At number 80 Venn Road South, in the Inland Town of Onitsha once stood a small Hotel- the Dolphin Cafe Hotel, which hosted, arguably the most popular and vibrant live music club in Nigeria, outside of Lagos, of course. In its heyday (1957-1967), It hosted resident Highlife superstars like Rex Lawson, Eddie Okonta, Zeal Onyia, E.C.Arinze, Eddie Okwedi and many more. Simply put, any account of the history of Nigerian popular music is incomplete without mention of this iconic venue.
This documentary celebrates the Dolphin Cafe story, from its inception in 1957, through its heyday in the mid 1960's, till its demise as a cultural hub in 1967, when the tragic Nigerian Civil War devastated the East, reducing it to a mere shadow of itself in the postwar era. The story is told via the voices of two musical legends that were part of the story of its heyday- octogenarian Guitar virtuoso, Isaac Onate and Nonagenarian Percussionist Chief Tony 'Akatapo' Odili. The documentary also features rare images, music and interviews with some venerable alumni of Dolphin Café, who reminisce about the golden era of Nigerian cultural revolution in the immediate aftermath of Independence.
The documentary celebrates the energy, creative genius, sheer optimism and hopes of a young nation, encapsulated in the vibrant popular culture of the time, tragically lost in the storms of needless conflict. For 10 magical years (1957-1967) the Dolphin Cafe represented more than just a musical outlet, it was place to celebrate life, love and hope. A place to dream ... it was the Cafe of Dreams.
- Director Emeka Ed Keazor
- Released 2018
- Running time 25 mins
- Country Nigeria
- Language English
- Genre Documentary