It was Christmas afternoon in 2014, at Makoko, the Lagos slum floating on water, our own Venice, during the yearly ChristmazOnTheStreetz, when a group of young city dwellers converged upon the fishing community to bring glad tidings.
The atmosphere was that of a carnival, and the kids, with excitement etched onto their faces, were skillfully pulling the dance area in front of the community center apart with mesmerizing dance steps, with a mix of you-must-shake-body music booming from the speakers erected side by side the table that served as the makeshift staging area for the turntables of the DJ leading the way.
That DJ was Sensei Lo. That was my first encounter with her and her craft.
Since DJ Jimmy Savile threw the first DJ party in 1943, and went ahead to claim the title of the first man to use turntables to keep the music on and on (and we won’t stop!!), the art of Disc Jockeying has not looked back.
It used to be the exclusive preserve of men, but not anymore. Women have found their way into the gig and have held it down like Annie Nightingale. Sensei Lo has also had the craft bolted shot with her passion and dexterity on the wheels of stainless steel.
Born Cleopatra Amartey, in Lagos, Nigeria, to Ghanaian parents, DJ Sensei Lo is a descendant of warriors. Her mother is from the powerful Ashanti tribe.
Another in a long line of achievers from Queens College, Lagos, Sensei Lo is a qualified nurse and certified occupational health professional. She graduated top of her class at Lagos State School of Nursing. Yes, beauty and brains on the ones and twos!
Her Key Musical Influences while growing up were: Bob Marley, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Reeves, Dolly Parton, Prince, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson.
Her Main DJ Influences(EDM/House) are: Black Coffee, David Zowie, Daft Punk, Tiesto, David Guetta, Afro Jack, Calvin Harris & Skrillex. These greats have helped structure her choice of genre – House Music.
Cleopatra’s career launched in January 2014 as Resident DJ for Blak Lounge Elegushi, a prestigious club at the famous Elegushi Private beach in Lagos.
She has also been the guest DJ at numerous Local and International events, played at radio shows/stations such as Chale Wote Arts and Musical Festival in Accra, Saturday Night House, The Twitter Premier League (3rd-5th Edition). The Socialiga, Bellagio Pre Valentines Party, Element House, Friday Night House among others.