Alternative musicians [Alté musicians] have recently being enjoying a good share of media attention. This surge in popularity can be credited partly to its increased presence in cultural conversations which has been prompted by the relative successes of singles like Desire (Odunsi, ft Tay Iwar, Funbi) and Gangster Fear (Santi ft Odunsi). These singles’ successes, and others alike, have gotten the artistes gigs and show performances that have in turn increased their popularity.
Their popularity has also been helped by the sense of inclusion they have enjoyed from their more popular industry colleagues. Only recently, M.I Abaga released a mixtape that featured a couple of these artistes. Last year, Tay Iwar opened for ASA at her Asa Encore concert.
Broadly, Alté music, as coined by BOJ, and as understood in terms of Nigerian Pop music, represents a sound that is a fusion of different sounds, which are at times sourced from African roots but largely from sounds that are foreign like reggae and Rnb. There are people who call it afro-fusion. While Black Magic is largely regarded as the pioneer of this sound, a new set a young artistes have honed it and made it theirs. Leading this charge are Lady donli, Odunsi (the engine) and Tay Iwar.
While it’s the music that’s getting the attention at the moment, the Alté movement is much more than just music: there are filmmakers, models and Fashion designers who get the Alté tag simply for treading paths that are different from the mainstream. Accompanying the recently released video “Alté Cruise”, Santi writes
“We are family of young musicians, model, filmmakers, fashion designers, doing our thing slightly differently from the mainstream. Because of that, In Nigeria they branded our scene Alté. So we just decided to own that narrative. So this song depicts our daily lives, our lifestyle on this side of this Nigerian Scene that’s growing everyday”
Visual storyteller Wami Aluko is a member of the Alté movement. Like most them, she was born in Nigeria but later left the country for the diaspora for educational purposes. As an artist, having experienced -and still experiencing- these lives has helped her in forming her own perspectives and consequently telling her own unique stories.
In Wami’s Fashion film “Neogenesis” she explored the significance of clothing in visual storytelling using sharp colorful images that were at times interrupted by monochrome images. With a perfect soundtrack in Soülsa’s “Birthday”, she succeeded not just in attracting but also in trapping the viewer’s attention. In its ways, the film is a triumph in creativity and uniqueness.
Wami’s film ends with the model-her silhouette- walking away from darkness into the light. A perfect representation of the feeling amongst these budding creatives: that they are here not just to fill in the numbers, but to show us that theirs is a new and perhaps better way of creating beautiful things.