9 Notable music documentaries in Nigeria

9 Notable music documentaries in Nigeria
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Nigeria’s music industry has experienced tremendous growth over the years, with various genres like Afrobeats, Highlife, and Fuji gaining international recognition.

Music documentaries have played a crucial role in showcasing the lives and careers of Nigerian musicians, providing an intimate look at the country’s rich musical heritage. Here is a list of notable music documentaries in Nigeria from the onset till 2024:

1. Fela Kuti: Music is the Weapon (1982)

Directed by Stéphane Tchalgadjieff and Jean-Jacques Flori, this documentary explores the life and career of Nigerian music legend, Fela Kuti, highlighting his struggles and triumphs as a musician and political activist. The film includes powerful performances and interviews with Kuti himself, offering a glimpse into his philosophy and the socio-political environment of Nigeria during his time.

2. Femi Kuti: The Definitive Guide (2004)

This documentary chronicles the life and career of Femi Kuti, son of Fela Kuti, showcasing his musical journey and the cultural context in which his music was made. Directed by Jürgen Schadeberg, the film offers an intimate look at Femi’s journey, showcasing his rise in the music world, his efforts to uphold and expand his father’s legacy, and his unique contributions to Afrobeat. Featuring rare footage of performances and behind-the-scenes moments, the documentary highlights Femi’s creative process and his social and political activism.

3. The Legend of Osita Osadebe (2018)

This documentary tells the story of Nigerian highlife musician, Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, providing insight into his musical journey and the cultural significance of his music. Directed by Obi Emelonye, the film traces his journey from his early days in Igboland to becoming a renowned musician known for timeless hits like Osondi Owendi. Featuring archival performance footage and interviews with family, friends, and fellow musicians, the documentary explores Osadebe’s musical innovations and personal life. It highlights his cultural impact and the joy his music brought to Nigerians, cementing his legacy in Highlife and Nigerian music history.

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4. Afrobeat: The Return of the Panther (2019)

This documentary explores the revival of Afrobeat in modern Nigerian music, featuring interviews with artists like Seun Kuti and Ebo Taylor. Directed by Eric Kabera, the documentary explores the resurgence and global influence of Afrobeat, the genre pioneered by Fela Kuti. The documentary highlights the contributions of Femi and Seun Kuti in revitalizing Afrobeat, blending traditional elements with modern sounds. Featuring performances, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews, the film delves into Afrobeat’s socio-political impact and its role in advocating for justice and African identity.

5. Wizkid: The Man, The Music, The Legend (2020)

Wizkid Artists
Wizkid

This documentary chronicles the rise of Nigerian pop star, Wizkid, showcasing his journey from humble beginnings to international stardom. Released in 2020 and directed by Balogun Afolabi, it provides an intimate look at his journey from humble beginnings in Surulere, Lagos, to global fame. Featuring interviews with Wizkid, his family, and industry peers, it explores his early career, breakthrough hits, and international collaborations with artists like Drake and Beyoncé. The film highlights his creative process, cultural roots, and impact on bringing African music to the global stage, celebrating his enduring legacy in the music industry.

6. Davido: The King of Afrobeats (2022)

davido
Davido

Davido: The King of Afrobeats, released in 2022 and directed by Dudu Aremu, is a compelling documentary that explores the life and career of Nigerian music sensation, Davido, born David Adedeji Adeleke. The film provides an intimate look at Davido’s rise from a young artist with big dreams to a global music icon. Through exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, it showcases his influential role in the Afrobeats genre, his chart-topping hits like Dami Duro and Fall, and his collaborations with international artists. The documentary celebrates Davido’s impact on African music and his journey to becoming one of the genre’s most prominent figures.

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7. Burna Boy: The Black River – Whiskey Documentary (2022)

In this music documentary, Burna Boy: The Black River – Whiskey Documentary released in 2022, Nigerian Afro-fusion star, Burna Boy takes us on a journey through his life, music, and inspirations. Partnering with Whiskey brand, Black River, this documentary offers an intimate look at the artist’s creative process and rise to international recognition. The documentary explores Burna Boy’s early days in Port Harcourt, his musical influences, and his journey to becoming one of Africa’s most prominent artists. With exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, the film provides a unique perspective on Burna Boy’s artistry and dedication to his craft.

8. Tiwa Savage: The Rhythm and the Soul (2023)

Tiwatope Savage-Balogun
Tiwa Savage

Tiwa Savage: The Rhythm and the Soul is a compelling documentary released in 2023, directed by Abiola Oke. The film provides an intimate look at the life and career of Nigerian music icon, Tiwa Savage. Through exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, it explores her journey from humble beginnings to becoming a leading figure in the African music industry. The documentary highlights her musical influences, breakthrough moments, and impact on the Afrobeat and Afropop genres. It also celebrates her cultural roots, collaborations with international artists, and role in promoting African music globally.

9. Burna Boy: The African Giant (2024)

Directed by Tunde Kelani, the film provides an intimate look at the life and career of Nigerian music sensation Burna Boy, born Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu. Through exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage, it explores Burna Boy’s journey from his early influences to becoming a global music icon. The documentary highlights his breakout hits, including Like to Party and Ye, his Grammy-winning album Twice as Tall, and his collaborations with international artists. It also celebrates Burna Boy’s advocacy for African unity and social justice, capturing his electrifying performances and personal narratives.

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