Amid wider devastation, there is no gain-saying in the fact that COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the musical world even though online music consumption has risen. With public gatherings curtailed, concerts, tours and festivals are currently ruled out, jeopardising employment prospects for musicians and the future of shuttered venues.
In the same vein, people around the world- Nigerians inclusive, have turned to music to help them through the crisis.
From balcony-based sing-alongs to local, regional and megastar global broadcasts, music has become embedded in our responses to disrupted lives. With creators and lovers of music depending on digital mediation, a wide range of approaches to making, sharing and experience music has arisen.
One of these rather few musical experiences is a nightly musical ritual that has taken hold of a small but growing corner of African Magic viewers and the digital space.
With crossover live music band artiste, Seun Bankole fondly known as SB Live, honouring the invitation to perform at the Owambe Saturday on Africa Magic last week, he set precedent as the most engaging act to have performed on the show- with an overwhelming stage presence, having set on fire twitter, for three solid hours. That is indeed a remarkable feat in the history of the show!
With ease, Seun Bankole, the smooth, suave and mellifluous singer, an embodiment of musical dexterity and skill, raw energy and passion for music, alongside his seven-piece band, crisscrossed the gamut of Nigerian contemporary genres.
From Hip-Hop, Afrobeat, to High Life and Old Skool, performing classics for the old and young. The live music gig turned concert, was an utterly engaging experience fan wished never stopped as evident in the countless tweets on twitter.
The 3-hour long performance which got millions of his existing and new fans talking offered that special experience for listeners who sat to watch from their television screens or online.
As though a mind-reader, he was able to teleport himself into the hearts and minds of the viewer. His audience psychology is highly commendable and worthy of emulation to new acts seeking to tow his career path.
With the share of the audience, the musician garnered in just three hours of performance time, especially at a time viewers could have been glued top the on-going Big Brother show, the organisers of the show must by now, be rethinking their strategy to retain its audience, whilst the young musician has by default given the next act to perform on the show, a benchmark to meet up with, or even exceed.
For ardent lovers of good music, it wasn’t much of a surprise when the young, upwardly mobile, energetic and charismatic crossover live music band artiste, Seun Bankole, set the social media space- Twitter on fire for three hours non-stop. This is precedence he set in the history of the show and live-digital music experience in Nigeria, especially at a time a well-known reality Television show-Big Brother Naija, hosted its first-party simultaneously.
Tweeps across Nigeria attest to how Seun Bankole gave BB Naija a competitive run for its money last Saturday night.
The multitude who fancy the live music experience posted their thoughts with the hashtag ##owambesaturday. Over 1 Million viewers joined in the social media conversation, added their insights and recollections.
Through his performance, unique stage presence and craftsmanship, SB Live has shown that experience trumps everything.
Like old wine, he continually hones his craft and gets better at it daily. No wonder, the energy and versatility he displayed puts to rest any question that may have risen from quarters averse to his name, pedigree, experience and musicianship.
Being on this years list of top 5 live band musicians in Nigeria, should, again, put to rest any bad blood.
With his gig coinciding with the first Big Brother Naija Party, viewers no doubt wanted to have fun by watching the housemates, but the eclectic and engaging musician no doubt stole the show and twitter-sphere by treating the mammoth online audience, to undiluted fun when he performed at the Owambe Saturday gig broadcast live.
Through his electrifying performance, audience analysis and engagement, he became the toast of Twitter. Registered users posted, liked, and retweeted tweets on his interestingly engaging performance. It was indeed a penetratively engaging live concert experience.
The Lagos -based band musician was supposed to be playing sold-out dates in America, Portugal, Spain and France at the start of his European tour when the Covid-19 outbreak meant all their shows were cancelled. last week, instead of taking to the stage in Madrid, Seun Bankole and his band sang their hearts out to millions of Nigerians, reaching out to the public, and even gaining a newer audience.
With this trend likely to continue as long as the crisis does with more coronavirus concerts planned until the end of the year.
In today’s fractured world, live music has become more important as a unifying force than ever before. When asked what defines him most as a person, the musician said, ‘‘music drives identity more than their hometown, politics, race or religion. The only things that are a bigger force than music are friends/family and pastimes.’’
In an independent survey conducted by a Lagos-based Media and Research Agency, Zigma Communications Limited, when asked to reflect upon the recent 3 -hours live-streamed music experience, and rate how emotionally intense they felt, 78% of respondents reported they felt high emotional intensity.
In a subsequent survey, 67% of the audience says the more emotionally engaged they are, the more open they are to new ideas.
Globally, concert live music lovers and goers are 29% more affluent, 4 times more likely to be micro-influencers (defined as having at least 1,000 followers on social channels) and are +121% more likely to say they are highly influential among peers.
Music of any kind is usually life-affirming: talking and thinking about it often has the same effect. With culture being weakened, public performances of any kind have all been cancelled, and the hiatus could conceivably last well into next year.
This is a big part of how rare and glittering talents like David Oluwaseun Bankole are helping Nigerians get through the crisis.
Moreover, as the grim effects of the outbreak become clearer by the day, what we are listening to offers a comforting reminder of the world we suddenly left behind mere months ago.
Seun Bankole, the young celebrity live band musician like many global music makers everywhere, has risen to the challenge of COVID-19, providing musical, emotional and cultural succour for Nigeria’s quarantined population.