Cally Ikpe and the Revolution of Nigerian Music Videos – THISDAY Newspapers

Music

Vanessa Obioha
In the 90s, Cally Ikpe, the convener of the Nigeria Music Video Awards (NMVA) set out to revolutionise the Nigeria Music video. His foray into mainstream entertainment started in 1992 when he was appointed to anchor the premium music video show, ‘Super Sound’ on NTA2 Channel 5 in Lagos. 
“The General Manager of the TV channel, Mrs Jennifer Endim did me that honour based on competence only. I had no prior connection with her. Succeeding veteran host, Olisa Adibua as presenter of that show, was no mean feat and I embraced the task quite well,” he said in a recent chat.
‘Super Sound’ mainly showcased trending Western musical videos as  Nigerian music videos lacked technical quality and aesthetics. However, a determined Ikpe remained focused on pushing Nigerian music videos to the forefront. This led to the creation of  ‘Da New Live Beats’, in 1995, where American and Nigerian content were abundantly played side-by-side. Ikpe also introduced live performances, allowing artists to put vocals on DJ beats. 
It was at this phase that the duo of Tuface (now 2Baba) and Blackface, known as Plantashun Boyz became a regular feature on the show. Femi Kuti, KC Presh, Danny Wilson, Daddy Fresh, Daddy Showkey, Jimmy Jatt, and Timaya, were among many who found expression on the show. 
“I recall that Healing Child was the first Nigerian artist to shoot his video on celluloid as far back in the 1990s. ‘Da New Live Beats’ ran live every Sunday morning on NTA2 Channel 5. It was practically about the biggest music video programme on TV in Nigeria then, and I dare say the most resilient too.”
Although it was not structured to run with a live studio-based audience, the premises of NTA2 Channel 5, Victoria Island, according to Ikpe, was usually jam-packed with people, mostly industry practitioners trying to get a space on the show.
“That attested to how popular the show was. In fact, people still accuse me today of making them miss Sunday morning mass or church service. It was a rare moment for me and I enjoyed the privilege and the glory. We were invariably championing the music video revolution in Nigeria; and deservedly, we had the rare privilege of initiating Nigeria’s first-ever music video awards, the annual Nigeria Music Video Awards in 2007.”
The NMVA ushered in a new era where music videos were seen as a critical element of an artist’s creative process. Ikpe described it as a coronation of the height Nigerian music videos had attained.
 “Up till about 2015, over 80 per cent of artistes in mainstream Afrobeats in Nigeria found our platform useful,” he said.  “The technical support from many individuals in the entertainment and media industry like Edi Lawani, Efe Omorogbe, the late Ogbonnaya Amadi, Nseobong Okon-Ekong, Jungle Productions, Digitrack Studios, Daar Communications, Charly Boy’s New Wave Productions, Kennis Music, DonTee, Philip Trimnell Productions, Dudu Productions, Patrick Doyle Media and the rest was quite reassuring.”
Ikpe also found solidarity in others like 2Baba, P-Square, Wizkid, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Festus Keyamo, Basketmouth, Gbenga Adeyinka 1, Adekunle Ayeni, Kunle Bakare, Banky W, the late Dan Foster, Sound Sultan and Goldie, among others.
Ikpe who runs his production outfit Callivision insisted that individuals like Nas Onucheyo, Tony Adeniyi, Sunday Are, Debo Alexander worked behind the scene tirelessly to ensure the success of Nigeria’s premiere music video awards.
With the impact of ‘Da New Live Beats’ and NMVA on the Afrobeats scene today, Ikpe deserves a place in Afrobeats history today. However, in the latest documentaries on Afrobeats: ‘Journey of the Beats’ and ‘Afrobeats’, Ikpe’s name is clearly missing as one of the critical promoters of the Afrobeats movement that is recognised globally.
Today, many creatives take their daily bread from music videos. If persons like Ikpe did not kickstart the campaign on quality music videos, we may still be lagging behind in the field.
Although it has been on hiatus, the NMVA is presently being fortified to make it more impactful, according to Ikpe. He also hinted at working on a peace advocacy project, ‘Road to a Violence-free Nigeria’, via his non-governmental organisation, Callivision Initiative for Youth and Good Culture. 
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