Monday, 20 May 2013
Press Release: ICSN's Iri Ji (New Yam) Festival 2012 In London
Igbo Cultural Support Network add a touch of Nigerian culture to Hackneys Black History Month.
Never did the people of Hackney know that they will be spoilt twice this year. Firstly for being one of the official Olympic boroughs, but more importantly for being the borough of choice to host the Igbo Cultural Support Networks 2012 9th Annual Iri Ji (New Yam) Festival.
The Iri Ji (New Yam) Festival is an annual harvest festival that has been celebrated for centuries. It is a time of thanksgiving to God for making the farm yields possible and praying for good yields the next year.
On the Saturday 13th October ICSN joined a long movement of Igbo communities and organisations worldwide by holding and maintaining this important Festival. A Festival which is an important part of our culture, and since its inception, has become highlight of the calendar year amongst Igbos in the UK.
Many travelled from far and wide having to bear the typical London October weather, and transport problems. However once the 400 plus people entered the Petchey Academy (Festival venue) their moods were immediately transformed. They were all greeted and embraced into a warm, welcoming, and cultured ambiance, which set the tone for the night.
Before the Kola Nut had even been broken, you could sense the pride of Igboness in the air, emitting from the men, women, elders, and children, entering the venue in their beautiful, handsome, and cute traditional outfits.
No fashion parade in the world would of compared to the inflowing of various outfits colours variations, styles which all made their way into the beautifully decorated main hall. This was further enhanced by the soulful, and gospel sounds of Kelechi Ify, and his live band whose soothing, soulful music, created a unique and alluring atmosphere that served as the soundtrack for the whole night.
Once the main hall was near packed, and the eloquent Charles Emeka (host) stepped up to kick off proceedings, it was then....... NTA (LIGHTS) KAMERA (CAMERA) NGWAAMME (ACTION)
The high table comprised of various distinguished elders from within our community, many execs, and heads of Igbo community organisations. Thank you to the high table members
• Chief Aaron Muorah (President of the Anambra State Union UK) & Obi Ezielo (Secretary)
• Igwe Christopher Ejiofor, who served as Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu’s Aide De Camp (ADC) during the Biafra War(Author of the book “Biafrans Struggle for Survival”),
• Mazi & Lolo Moses Edomobi (representatives of Nsu Ehime – Mbano Community Association UK & Ireland)
• Mr Theo Ariri (Vice President of the Imo State Union UK)
We were also humbled by the various VIPS who took time out from their schedules to support us, Imeela (Thanks) to the following;
Christine Ohurugu MBE (Olympic, World and Commonwealth 400m Champion), Actor Nonso Anozie (Cass, Rock N Rolla, Conan The Barbarian,), who was previously a member of the ICSN Igbo Language School. Radio Presenter Princess Ifem host of The Princess Ifem Show/Igbo Africa, on Naija 101.1FM, and Nena Ubani Founder of Igbokwenu TV, Igbokwenu Radio (also host of 2 shows on Voice of Africa, and Guess Radio).
All the attendees left feeling they had received the right diet balance of education and entertainment.
The various presentations/performances ranging from;
• The cutting of the yam which was done by our elder, Igwe Christopher Ejiofor
• Educational presentations of a cultural significance; Cheta Ojukwu (former ICSN Exec ) on the importance and history of the Iri Ji Festival by Cheta Ojukwu, and Ify Ofomata on the Igbo Resource Centre
• Mixture of musical performances; the poetic lyrics of Obi Iwumene, the conscious hiphop lyrics of Nonyerem, as well as the free flowing gospel soulful echoes of Amazin Ijeoma.
• The presentation of ICSN Executive members past and present who to this day go out of their way to ensure ICSN continues to progress year after year.
ADANTA who have become a yearly fixture of the Iri Ji Festival kept the attendee entertained, with their traditional combination of igbo cultural dances, and sequences.
The biggest applause though goes to the ICSN Dance Troup aka Egwu Oganiru whose debut performance at the Iri Ji Festival raised the roof. Under the tutorship of ICSN Cultural Exec Kaosochi Ezigboh the ICSN Dance School which started in August, has given birth to a new generation of inspiring young athletic, pioneering dancers.
Egwu Oganiru’s segment whose routines, consisted of a contemporary igbo dancing with a youthful energetic twist, got crowds rushing to the front to capture the moment on their cameras, and smart phones.
Being the Iri Ji Festival, yam featured heavily on the menu. Meaning that as well as the staple dishes, Jollof/Fried Rice, chicken, beef, moi moi, plantain, fish, tripe, pepper soup, etc. we also had a variety of yam dishes. These consisted of the following; Yam Porridge, Powdered Yam, Fried Yam, Boiled Yam, etc.
Once the main festivities were done, it was Dance Dance Dance till late night. This allowed people time to show off their dancing skills on the dance floor, to networking, to support the various business stalls who had contributed to making the Iri Ji a success.
It was an all round entertaining, and successful night. It was inspiring to see Igbos young, and old working together at different parts of the spectrum to create another brilliant Festival.
Wait until you see what we have in store for 2013
Editors Notes: ICSN is the UK’s largest networking organisation for young adults of Nigerian Igbo descent. The organisation currently has a membership of over 1,500 members and is growing. The organisation works to bring young Igbo people all over the UK together and enrich them in their understanding of their heritage.
Find out more about the Igbo Cultural Support Network via the following links;