Interview:”Freedomhall is a platform for the development of people in the creative arts”-Torpedo Mascaw
Freedomhall has been a household name as far as entertainment in Nigeria is concerned. In Freedomhall, you experience freedom for free to express yourself and showcase your gifts. The platform which is 6 years old has been promoting various forms including poetry, spoken word, comedy, live music and dance. Famous features include but are not limited to MI, Adekunle Gold, Simi, FAlz, 2face idibia, Sound Sultan, Jesse Jagz, Paul play, Ade Bantu, Lagbaja, Tasha Denae,The Marleys(Bob marley’s grand children) and many more.
Tope Sadiq, popularly known as “Torpedo Mascaw” is the name-tag of Freedomhall. Here’s an exclusive were Torpedo talks about accomplishments and promises.
EB: Let’s get a brief introduction of you and the entire concept of Freedom Hall. (How it all began)
TM: My name is Torpedo Mascaw, an IT consultant by day,and a Spoken Word artist at night. We st Freedomhall came to realize that the hustle and bustle of everyday life doesn’t allow people to indulge in their God given talents. So where can people go to properly express their gifts? Therefore, Freedomhall was born. A place where anyone blessed with a gift in music, poetry, spoken word, comedy,drama, dance, written word,could find a place to call home…
EB: Has there been a deviation from the initial plan of Freedom Hall or is it undergoing re-branding now?
TM: The Plan has always been Freedom for all, but our manner of distilling that has changed over the years. For instance, initially we met every Thursday, but by the next season, we started having Freedomhall about 4 times a week in different locales such as mainland and lekki. But then, that was tiring, and it also weakened the brand. By the next season, we decided on passions, so we would have the Upper Room on Monday(where we spoke scripture in an informal setting),then we had dance classes as well as karaoke on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we had movie and book reviews, Thursday we would have the usual open mic, Friday was “Thank God its Friday” which was just a celebration of the week,and Saturday was Westham United where we had football, barbecue and talked about it, We rested on Sunday. The next season saw us going back to the weekly Thursday gig and we moved to once a month in Lagos and also Abuja, sometimes simultaneously…
EB: Can you give a list of major acts Freedom Hall has brought together, and the future possible artistes to come. Do you specifically select the acts you bring, or you randomly pick them?
TM: Freedomhall has been blessed with so many wonderful acts over the years, some have grown to become household names, while some have evolved into other things, what Freedomhall does gives is Freedom to make choices, we are also the alternative or the Independent group who stand for the otherside of commercial. Some acts who have honed their skills in Freedomhall include Bez, Nneka, Asha, MI, Adekunle Gold, Simi, FAlz, Emma Nyra, Ruby Gyang, Tony, Blessing Tangban, Frankie walters, Bariyu and Dog(Nigerias only ventriloquist) Imma oh my God, Chigurl, Mr Patrick, to mention a few. We have had people as diverse as 2face idibia, Sound Sultan, Jesse Jagz, Paul play, Ade Bantu, Lagbaja, Tasha Denae,The Marleys(Bob marley’s grand children). We won’t have space to name every artist that has graced the stage in Freedom Hall, but just to give an idea of the sorts.
We specifically select our acts for the shows, sometimes we invite established artists and they play on the same stage with debutantes. Most times we don’t know who is going to do what and when .
EB: How old is Freedom Hall? What can you say Freedom Hall has contributed to development of art in Nigeria since it began?
TM: Freedomhall is 6 years old and it is mostly a platform for the development of people in the creative arts. There has been a huge cry for the creative industry to expand in Nigeria, and it clearly has.
EB: As a working body, what is the structure of FH like? Designated positions, offices, etc. And how do people contact FH for an event perhaps?
TM: The structure of Freedomhall has changed over the years. From the beginning, we had 12 people who were manning different portfolios from marketing, to sales, to content, to legal and finance as well as admin and public relations.. now though we have a curator, and then we also have teams which handle the various regions. We also have a team in Lagos, a very vibrant team in Abuja and also a team in Port Harcourt.
EB: Are there impressions out there about FreedomHall that FH will like to correct?
TM: FreedomHall has a clique of performers who have been performing and have been consistent with the movement over the years. We encourage everyone to give it a shot, but we also know that not everyone is at the same stage with everyone at the same time, and so there has to be a balance between the old and the new. We bring on the new and untested first, and those that we know last, so that the new can learn from the old. We adhere strictly to people on the list that are provided for, and so if your name is not on the list or you come late then the chances of performing that night would be quite slim.
EB: 2016 expires soon. What prospects do FH have for next year.
TM: Next year portends to be a year of continued growth and movement , we hope to open some of the other regions and also to begin the HUB, which is the centre for excellence and promotion of arts.
EB: You are a freestyle performer, and people who’ve witnessed you perform say you’re “fluid”. Who are your influences, models, etc?
TM: My freestyle poetry was mostly influenced by my gift, which is an ability to weave words round situations at the drop of a hat. I like people like Common,lupe fiasco ,etc
EB: Any comments on art in general as far as Nigeria is concerned?
TM: Arts in Nigeria is a baby that is still growing and we are proud to be part of the industry, to be a voice and an influence in our own right.