The Gambian Cultural Week in London: Who were the winners and losers?

The Gambian Cultural Week in London: Who were the winners and losers?

Firstly, let’s clear this nonsense called “Senegambian Cultural Week"; we all know that is misleading. Was this name coined by Njok Malick and his team so they can use it as an excuse to bring Senegalese musicians and profit from such events? Whatever the case maybe, this is purely a Gambian Cultural week as it is the case in Sweden, Norway and other UK cities like Birmingham, Nottingham etc.

Do Njok and his team think that they must use Senegal in it for it to work? My friends, for how long will you continue to play second fiddle to Senegal? When will you come out of the shadow of Senegal and stand on your own and believe in yourself and artists?

Senegalese diaspora has events throughout the year but never (even for once) had they invited a Gambian artist to perform, instead they will laugh at us and say “Gambienne Con Len”.  I am not against doing shows/concerts with Senegalese stars, but on weeks like this, it should be purely Gambian- no ifs, no buts.

Message to Njok Malick– You see there are more and bigger forces fighting you behind the scenes than you know. The widely held belief is that you are profiting from the cultural week and now every Tom, Dick, and Harry wants a share. My advice is to open up, people tend to get involved or take ownership if they or their associates are part of the organizing. This event is now too big for Yaram Arts, is about time you diversify it and get other Gambian Associations on board.

Saul Frazer– If the land grabbing business is not lucrative anymore and you want to change career let us know and stop hiding behind people in your nefarious activities.  Why do you always court controversy? You have a pending case with the folks of Kololi when you and your partners illegally purchased that vast land for a token.  For me, I think that should be your priority and not what happens in London.

Saul Sowe– Dude was on a revenge mission, until a few months ago Bai Babu was signed to his record label (Juluv Arts) and now with Absolute Entertainment. On his Facebook video at Gatwick Airport receiving Wally Seck; they were both “Garuwallying“ Bai Babu by saying on Saturday 26th August “ Lou Waye di Jai dina lamba”. If there was any Lamba then it is their show, as the hall was not even half full. That was a low blow from Mr. Sowe, you should never collude with a foreign artist to demean your own Gambian artist no matter what is not cool. Move on and don’t hold grudges.

Winners and Losers

As in any competition, there will be winners and losers; Bai Babu was the sole winner of the bank holiday weekend melodrama by successfully headlining the main event on Saturday night and drawing a crowd which shamed the naysayers. Saul Sowe and Frazer eat your heart out. Gambian artists are usually warm up artists for events like this and do not play with a live band but instead a “playback”. I was proud to see that finally, Gambians are beginning to love themselves. We thank those who made it possible, please same again next year.

Sauls; Sowe + Frazer and Wally Seck were losers of the weekend. They predicted Bai Babu’s show “Dina lamba” but hey it was theirs’ which was. Eventim was selling their tickets but sales were so poor that they have to physically get the tickets from them and start aggressive cold calling to flog tickets, two days before the event only 25% of seated tickets were sold. Troxy hall wasn’t even half full, filming from the front looked packed but from the back says a different story. Attendees can confirm that it was two third empty. The number of people they were expecting didn’t show up, they were left licking their wounds, hope we will not hear issues of non-payment of bills.

By Saihou Sissoho

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