By Andy Adibemma
The whole gamut of a people’s culture, way of life, and language is transmitted through their music. It is through Igbo music as produced by the practitioners the Igbo language is documented and stored for generation to come.
Again, Igbo contribution to world culture is a product of Igbo music and musicians. It is in tandem with this obvious position that the annual Igbo Music Award otherwise, called Ekwe Award has become an important event in the cultural calendar of the Igbo nation. Inaugurated in 2013 by the Ogbakoro Theater Company, Ekwe Award is the promotion and the recognition of the finest in Igbo music, with Igbo Language as vehicle of such rendition and composition.
The 2014 Ekwe Award, which is the last big item in the Igbo Cultural Calendar, is on. The process for selection and award ceremony has commenced. Billed for the last quarter of the year, it is expected that the 2014 Ekwe Award will be hosted by Imo State. The 2013 Award Ceremony hosted by Ebonyi State took place at the prestigious Women Development Center, Abakaliki. Many multinational conglomerates have shown interest in partnering the organizers in show casing the best in Igbo music and culture since, the award is geared not only in bringing out the best in Igbo music regardless of genre, it is also meant to tell the world that the Igbo peoples language which many fear is going into extinction, is a major contributor to world culture and civilization.
Meanwhile, call for entries have commenced and voting for winners in the various categories will be announced soon. The organizers have promised to stage a once in a lifetime event, which will not only be promoted in the South-East but will register in the cultural timetable of all lovers of music and culture.
While we welcome the 2014 Ekwe Award, it is worthy to note the pathetic attitude of South-East government and Igbo leaders towards the advancement and propagation of Igbo Culture, Language and music.
In 2013, after several promises and pledges it was the far seeing Governor and Government of Ebonyi State that supported Ekwe Award.
Even Corporate Institutions like the GSM Providers, MTN showed little commitment to this worthy course. It was as if while we lament the onslaught and battering the Igbo language is facing today, the Igbo nation as a people has failed to recognize the very unique role music plays and will continue to play in the sustenance of the language, as one of the body of world languages.
In 2013 the organizers had to through dint of ruggedness of spirit and vision carried out the epochal arrival of All Igbo music award. It is therefore, hoped that the governments and people of the South East should do the needful in promoting this laudable project which not only chronicles the different genres of Igbo music in their uniqueness but helps in recognizing Igbo music stars and ambassadors with the aim of giving them their rightful place in the Pantheon of stars and legends.
As Imo state is billed to host the 2014 Ekwe Award, it is gratifying to note the interest shown by the people towards the awards but this enthusiasm can be better complimented if the Imo state government should take interest and contribute towards its success.
Also, we call on the governments of South East States to rally resources in culture promotion and support great and iconic ideas like Igbo music award when they do this, the Igbo language and culture will not only be enriched but archived for posterity.