Last week, Nigeria’s premier jazz and soul export Asa joined an exclusive league of musical greats, as she performed at the 44th edition of the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival. Since renowned Swiss Claude Nobs founded the event, it has become an annual gathering place for lovers of jazz from all over the world.
more after the cut..
Legends such as Quincy Jones, James Brown, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Earth, Wind & Fire, Wu Tang Clan and Nigerian legend Fela Kuti have all performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
This year’s edition of the annual event held from 1 – 16 July. Apart from being one of the few Nigerians to have performed on the platform of the Montreux Jazz Festival, Asa was also one of the youngest this year, alongside Grammy award-winning jazz bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding and others. However of all the young artistes, it was Asa who was selected to perform alongside Seal at the most prominent venue of the festival, the Stravinsky Hall.
Asa has been touring the world since January – as has become an annual tradition with her, booked for big cities and small towns across Europe. “Asa was not one to publicise her tours previously as it’s a given for any serious artiste,” a representative said. “But fans have complained about short notice, and so here we are!”
In January she held forte in Montréal, Paris, Marseille and Cannes, moving to Zurich, Lausanne, Milan, Barcelona, Madrid and Berlin in February. In the following months, Asa performed in Australia (Womad Festival), Belgium (Festival les Nuits du Botanique), the United Kingdom (Indigo) and Canada (Festival d’Eté) among others.
Straight from the Montreux Jazz Festival this July, Asa will be in Aix Les Bains, La Rochelle and Nimes in France, as well as Wiltshire in the UK.
Catch her in one of the cities below –
August 5 – Festival Ecaussyteme, Gignac (France)
August 7 – Festival Esperanzah, Floreffe (Belguim)
August 13 – Fête du bruit à Landerneau, Landerneau (France)
August 17 – Stadtpark, Hamburg (Germany)
August 18 – Kultur Arena, Jena (Germany)
August 19 – Kulturzelt, Kassel (Germany)
August 28 – Black2black Festival, Rio De Janeiro (Brazil)
September 2 – Arts Alive, Johannesburg (South Africa)
September 4 – Arts Alive, Johannesburg (South Africa)
September 10 – Chant du Gros festival, La Chaux de Fonds (switzerland)
September 14 – Lagos (Nigeria)
September 15 - Lagos (Nigeria)
September 17 – Lagos (Nigeria)
September 23 – 15ème Festival Femmes Funk, Noumea (New Caledonia)
September 25 – Open air, Noumea (New Caledonia)
October 5 – Music Club Janus, Osaka (Japan)
October 6 – Club Quattro, Tokyo (Japan)
October 9 – Arkas Sasebo, Nagasaki (Japan)
October 10 – Roppongi Hills Aren, Tokyo (Japan)
October 14 – Noumatrouff, Mulhouse (Germany)
October 15 – Nancy Jazz Pulsations, Nancy (France)
October 19 – Casino de Paris, Paris (France)
October 20 – L’Echonova, Vannes (France)
October 21 – Théâtre Le Millandy (France)
October 25 – Koko, London (UK)
October 27 – Festival Nuits de Champagne, Troyes (France)
November 3 – Oslo World Music Festival, Oslo (Denmark)
November 10 – Théâtre Louis Aragon, Tremblay
November 12 – Tollhaus, Karlsruhe (Germany)
November 13 – Muffathalle, Munich (Germany)
November 14 – Theaterhaus, Stuttgart (Germany)
November 17 – Salle les Arènes, Petite Foret (France)
November 18 – Théâtre Simone Signoret, Conflans Ste Honorine
November 19 – St Polten
November 23 – Théâtre Municipal, Coutances
January 14 TO 21 Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane
Born Bukola Elemide, Aṣa was born in Paris, France to Nigerian parents. She was two years old when her family returned to live in Nigeria. Aṣa grew up in Lagos, in the south-western part of Nigeria. In 2004, she met her manager and friend, Janet, who introduced her into a world that helped her find her bearings and songs in English and Yoruba, music falling somewhere between pop and soul, inspired by her musical heritage – with particular care paid to the melodies – and reflecting the feeling she puts into it. Her texts talk about her country, the things in life, the things in her life, all delivered with feigned naïveté and real irony.
It was at this stage of her life that Aṣa finally returned to Paris. This was her chance to test out her talent on the French musical scene, playing with artists such as the Les Nubians, Manu Dibango, Doctor L and Tony Allen. In the meantime, back in Nigeria, her first single, Eyé Adaba, then Jailer, were beginning to get airtime. MTV chose her as the ambassador for South Africa.
Aṣa soon signed to the 'Naïve label'. Partnered by Nigerian producer Cobhams Asuquo, and with the new involvement of Christophe Dupouy, she produced her first album, Aṣha. Her second album titled Beautiful Imperfection was released on 25 October 2010. The lead single off Beautiful Imperfection is titled "Be My Man" and was released in late September. A video for the song was released in mid-October. Her awards include the 2008 Prix Constantin and she has toured extensively across the world – including Europe, North America and Asia.