DJE: May we meet you?

My name is Egwu Nnanna Echem. Amongst other things, I’m the Founder of CEDARS Group.

DJE: Can you tell us what CEDARS Is all about?

   I can’t say “all” CEDARS is about since we are always evolving… But we are basically a nondenominational group involved in the theatricals which ranges into choreography, drama, spoken word poetry and Music. However, we are currently extending our reach into the worlds of Artiste Management, Media & Branding, Adverts & Publicity… We are growing into a conglomerate of able minds, hands and networks. In other words like our motto says “The Word In Motion” moving from Stage to Screen.
DJE: How did the idea “CEDARS” Germinate?

Ehmmnn… As an individual with a theatrical background, coming from church to “Pater’s Heritage Missions”; learning under a director like Ben Chiadika (MNET Tinsel) & Choreographer like Frank Konwea… I got into UNN in 2011 to study Computer Science. As at then there were no groups that could make me better at what I love which was the Arts. Only groups affiliated to fellowships and that was quite restricting for reasons I don’t want to mention in this interview. So I spoke with my friend Anthony Chizoba Okoye (CEO ACOTECH Ventures) and we decided to launch out.
To cut the story short, a group of like minds currently known as LEGENDS

of CEDARS came together from various denominations to pursue a vision and now we are “The Word in Motion”.
DJE: We are aware about the event CEDARS is putting up but before then, how was the First Edition? & What were the challenges?

First thing I want to say is, “No Event is 100% perfect, we can only attain Excellence”. According to Statistics from ‘CEDARS Live In Concert’ last year, it was SOLD Out with the hall filled to its brim. It was a great experience for CEDARS as a team, Invited artistes and for those who were around. Seeing people chant “We Taking Over! We Taking Over…” Weeks after the event was a beautiful thing.
As for the challenges, they were much as always with every event. I must say that “Events are costly and to give people an experience of a life time, you will plan and spend a lot”. The major challenge was getting people to fall in love with a concert they have not seen an edition of, and still ticketing a “Gospel Event” but we scaled through because people believed, fellowships supported and Christians showed understanding coupled with the love shown by the university community.

DJE: This year’s edition, what should we be expecting?

   This year’s edition promises to be simple. I mean, simply mind blowing. Even CEDARS, as the organizers, still marvel at the magnitude and sheer beauty that God has empowered us to put together. Last year, ‘CEDARS, live in concert’ was blessed to see the attendance of both postgraduate Students, Parents, Lecturers and people from outside Enugu. And in this year, we already have bookings and support nationwide. We have been blessed with the support of the gospel scene’s big names and, hopefully, one or three of those big names will join us in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka Campus. Logistics are still in progress.

DJE: This year’s event came with the #CedarsAward surprise. Can you please shed light on its introduction?

     This year on the 13th of May, CEDARS will hold her second concert and first Award giving ceremony, which you know as “Cedars Award”. This year and subsequently, we aim at, not just provide wholesome entertainment, but also spurring the Christian artistes around us to action. It is not enough that we should download a song just because it is tagged ‘Gospel’ or be choked up with scripts all because they are done in church; a lot should be put into the quality of our work and the people recognize this quality. We will let the Cedars Award be a Thank you note to the local acts of UNN (Enugu & Nsukka Campuses) who, we recognize, need encouragement. CEDARS is all about creating a platform for gospel content to reach the world; the Concert is yet another platform.

DJE: Which performing acts are we expecting this year?

Like I said earlier, we are currently in contact with some top guns in the gospel industry… Logistics are still in place to seal the deals. But for now, Aside CEDAR names like V-Josh, The Niel, Mindsmith, Just-ICE, Sophie, Ama Udofa, Doebi, et al We have confirmed names like Clarkson Ikwunze, Mac Donald, Chen & GraceBound Crew, The Encounter Crew, JoeSax, ChimeFrancis, BombC of Focus Muzik, YWAP, The Christ A Poet Team, amongst others.

DJE: What should our readers be expecting from the CEDARS Team?

We have a few singles in the works. The video coverage of the concert should be ready soon after the concert too. We will be at PENSPEAK 17, a spoken word concert by our sister organization, the Christ-a-Poet Team. We would also be at CEREBRATION 2017, an IQ challenge by our affiliate, D_Daniels group. We recognize the need for ecumenism in the Nigerian church today. We each have faced a lot in our bid to keep our artistic content both sound, clean beyond being politically correct. We hope to solve these problems by our artistry and its products, by our affiliations and its influence.
DJE: Any words to the fans of CEDARS Reading this?

     We are privileged to be in a position where we have fans, and we promise not to take them for granted.
We want to be a picture that incites chants of “#WeWontEndHere” among the youths of Nigeria, a reason why they should look better as they rise, like we have, to the task of building the necessary connections and making the necessary steps towards a desired tomorrow. So to every fan; we are honored by your love and support. You are the reason for our work and without you, there would be no us. Thank you so much, we will keep on being yours, sincerely, and getting better with every performance. Kindly follow us as we follow Jesus.
DJE: Any words of encouragement?

Ehmmnn… Every dream is worth living, every vision is worth attaining. Keep on keeping on to whatever good you’re up to.
In the words of J.R.R Tolkien “Not everyone who wanders is lost”.

I also thank everyone in Deriving Joy Entertainment for this privilege…