By Stanley Nwanosike
Life Continental Lager Beer, a beverage in the staple of Nigeria Breweries Plc, has declared over N10 million prize money to support growth of Igbo traditional dance, culture and high-life music.
The beer brand is doling out the prize money through its ongoing “Rhythm of Progress Competition’’, designed to showcase up-coming Igbo traditional dance, culture display and high-life music among Igbo young talents.
Speaking to newsmen at the end of the semi-finals held in Enugu on Thursday, Mr Chidi Egwu, Brand Manager of Life Beer, said that the competition was for talents from the Igbo speaking states of Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers.
Egwu, who expressed regret that hip-hop music was taking over the traditional music industry of the Igbo, said that the beer brand created the platform to preserve and project Igbo culture, dance and high-life to the world.
The brand manager said that South-East and Igbo speaking areas of the country were the natural home of Life Continental Lager Beer since it was brewed in Onitsha, Anambra, for over three decades.
Egwu noted that Life Beer had been part and parcel of the rich Igbo language and culture.
He lauded the participants in the semi-finals for displaying very high talents, adding that the overall winner of the competition would smile home with N5 million, while first and second runners up would receive N2 million and N1 million respectively.
According to him, “the crowd today here is mammoth and we believe it will be bigger during the grand finale in Onitsha on Sunday, Aug. 18.”
He said, “generally, we are trying to preserve our culture and present it to the world in a very reasonable and engaging way.
“So, for us, we want people not to feel ashamed of their culture. Hip-Hop is not our culture and we need to project our own culture which is high-life music.
“We are not only giving them prize money but we provide them with platform to showcase all their activities to the world.’’
Frank Onyeka, who is among the four singers that qualified for the finals, thanked Life Beer and his fans for believing in him and giving him the opportunity to showcase his talent to the world.
Onyeka said, “I see myself becoming the overall winner in Onitsha through the grace of God and support of all.”
Kenneth Ndubisi, Leader of Ofu Obi Cultural Troupe, noted that his group would put in more practice and effort to grab the N2 million prize for the best in the dance category.
Ndubuisi, whose group was among the three dance groups that qualified for the finals, thanked Life Larger Beer for promoting dancers and high-life talents in Igbo-land and God for endowing them with the talent.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two singing contestants, who lost out in the semi-finals, smiled home with consolation prize money of N150,000 each.
The organisation also gave consolation gift items to the spectators. (NAN)