By Rotimi Agbana
For the second time in 2019, ‘Topside’, a brass band of the United States Naval Forces visited Nigeria from July 28-30 to bolster the U.S.-Nigerian relationship through the power of music.
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Whether it was “When the saints go marching in’, ‘Stand by me’, ‘Lion sleeps tonight’, or ‘Water no get enemy’, the high-energy performances of the U.S. Naval band was well received by the Nigerian audience.
On the first day of their visit, the band performed American and Nigerian tunes to the delight of approximately 300 children and youths at the Johnson Jakande Tinubu Park, Alausa, Lagos. The band also captivated a crowd at Freedom Park, where they performed a special rendition of late Afro-beat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s classic tune ‘Water no get enemy’, to the delight of music lovers who sang and danced along with the band.
Also, the group of nine musicians conducted a master-class for established and emerging local musicians, including members of the Nigerian Trumpet Guild. Building on their long-standing partnership, the U.S. Navy band shared best practices with their Nigeria Navy, Air Force and Nigeria Police counterparts.
Speaking on their visit to Nigeria, a member of the band, Michael Parker said; “We are really excited to be playing for our Nigerian partners again, our last visit to Lagos was so well received.”
As part of activities to mark their visit, the U.S. Navy band also performed at a special reception, commemorating the 2019 Africa Partnership Station (APS) Mission. The event was held at the Nigerian Naval Dockyards, Victoria Island, Lagos and was attended by U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Kathleen FitzGibbon; U.S. Naval Forces Europe Deputy Chief of Strategy, Resources and Plans, Rear Admiral John Gumbleton; Nigerian Navy’s Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji; alongside Nigerian political and business leaders as well as members of the diplomatic corps.