FAAJI AGBA

By Remi VAUGHAN-RICHARDS

NEW THIRTY FILMS - as PROD

Art - Culture - Completed 2015

Faaji Agba is a six-year journey by film-maker Remi Vaughan-Richards following seven, 68-85yr old Yoruba master musicians in Lagos, Nigeria. They were forgotten by society, until Kunle Tejuoso, owner of Jazzhole Records, follows a trail to rediscover them and the 'FAAJI AGBA COLLECTIVE is born.

    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Art - Culture, Documentary
    • Countries
    • NIGERIA
    • Languages
    • ENGLISH
    • Budget
    • N/A
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Remi VAUGHAN-RICHARDS
    • Producer(s)
    • Remi VAUGHAN-RICHARDS (SingingTree Films), Kunle TEJUOSO (Jazzhole Records)
    • Synopsis
    • FAAJI AGBA is a 6 year journey by filmmaker Remi Vaughan-Richards following seven 65-85 year old Yoruba master musicians, who were forgotten by society until Kunle Tejuoso of Jazzhole Records, Lagos follows a trail to rediscover them, and the FAAJI AGBA COLLECTIVE is born. Their musical styles range from highlife, ju-ju to afrobeat. Faaji Agba interweaves the history, culture and music scene of Lagos, Nigeria from 1940’s to 2015 as their joys and tragedies unfold.

      Over a Faaji Agba soundtrack we are introduced to each of the Faaji Agba artist’s intercut with archive and present day Lagos with high-rise construction sites and end up at the Jazzhole store. The walls are lined with old album covers and eclectic range of books and music CD’s are arranged in ‘organized’ randomness on shelves and tables. Kunle Tejuoso introduces us to the roots of the project. He explains how he re-discovered and revived the career of Fatai Rolling Dollar and how this led to the trail of other talented musicians who were forgotten by society including Ayinde Bakare whose father was one of the originators of Juju music in the 1940’s. As the story progresses we find out what contribution they played individually to the music scene in Lagos. Each one recounts when they were at the height of their individual careers and what led to their downfall.

      Good news - they are invited to perform at an important Lagos festival, after 2 weeks rehearsal they feel they are ready but it all goes terribly wrong at the festival. Back to the drawing table. They are given a second chance when they are offered a chance to perform at Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York, 2011/ This time they are taking no chances. Kunle rehearses them for over 3 months. Saldy one of the original Faaji Agba dies. The carry on nonetheless - and this time they perform to a large crowd and it is a huge success. Their joy is marred by the death of Alaba Pedro, 3 hours into the return flight to Lagos. Back to Lagos, Alaba’s funeral is a typical Yoruba affair with his coffin being ‘danced’ by 6 coffin bearers and a brass band. The following year, undeterred by the setback they are given the chance to redeem themselves at the same festival in Lagos – this time they are a success. Kunle is concerned because SF Olowookere is complaining about swollen feet and Y.S Akinibosun almost faints. His concern proves valid, S.F Olowookere dies soon after. Unlike Alaba Pedro’s funeral, his is a small affair.
      Kunle closes the documentary with “We are living in a place, where we don’t really have respect for yesterday....we don’t understand the importance of culture. We don’t seem to understand the importance of these legends...we don’t even know they lived, there’s nothing for us to read about them..This whole project should be something that a lot of us should be doing in different ways...” Over his dialogue we come back full circle to the Lagos high-rise constructions
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