to afrobeat pioneered by the likes of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, Nigerian musicians have spearheaded some of Africa’s most prominent musical movements. 

Directed by musician and filmmaker Siji Awoyinka, Elder’s Corner highlights the redemptive power of music to heal and transform lives by showcasing the pioneering efforts of Nigerian musicians, their determination to succeed and carry on in spite of overwhelming odds.

The concept for Elder’s Corner came about after Siji Awoyinka discovered a rare recording by the Nigerian singer/guitarist, Fatai Rolling Dollar called “Won Kere Si Number Wa” while visiting his audiophile friend’s place. Listening to the badly scratched 7″ sent the musician on a nostalgia trip where he wondered: “who are these musical griots?” and “what had become of them?”.

Siji Awoyinka said: “At its heart, Elder’s Corner is a voyage of return and discovery, an epic tale of survival, using music to reconnect the past to the present. In Nigeria’s powerful oral tradition, vital historical information passes through generations by story telling, proverbial sayings and songs. Music forms an essential part of this tradition, a platform showcasing to the world who we truly are.

“Presently, the global recognition enjoyed by a new wave of Nigerian artists is contextualised by pervasive narratives of corruption, poverty, and Islamic extremism. Elder’s Corner offers a rarely seen, home grown alternative vision of our culture, our joy, and our humanity by honoring the legacies of our musical forebears whose pioneering efforts paved the roads we now walk.”

Over a seven-year period, the London-born director travelled to Nigeria and beyond, seeking out and capturing the stories of Nigeria’s long forgotten music pioneers. Among them are Juju maestro Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey and guitarist, Sir Victor Uwaifo.

Siji Awoyinka added: “Their collective journeys mirrored that of the nation, through its triumphs and upheavals and put my own childhood into sharper perspective. Shockingly though, few owned any copies of their old recordings. So we had them recreate some of their classics in the same studio where they were originally recorded. These intimate sessions feature prominently in the film and help lend even greater weight to their moving stories.”

Elder’s Corner is currently available to view online via the Sheffield Doc Fest website.

Elder’s Corner

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com

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