Interrupt This Program

Partying at a former prison to reclaim happiness from sorrow in the heart of Lagos

Afropolitan Vibes, a concert series held at a former colonial prison, is all about letting loose and playfully breaking class barriers.

Afropolitan Vibes is all about letting loose and playfully breaking class barriers

Afropolitan Vibes, a concert series held at a former colonial prison, is about letting loose to reclaim happiness from a place of sorrow. 1:46

Nigerian-German musician and producer Adé Bantu says Lagos is "full of contradictions" — so the concert series he founded, Afropolitan Vibes, is a perfect example of the city's character. This monthly event is a party to let loose at, but it's held on the site of a former colonial prison with the stage set up in the yard where the gallows used to be. The prison, Broad Street Prison, was turned into Freedom Park in the middle of Lagos as a memorial to the violence of the site, as well as Nigeria's larger colonial and military junta history.

This whole space of pain, of sorrow, has been transformed into a place of happiness.- Adé Bantu, musician and producer

Bantu says this is a juxtaposition with a purpose: "This whole space of pain, of sorrow, has been transformed into a place of happiness. We want to bring people together again. We want to remind them of the spirit of who we are."

Adé Bantu is the frontman of BANTU — Brotherhood Alliance Navigating Towards Unity (Interrupt This Program)

In Nigeria, Bantu says people are really conscious when they go out to concerts and other events, and with Afropolitan Vibes they aim to "break the class barriers" in a playful way.

This week, Adé Bantu is one of four artists Interrupt This Problem follows through the art scene of Lagos, a city Bantu calls "the craziest place on the planet." Watch him take you to Afropolitan Vibes in the video above, and see more of his world — including his passion for how artists must "vocalize crimes for those who don't have a voice" — in this Sunday's episode of Interrupt This Program.

Art as political protest, as a means of survival, as an agent of change, as a display of courage and delight. Interrupt This Program explores art in cities under pressure.

Watch Interrupt This Program: Moscow now and the new Lagos episode online Sunday, and at 9PM Sunday on CBC TV.

 

Watch more Interrupt This Program: Lagos now

Life in Makoko is precarious — not just because the city is built on stilts over water, but because the government has tried to demolish it. "Without arts and without initiatives such as The Silent Majority Project, there would be no Makoko today. The government could have come in and cleared them out." Read more.