This Guy Walks Into a Chinese Restaurant in Lagos

The restaurant O’Jez (pronounced like the band that sang “Backstabbers”) hosts a highlife party the last Sunday of every month.

Evergreen doing their retro highlife thang

I went this evening hoping to have a beer, maybe a small bite, and listen to some old highlife classics (highlife, one of the precursors to Afrobeat, is a jazzy, brassy style that came originally from Ghana, and which Nigerians cottoned on to very warmly) that are being dusted off by a young group of musicians who call themselves Evergreen.  Their slogan:  “Music for Matured Minds.”

O’Jez sits on the upper level of Lagos’s national stadium.  The way in is a maze of cafes and bars and numerous soccer games being played on a myriad of little pitches and parking lots.  I arrived when the band was just kicking off.

It soon evolved that the manager of the event had apparently offered the O’Jez space for a birthday party for a one Peter Igoh, a major player in Nigerian broadcasting, television, screen-writing and Nollywood, the country’s filmmaking hub as its called.  It was part celebration, part roast, lots of speeches, lots of memories, and many shout-outs to people who had come for the festivities.  The music was cool.  A good highlife band can really can make your day.

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