CELEBRATING NIGERIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC GREATS.

Though I dropped the pen for a while, I wasn’t ignorant of things happening all over. However, something else has brought me out today, and it is to share with you a wonderful composition by our very own Jude Nwankwo.

Jude Nwankwo’s composition, “Iya Mi” was premiered some couple of days ago at the Moorehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia USA and performed by an all black male chorus, The Moorehouse Glee Club.

Another giant stride it is!

Watch “Morehouse Glee Club performs “Iya Mi” by Jude Nwankwo” 

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CELEBRATING NIGERIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC GREATS – OLUWASEUN OLUWABUSUYI

ARTISTE OF THE WEEK – OLUWASEUN OLUWABUSUYI

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                 Oluwaseun Oluwabusuyi

Nigeria is blessed with so many fine Clarinetists like; Femi Ogebule, Jide Abiona, Segun Adeleke and Samuel Babalola to mention a few, but ‘Seun Oluwabusuyi Stands out among the crowd for his fine tone, dexterity, technique and most of all speed, having carved a niche for himself as a Clarinet player.

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A native of Isan Ekiti in the South Western part of Nigeria, Oluwaseun Oluwabusuyi Daniel started appreciating music from Junior Secondary School at Ajayi Crowther Memorial Grammar school, Bariga, there he had his first encounter with music theory.

He started with the Piano in 1995, but later switched to the Clarinet when Pastor Remi Collins advised that he picked up an Orchestra Instrument because playing the piano requires many years of practice before mastery.
‘Seun loved the Cello but couldn’t resist the Chalumeau register of the Clarinet.

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In 1997 he gained admission to study music under the tutelage of Mr and Mrs Boamah at the Refunda School of Music where he bagged a Diploma in Music in 1998. While at the school he was taught the Clarinet by the Maestro Seun Owoaje who set the pace for his musical journey.

In 1998 ‘Seun gained admission to Obafemi Awolowo University, but couldn’t attend, for financial reasons. He resolved to do some professional music examinations starting with Muson Grade 8 Theory and Grade 8 Clarinet, which he passed with distinction in 2003.

In 2002, he gained admission to the Lagos State University to study History Education, but dropped out after he found no fulfilment studying the course. ‘Seun recounts; “I couldn’t find the connection between History Education and Myself”.
He returned to the Institution in 2008 to study his passion, Music and graduated in 2012.

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A principal Clarinetist of the Muson Orchestra, a seat he occupies till date, ‘Seun speaks of Nigeria’s Classical Music performance.

“Classical Music in Nigeria has come a long way, but the practitioners have a lot of work to do. Take for example anytime there is a concert in Lagos, I think it should be taken to all the six geo political zones in Nigeria and must be well advertised. With these awareness, the new generation will know that music does not end with hip hop, because that is what the media feeds them with all the time. More awareness for Classical Music is required for it to cut across the country. I also think major events in the country should be our focus, once people know the value they will come for it”.

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In a country where people think Talent in Music is just enough and the study of Music is not necessary, ‘Seun thinks differently.

“It’s a shame practicing music for years without having any certification from any professional bodies. It’s impossible to be called to bar without going to Law school and very impossible to be a Medical Doctor without going to Medical School but we take Music as God’s given talent without refining it. Crude Oil cannot be PMS until it is refined. Studying music is refining the Crude Oil God has given you. Having good voice does not say you don’t need Vocal Techniques to handle technical pieces/songs, Michael Jackson had a Vocal Teacher till he died. Music Education is paramont, but it’s so sad that some people who do not know what a crotchet is, people who do not even have talent in the first place profit from music. All you need these days is not the talent, it’s having the money to go into the studio and drop a line, then the producer adds all the effects in the world to beautify the bad voice and the music is done. All music in the world can be notated for future generation but lack of musical knowledge will make your work die with you. Handel of the 17th century is still relevant today, with his song Hallelujah chorus sung all over the world because it was penned down. How many music of today music can last for 300 years? It’s a big question we need to ponder over. Music is as vast as Law and Medicine, you can study music up to PhD level and diversify to what ever genre you chose to explore”

It remains to be seen if Nigerians will agree with him.

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‘Seun Oluwabusuyi admits that the Study of Music is very expensive, but advised those who have come along way to attend regular conventions and master classes, according to him, things are changing in the world musically and musicians need to be at par with the best global practice and regular training is required to keep up to date in the profession.

‘Seun Oluwabusuyi has acquired several certificates in Music, they include; Theory of Music Grade 5 in 1998, Clarinet Grade 8 with distinction from MUSON in 2004 and from the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music, London (ABRSM), Theory of Music Grade 8 in 2004, Clarinet Grade 8 in 2005, Dip.ABRSM and Licentiate in Clarinet Performance in 2008 & 2009 respectively, Grade 8 in Practical Musicianship and Saxophone Performance both in June 2011, the later with distinction, Dip.ABRSM in Saxophone Performance in 2012 and Bachelor of Arts in Music from Lagos State University in 2014.

‘Seun had several master classes under international music scholars like Professors Ralph Wilder & Paul Konye both from the United States; Linlin Pan from China; Thomas Kanitz from Germany, Dr. Sotiris Papadopoulus from Greece, whose Spice Band he performed with over a period of years.

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Other bands and music groups he performed or still performs with are; The SR orchestra of the elder statesman, Late Elder Steve Rhodes, Preachers Band, Muson Symphony Orchestra, Classicafricano Music (which he created and is a principal partner), etc. He also released his debut album titled “Stepping Out In Style” in 2007, produced by ‘Seun Owoaje.

He has worked at the Mountain Of Fire And Miracles headquarters under the General Overseer Dr. D K Olukoya as Music Director of the Youth Choir with over 300 members between 2000 & 2007 and the Men’s Choir with over 200 members from 2009 till 2011.

A seasoned Saxophonist, ‘Seun recently released a Single titled “Prayer” for which he shot the video amidst glitz and glamour.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your hands together for this Musician, a Clarinetist, Saxophonist and Teacher OLUWASEUN OLUWABUSUYI

I CELEBRATE YOU TODAY!

CELEBRATING NIGERIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC GREATS – DAVID ETIM

ARTISTE OF THE WEEK – DAVID ETIM

EeeeTIM!!! (Sneezing)……
That’s how I address this young man whenever I see him.
Blame it on the sound of his name that sounds like a person sneezing, or say I’m good at making a mountain out of a mole hill with people’s names and I’ll agree.

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I first met David Etim so many years ago whilst he was auditioning to study music at the Muson School of Music. Well, he wowed the Violin Teacher, Pa Godfrey Amoah who was so impressed with his fine tone and dexterity on the Violin.
Of course David got admitted to study music at the Muson School of Music, arguably Nigeria’s Best Music Institution.

A native of Udukpanni in Cross Rivers State, born in Kaduna and grew up in Lagos, David started with the Harmonica, way back in secondary school.
His first music class started in at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry, (MFM), Where he fell in love with the violin and then the harmonica became history.

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He Had his first music class in 2009 under the tutelage of Mr. Demola Adejayan, who taught him how to play the violin.

A fine violinist indeed, David talks about the current generation of young and vibrant Nigerian Violinists currently scattered around the country and making waves in Classical/Opera, Art and Popular Music at the moment.

“I love the zeal young Nigerian violinist have towards art music but most of them fail to understand that there’s more to being a violinist. It takes patience, discipline and determination to be a unique violinist. Most of us were privileged to study music at Muson and there, we were able to have a one on one tutorial with music professors. So, I can proudly say we have a strong foundation in this art”

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David in a studio session with Vincent Haastrup

For a young and upcoming Violinist, David Etim has made a name for himself in the Music Industry, he’s a member of the Perfect 4th String quartet, DKO Orchestra, Abuja Philharmonic Orchestra and Muson  Symphony Orchestra.

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He has also worked with notable Local and International musicians, some of which include; Keziah Jones, Nneka, Tuface, MI, Omawunmi, Kore, Ebenezer Obey, Kaline, Waje, Eric Hasanni, Niyola and Asa to mention a few. He’s also appeared in several music videos of A list Musicians like Onyeka Onwenu in the peace song that involved major Nigerian artistes, Timi Dakolo’s song for Nigeria among others.

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David poses with Nneka and Jimmy Jat.

David has taken part in Opera concerts and Festivals both in Nigeria, South Africa and Europe, where he worked with some notable Orchestra Conductors; Arjen tien, Holland, Daniel Roland, Professor of Music, Royal School of Music London, Patrick Godwin, concert master of Capetown Philharmonic Orchestra etc.

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David playing with an Orchestra in Europe

With just Six years experience as a Violinist, David has acquired a great technique on his instrument, he owes it to his former teacher.

“My experience with Pa Godfrey Amoah was awesome. I can remember how he used to stop me every six seconds just to check my notes. It wasn’t easy for me because i was still getting used to techniques. He made me understand that Violinist build their notes, he was a really good teacher, it was a rare privilege to have studied under him. I miss my first and only Ghanian teacher”

He has also performed at various events home and abroad and also worked with notable brands; Lagos Jazz Festival 2012 and 2015, Nigeria’s Independence Concert, Ajumogobia Foundation Concert, Stellenbosch International Chamber Music Festival in Cape Town, South Africa.
Heineken, Airtel, Tinsel, Africa magic, Johnny walker, Chevron board of trustees, First Bank, UBA, Zenith Bank, Fidelity Bank, Unilever plc, Little saint orphanage and a myriad of others.

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David hopes to create an International Standard in Orchestral Music in Nigeria and to deliver top notch music events and festivals.
He hopes to empower Nigerian youths to stay away from crime by training them to become world class string instrumentalists. For David, music can occupy their minds and reduce the risk of juvenile delinquencies.
A tall dream you would say, but it is achievable.

And finally he hopes to create a good standard of film music for the Nollywood Movie Industry.

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Asides of playing the Violin, not many people know that David is also a Singer and a member of an acapella group.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please, a rousing ovation for this young dynamic Violinist, Singer, Teacher and Musician;

DAVID ETIM

I CELEBRATE YOU TODAY.

EeeeeeTim!!!!
I had to sneeze again……

CELEBRATING NIGERIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC GREATS – JOHNPAUL IKECHUKWU OCHEI

ARTISTE OF THE WEEK – JOHNPAUL IKECHUKWU OCHEI

A lot of people do not think he’s the ideal Baritone, but of all Nigerian Baritone singers in the country at the moment and yet to receive standard Vocal Training, his technique is next to none. With quite an impressive range, and a comic character on stage, he is a delight to watch.

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           JohnPaul Ikechukwu Ochei

Born JohnPaul Ikechukwu Ochei, Singing was first like a hobby as a kid. He later joined the choir of St Anthony’s Catholic Church Surulere, where he had his first training in the theory of music and voice training by his Choirmaster Irene Osuji, and later her husband Gregory Osuji.
He was formally introduced to professional singing by his friend Christie Okosun who took interest in his budding talent, when she took him to join the Laz Ekwueme Chorale and Muson Festival Choir, without any experience or knowledge of sight singing.

JohnPaul recounts that he was auditioned by Prof. Laz Ekwueme himself, during the male voices rehearsal. He was asked to sing a line or two, to check his intonation. Three male singers attended rehearsal for the first time on that day and were all tested. According to JohnPaul, Prof. Laz Ekwueme sent the other singers home and asked them never come back. JohnPaul was lucky to meet Prof’s standards, and so he was asked to stay and sing.
It would interest you to know that JohnPaul started his singing career as a Tenor Singer. He sang the second Tenor part in that rehearsal.

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Passion has been the driving force for JohnPaul. Even as a student of law at the University of Benin, he was doing more Music than Law.

“A lot of the things I learned in music, I never struggled to learn them, and a lot of things I know in music today, I was never taught. It just happens in me, more like I once lived like a music prodigy in my past life. So, I basically know it’s God’s given talent in me.
I studied music because for me, music is my life. I don’t think I’ll survive or be patient if I were in a different profession.  it is more of what I  would passionately pursue, not minding the pain and struggles in it, but still smile and be  fulfilled”

Like every other young Nigerian, JohnPaul was never allowed to study Music by his parents, especially his father. He had to finish his studies in Law, just to please him, before he could pursue what he was truly passionate about.

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                JohnPaul in performance

A member of Nigeria’s Finest and foremost Baritone group; The Three Baritones, JohnPaul shares his experience having sung with the group over the years;

“The Three Baritones are more than up to standard and it’s so unique because there’s none like it in Nigeria today. Its also unique cause you’ll ask how we’re able to do the harmonies and not sound too dark or boring; as most people would describe the Baritone Voice, compared to the Tenors or Sopranos who would cry out bright high notes. Whenever you listen to the Three Baritones, you always sense the fourth man between, each time we perform at events, people always say that. The blend of our voices are so rich and powerful and the good thing is we all are blessed with wide ranges. I believe we will go places with the right support, publicity and management. What people do not understand is that the range of a Baritone singer lies between the bass voice and the Tenor voice. A Baritone singer can sing as low and also sing as high. So you get double dose in a single performance; resonating low notes and ringing high notes. Basically, I would say the Three Baritones are unique, because it’s a group made up of three most experienced Baritone Singers in Nigeria currently, who are friends with different temperament, vocal quality and the best as far as the Baritone Voice is concerned in this country, Nigeria”.

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        The Three Baritones in a rehearsal

A native of Issele Uku in aniotcha North area of Delta state, JohnPaul talks about the growth and development of Choral Music in Nigeria.

“We’re doing quite well, but not as good. Chorale music is growing stronger but in the area of soloists, There’s a lot we still have to establish. Most times, Conductors are sentimental, no proper auditions or placement of parts in a cast for a Musical or an Opera. So much partiality, and indiscipline.
Presently, I’m working on an Opera with a bunch of super talented guys, like Jo Oparamanuike whom I call Don Josi, Ifeoma Anieze, to mention a few, but one person that seems to catch my attention is Genevieve Ogu. Sometimes I sit and wonder. The uniqueness of her voice, the passion and discipline, and she is just starting. Plus she’s quite young, I can’t wait to hear her in a space of two years”

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JohnPaul also decries the lack of qualified Vocal Teachers in Nigerian Universities and strongly advised that aspiring Operatic/Classical singers attend Conservatories rather than Nigerian Universities.

He’s been working on an album and urges his fans to watch out for it.

JohnPaul is the Choirmaster of his Church and has helped train so many young singers who have participated and won the Muson Talent Singing Competition. He is also a Voice Teacher at the Muson Basic School.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you; JOHNPAUL IKECHUKWU OCHEI

I CELEBRATE YOU TODAY! 

 

Ifediora, Obinna Maurice
(Baritone)

30 Adenrele Street,
Egbeda Akowonjo,
Lagos, Nigeria.
(±234) 708-708-6669
(+234) 706-338-3135

dasuGarboi@yahoo.com
obislim.baritone@yahoo.com

HOURS WITH THE MASTERS

GOODY BAMA CHORALE WINS MAIDEN EDITION, ARTISTES THRILL THE AUDIENCE, AS YEARLY EVENT KICKS OFF ON A COMMENDABLE NOTE.

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The Hours With The Masters Choral Competition may have come and gone, but the diminutive success recorded by the event will remain indelible in the hearts of many, especially those who graced the epoch making event.

Did I hear you say little drops of water make a mighty ocean? Well yes, those little drops will form a great sea soon enough and by the time it’s done, we shall be careful not to despise our humble beginning, for what we see now, is infinitesimal, compared to what we shall achieve. Yes! we can achieve even greater than interkultur, if we set our minds to it.

Let me Start by telling you about the Hours With The Masters Choral Competition and Art Exhibition. The idea behind the event is to further develop chorale excellence in Nigeria and beyond, whilst promoting arts and culture.

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To further raise the quality of Choral Music and to foster international peace and Harmony and in the long run, use the competition to strategically position Nigeria as an international Choral Music force and destination. It is possible to bring the whole world to Nigeria every year, to witness the best of Choral Music.

The event took place at the Main Auditorium of the University of Lagos and even though the venue was the best for such events, the same cannot be said of the location, which proved to be against us, as many concert goers who were willing to attend frowned at the choice of the location.
Let me clearly point out, that a better location will be chosen for the next edition.

The intention was to have Choral groups from Ghana, Togo, Benin Republic and other neighboring African Countries but as you know, the Corporate bodies in Nigeria will not sponsor you if you’re not a big brand. How then can the cub become a Lion? The organisers had to settle for Choirs around Lagos. Such was the frustration caused by lack of funds, which paid off for the defeat of the tag “International”. But we can look back and smile at the courage put in, to even dare to start an “International” Choral Competition.
We will not fail to appreciate the efforts of our fathers and mentors in the field, Sir ‘Emeka Nwokedi, Mr David Aina and Revd. Yemi Akinpelu, Master musicians whom as the saying goes, have sat down on a small stool and have used their elderly eyes to see the future that we wouldn’t have been able to see even if we climbed the highest mountain. They have written their names in the sands of time by deciding to be judges of the event.

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The Judges scrutinizing and collating results

The participating groups were; Goody Bama Chorale, Wazobia Voices, The Music Makers, Lagos Philharmonic Chorale, Zion Chamber Chorale and Nun Danket Chorale.

Goody Bama Chorale came first at the Competition, winning the Gold Diploma, while The Music Makers and Zion Chamber Chorale emerged Winners of the Silver and Bronze Diplomas respectively.

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Goody Bama Chorale, winners of the Hours With The Masters Choral Competition

I’ll like to commend the bravery of The Lagos Philharmonic Chorale, Nun Danket Chorale and Wazobia Voices for daring to embark on what proved to be a “herculean” task. I wish them better luck next time, as I call upon their Music Directors to upgrade themselves in the art of Choral directing and Choral training, in terms of aesthetics, volume, vocal blend and stage mannerisms. I thought it was quite ludicrous to see a conductor hold his copy on his left hand while he conducted with the other.

There were other side attractions at the event as Trombonist and Tenor Singer, Benson Utomi otherwise known as ‘Cigar’ by his teaming fans, alongside Fred ‘Duke’ Asuquo thrilled the audience with a rendition of the popular Italian Aria ‘O Sole Mio’.

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Benson Utomi and Fred ‘Duke’ Asuquo performing ‘O Sole Mio’

Iwe Kiko crooner, ‘Ranti Ihinmoya also sang the Nigerian National Anthem and then gave a performance of her latest single.

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‘Ranti performing ‘Iwe Kiko’

One of the stand out performances of the event was that of the Compere, Alex Osho. The versatile thespian and Professional events MC did a fantastic job, his eloquence and delivery was flawless. Alaba Akinselure also showed the quality of his musicianship as his Choir gave a good account of themselves with such a pleasant sound.

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The Lagos City Chorale proved yet  again why they are Nigeria’s most successful Choir on the international Choral Music scene with over 12 Gold and Silver Medals to show for it. They gave another breath taking performance to a resounding ovation by the audience.

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An old African saying goes; “May your road be rough” this saying implies that nothing good comes easy.
The Hours With The Masters Choral Competition has started small, in the next edition, there will be great improvements. The future is indeed bright.

A very big Thank You to Chika and Uwi of Wazobia TV, who didn’t seek for a bribe to help this vision come to fruition. We also appreciate Cool TV and LTV for the media support.

I implore stakeholders in the Nigerian Classical/Choral Music scene, as well as the Government, Corporate bodies and well meaning Nigerians to support this dream. If it reaches greater heights in the future, then the dream of putting Nigeria on the world map through Choral Music, rebranding and Making Nigeria a force to reckon with in world Choral Music would have been achieved.

K’anyi jikota nu!!

Ndewo Nu O!

Ifediora, Obinna Maurice
(Baritone)

30 Adenrele Street,
Egbeda Akowonjo,
Lagos, Nigeria.
(±234) 708-708-6669
(+234) 706-338-3135

dasuGarboi@yahoo.com
obislim.baritone@yahoo.com

CELEBRATING NIGERIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC GREATS – ADEMOLA ADEJAYAN

ARTISTE OF THE WEEK – ADEMOLA ADEJAYAN

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                           DANISOG

When I started out Professionally as a Singer in 2000, there weren’t too many young people my age who were singing at the time, but from year 2000 – 2004 emerged so many young String players and other instrumentalists who had either just started their careers or were on the brink of it. Names like Ernest Bisong, Kehinde Kpokpogbe, Femi Eniolorunda, Babatunde Adedotun, Adejayan Ademola and Oyeyemi Gbenga who had just picked up the French horn at that time, to mention a few. It was a good season to kick-start our careers in Music as those were the period we had the opportunity to perform works of high standards, even though some of us were still trying to find our feet; Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Gabriel Faure and Mozart’s Requiem among other finger and jaw breaking pieces both with the Muson Symphony Orchestra/Lagos Chamber Orchestra and City Chorale/Muson Choirs of old.

Today, boys are now men and have moved onto greater heights musically.

The artistes of this week Ademola Adejayan aka Danisog, has come a long way and has carved a niche for himself. The diminutive yet mighty Violinist has also produced outstanding Violinist who are making waves today in the Classical Music scene.

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A native of Ondo state, ‘Demola as he is popularly known was persuaded by his elder brother ‘Shola “Suppy” Adejayan, also a great Pianist, to learn the Violin. ‘Demola was referred to ‘Dele Olumide who fixed his first borrowed violin and also introduced him to Classical Violin.

‘Demola played with the Muson Symphony Orchestra for some years and he recounts a good experience having played alongside other renowned Instrumentalists;

“Those years greatly improved me as a violinist. Playing under the baton of Maestro Thomas Kanitz increased my appreciation for the little details we easily overlook in classical music. It aided my performance as an orchestra Violinist in terms of listening, interpretation, blend and volume”

‘Demola is one among very few Classical Musicians who are able to do other genres of Music, according to him, he never wanted to be boxed into one genre of music.

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A graduate of Microbiology with a Distinction from Yaba College of Technology, ‘Demola has also acquired several certificates in Music, passing them in flying colours. He is currently in the USA, where he’s wrapping up studies in Molecular Genetics (Graduate school).

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Recently, he released two covers; Hotline Bling by Drake and Shakiti Bobo by Olamide and is set to drop an EP Album along with his personal compositions.

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To download audio/video files, click links below.

Hotline Bling AUDIO,                               http://9jabaze.com/music/view/42024573             
https://my.notjustok.com/track/download/id/70773 
VIDEO 
https://free9jamusic.net/2016/02/video-demola-hotline-bling-by-drake-violin-cover/ 

SHAKITI BOBO

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Danisog is a Producer, Performer, Song Writer and Teacher.
Most of the best new generation Violinists in Nigeria are products of this great man. Such young, vibrant and fantastic Violinists like; Vincent Haastrup, David Etim, Nduka , Theophilus, Charles David, Segun Akinduro, Etakan Israel, Agbozie Daniel, Damilola Olorunfunmi among others.

Please put your hands together for this dynamic young man DEMOLA “DANISOG” ADEJAYAN

I CELEBRATE YOU TODAY!

Ifediora, Obinna Maurice
(Baritone)

30 Adenrele Street,
Egbeda Akowonjo,
Lagos, Nigeria.
(±234) 708-708-6669
(+234) 706-338-3135

dasuGarboi@yahoo.com
obislim.baritone@yahoo.com

CELEBRATING NIGERIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC GREATS – SODIENYE O’MAILEY

ARTISTE OF THE WEEK – SODIENYE O’MAILEY

Last week on KORALTIMES we took you to the UK, where we celebrated Romanian-Nigerian pianist, Rebeca Omordia. We are back home this week and this time, join us for a trip to where I call; “THE LAND OF TENORS”.

If you’re a Nigerian Classical/Opera Musician or an ardent follower of the genre, then you should already know where I’m talking about. It’s the City of Port Harcourt. The Niger-Delta state boasts of fine Tenor Singers like Sodienye O’Mailey, Precious Omuku and Timipa Lagemo, also Veteran Baritone, Otonte Ekimiete, Ibifiri Olungwe – Soprano, Hope Thomas also a Soprano among others. I particularly like the city because it has more Tenors than any other parts, which is why I have decided to call it “THE LAND OF TENORS”.

The artiste of this week is Veteran Tenor singer, Sodienye O’Mailey, who has paid his dues as a Classical Singer in Port Harcourt. He has become a big role model to young singers in the oil rich city.

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               Tenore – Sodienye O’Mailey

A native of Calabar – Henshaw Town and partly from Bonny, Rivers State his maternal home, Sodienye grew up in Port Harcourt and has lived there all his life. He started singing in 1988 at the age of 12, Sodienye used to enjoy his younger ones whilst they sing at home, so he had to join them for choir practice at St Cyprian’s Anglican church, hospital road, Port Harcourt, since he was on holidays from school, back then.

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A self trained Singer, Sodienye had the opportunity to meet the late Prof. Adam Fiberesima, in 1994. Professor Fiberesima who was interested in his Vocal Prowess then gave him some tutorials, Sodienye also took some courses in Singing and also read lots of books.

As a Mentor to lots of young Singers in the PH City, Sodienye admits that singers in that region lack basic training in singing, even though there are raw talents dispersed everywhere in the art. He plans to help train and retrain singers with the help of Professional Vocal Trainers in the country.

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Sodienye in performance with a young and upcoming Soprano singer.

Sodienye hopes that Classical/Opera artistes and musicians in Port Harcourt will begin to study the art. He calls for singers to learn the basics of both theory and singing. He also called on senior colleagues to carry the upcoming singers along.

He has Performed at many big events across the country, some of which include, NLNG legendary awards and other NLNG events, Bank of the Year Awards. He’s been awarded the most outstanding soloist in Rivers State at the  Rivifest choral competition and has also performed at several Federal Government Functions, Burial ceremony of late Pa Jonathan, father to the former President, Chieftaincy title of the wife of the former President (Patience Jonathan), Corporate affairs summit hosted by the former President (GEJ), Federal Govt financial summit.

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Sodienye featuring at a Radio Rivers event.

Sodienye O’Mailey is a philanthropist having hosted several Charity concerts for the less privileged, giving out food items and other valuable materials. He is a Youth Ambassador for peace of the United Nations.

Ladies and gentlemen, an applause for the Veteran, SODIENYE O’MAILEY

I CELEBRATE YOU TODAY.

Ifediora, Obinna Maurice
(Baritone)

30 Adenrele Street,
Egbeda Akowonjo,
Lagos, Nigeria.
(±234) 708-708-6669
(+234) 706-338-3135

dasuGarboi@yahoo.com
obislim.baritone@yahoo.com

CELEBRATING NIGERIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC GREATS – REBECA OMORDIA

ARTISTE OF THE WEEK – Rebeca Omordia

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I’m not sure the artiste of this week knew she’ll later become a professional concert pianist, looking at how it all started.
Initially her mother bought a piano so she can at least learn how to play an instrument and then play it in church. Even though she wasn’t having any lessons at the time, she discovered that she really enjoyed the sound of the keys and gradually, she started improvising, making her own tunes.

When time came to start school, little Rebeca told her parents she wanted to be a pianist and wanted to go to the specialist music school in town instead of the local school. Her parents had a completely different plan for her. Like every other African father, Rebeca’s dad wanted her to follow in his footsteps and become a doctor, on the other hand, her mother wasn’t sure what she was going to turn into as she was a very energetic child and didn’t have patience for anything.

But they discovered that practising was the only thing that kept her busy for hours so they supported what at first seemed to be a hobby. Sooner than later, Rebeca’s piano teacher realised she was very talented and sent her to competitions which she won from the very first year. From then on, she appeared on National Television, playing the piano.

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Rebeca Omordia was born in Romania to a Romanian mother and Nigerian father, call her a Nigerian-Romanian and that will suffice.
Mr Omordia who hails from Delta State Nigeria, went to Romania to study medicine and there he met Rebeca’s mother a native of Craiova in Romania and they got married.
People say you claim your father’s country but Rebeca claims both, due to the influence of both countries on her upbringing.

According to Rebeca, the good thing about Europe is that people first listen to what you play then they think of where you come from. The concert organisers always introduce her as a Nigerian – Romanian or Romanian – Nigerian pianist which makes it very interesting for the audience because of the mixture of two completely different cultures. For her, it’s really great to claim both countries, and she’s really proud of it.

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Here, Rebeca speaks of Nigerian Classical Music.

“Nigerian Classical Music has been quite a recent discovery for me. I say recent as I discovered most of the Nigerian Classical composers in 2008.. Yes, shame it took that long but perhaps it was because not enough musicians have made these works known to the Western world, something I’m working on at the moment in partnership with the Nigeria High Commission in London. I already have Nigerian classical works in my repertoire – I love Ayo Bankole’s Piano Sonata no 2 or Akin Euba’s Pictures from Oyo Calabashes or Joshua Uzoigwe’s Nigerian Dances. I’ve performed these pieces a number of times in London and also in the United States in 2013 at the African & Afro American Music Festival in St Louis where the director of the festival, Fred Onovwerosuoke is a Nigerian composer. In 2013 I commissioned a piano work from him “5 Kaleidoscopes” . The music is great – the composers use same technique of writing as the Western Classical composers but their melodies and rhythms come from the traditional Nigerian folk music. This is something new to the Western world and the audience in the UK have been very open and receptive to it and I think it’s awesome. I believe more Nigerian Classical Musicians should include works by Indigenous composers in their repertoire and this way the Western audience will get used to the music and will embrace it as well as they embrace Mozart or Beethoven”

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Rebeca Omordia also recognised the works of some Nigerian Classical Singers and didn’t fail to throw in words of encouragement.

“I was even reading in the news this morning about Ola Onabule – he is a jazz singer becoming more and more famous, currently touring Europe to great acclaim. There is also soprano Omo Bello, one of the most celebrated Nigerian Classical Singers currently making waves in Paris and Tenor Joe Oparamanuike who was nominated for Global Opera Music Award and of course rising stars Soprano Agatha Onyinye Ibeazor and Baritone Obinna Ifediora”

In 2006 Rebeca Omordia received a Bachelors Degree from National Music University in Bucharest, Romania, where she studied Piano with the renowned Pianist and Professor Dana Borsan, she then received a full scholarship at Birmingham Conservatoire in the UK where she received an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Piano Performance in 2009 on the highest course in the University which is also a pre-doctoral degree. In 2010 she received the Ofenheim full scholarship at Trinity College in London where she gained a Postgraduate degree in performance.

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Yesterday, the of 14th February 2016, Rebeca performed at Blackheath Halls with the renowned cellist Jiaxin Lloyd Webber, the wife of the renowned British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber. She is a regular performer along Europe.

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As much as Rebeca thinks Nigerian Classical Musicians are doing very well, she would love to see her people do better, here she says;

“Courage! More courage to claim their own country and to make known to the Western world their heritage – there’s so much music, so much art, so much culture in Nigeria that the Western world knows nothing about”

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As a Nigerian Classical Musician, one thing makes me happy, the rate at which we are making waves globally. It may interest you to know that our own Agatha Onyinye Ibeazor made her American debut at the Carnegie Hall this past weekend. A lot more will follow this year, Nigerians are on the move.

Having said that, please put your hands for our very own Pianist.

REBECA OMORDIA

I CELEBRATE YOU TODAY.

Ifediora, Obinna Maurice
(Baritone)

30 Adenrele Street,
Egbeda Akowonjo,
Lagos, Nigeria.
(±234) 708-708-6669
(+234) 706-338-3135

dasuGarboi@yahoo.com
obislim.baritone@yahoo.com

CELEBRATING NIGERIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC GREATS – HRH IGWE PROF. LAZ EKWUEME

ARTISTE OF THE WEEK – HRH IGWE PROF. LAZ EKWUEME

The online media was agog this past week, as everyone celebrated the Nigerian thespian, writer and music icon as he turned 80.
It’s time for KORALTIMES to do same, but before anything else, I must take out time to say some few personal things about this man.

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There are many funny stories that make me remember him.
As a little boy, I remember always disturbing my father “daddy let’s go and see Prof” that was because on our way back, the trunk of my dad’s ‘tuke tuke’ Peugeot 305 would be packed full with Crabs, so I was sure of eating Crabs the whole week.
I remember the very funny Igbo jokes he used to crack with my dad as he came to receive us from the car each time we visited him at his quarters in UNILAG, my dad was always welcomed to his house with hilarious jokes. “Mike” (my dad) as he fondly called him, was also his Mechanic back then, since he owned a Peugeot car which my dad specialized in.

Now let me confess!
I used to pray his car develops a fault, that way, my dad would go to fix it. On several occasions, daddy didn’t know how I sneaked into the car, half way into the journey, I’ll reveal myself from my regular hiding spot behind the driver’s sit and we’ll both laugh so loud about it. I was so skinny as a child, so I fit into that small space perfectly, there was no way dad would have noticed.

I will never forget that OFOMA Bread Cake advert, that reigned in the East in the 90’s. My dad and his apprentice, Paul Asinogwu along with Prof himself, starred in it. Oh, how I jumped each time that advert was aired.

This last confession will blow your mind………….
But I won’t tell you, you’ll have to pay me to hear it, as an Nnewi man wey I be.

In all, I saw a very humble man while I was growing up. Always smiling, my dad would ask him questions upon questions about music and he’ll answer them with patience. A man who respects you, no matter your status in life.

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Igwe Professor Lazarus Edward Nnanyelu Ekwueme, ‘Eze Ijikala II – Ozioko’ Igwe Oko, was born on January 28, 1936 in Oko, Anambra State . He attended Government College, Umuahia for secondary education and the Royal College of Music, London, where he majored in composition and was under the direction of Gordon Jacob. In London, he earned a total of 10 diplomas in music, Speech and Drama and he also obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Durham. In 1962, he obtained the professional teaching diploma, Licentiate of the Guildhall School of Music.

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Prof. as a handsome young man, in his school days.

From 1960-1964, while in Britain, he embraced the theatre, and was an active actor in African films produced by the African Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation. He left Britain in 1964, and returned to Nigeria, where he took up a faculty position at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. As a lecturer of Music composition, Theory, History, Singing and Conducting, he was an important member in the pioneering Nigerian music department at Nsukka, which was the first to award music degrees in the country. He also gave considerable attention to choral music, organizing the University of Nigeria Choral Society, a group of foreign and local students who performed regularly in Nsukka.

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Prof. In performance with the Laz Ekwueme Chorale, as he takes the solo

In 1966, he went abroad to obtain a post graduate degree in Music Theory from Yale University. He also taught at the college and a few other colleges in America. While at Yale, he founded the New Haven International Chorus. In 1974, he returned to Nigeria, this time, he was given a position by Jacob Ade Ajayi at the newly created department of music, at the University of Lagos, and also as a research fellow at the Center for Cultural Studies. It was while in Lagos, he formed the Laz Ekwueme National Chorale. A highly respected African choral group. Overtime with experience in musical experimentation, he became one of the few early Nigerian composers to produce a successful musical syncretism of African choral works using western forms and techniques with the result generating wide appeal among Africans, and little difficulties or distortion in conveying meaning of the words being song. For his effort in music composition and conducting, he was made the coordinator of the Nigerian National Choir at the Black Arts Festival, Festac 77. 

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As a music scholar, he explored distinctive indigenous African rhythm and melody in some songs of the New world and American music, a theme that was one of the vocal points of his research efforts. As a researcher, he spent time studying musical patterns of Africans, Caribbeans and African Americans. He noticed the similarities in ways in which African Americans in Louisiana sing songs and Africans in Dahomey. Also, the importance and employment of music in cardinal events in the lives of Africans and those in diaspora is a theme prevalent in many of his research efforts.

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Several times i discussed Prof’s Tenor Voice with Jude Nwankwo and Danlami Baba. I used to compare his voice to that of Plácido Domingo. Prof sounded too good, you’ll never tell it’s a Nigerian singing. His voice was strong, piercing, loud, resonating and had a very fine tone color, texture and great pitch. I used to think that Prof could match José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti voice for voice, on a very good day. I watched him perform Mendelssohn’s Elijah and several other works in the 90’s and compared his voice with the above mentioned. I found only little difference; the tone color of an African voice to that of an European voice.

His Masters Degree Project Work Missa Africana still remains a very difficult work for Nigerian Choirs to perform. Only few have been brave enough to dare.
It would interest you to know that he also has black belt in Karate.

A musicologist, Thespian, Composer, Singer, Performer and writer of numerous books and articles, please stand up for the first Professor of Music in Nigeria;
Igwe Professor Lazarus Edward Nnanyelu Ekwueme ‘Eze Ijikala II – Ozioko’ Igwe Oko

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I CELEBRATE YOU TODAY!

Ifediora, Obinna Maurice
(Baritone)

30 Adenrele Street,
Egbeda Akowonjo,
Lagos, Nigeria.
(±234) 708-708-6669
(+234) 706-338-3135

dasuGarboi@yahoo.com
obislim.baritone@yahoo.com

CELEBRATING NIGERIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC GREATS – AINA OLONADE

ARTISTE OF THE WEEK – AINA OLONADE

If as a Pianist you get the privilege to study under a Virtuoso Pianist who attended same Conservatoire as Sergei Rachmaninoff and was taught by another Virtuoso who attended the same Conservatoire and was a student of Sergei Rachmaninoff, then it means you come from a lineage of Piano wizards, or better said in our local parlance “Piano Winch”.
That is the privilege that several students who learned under Russian Pianist Maria Aseeva will cherish for the rest of their lives. It’s more like you acquired a “Rachmaninoff Piano gene” of some sort, if there’s anything like that. Jokes apart, whenever I hear Pianists who passed through Maria Aseeva, I hear Rachmaninoff in their playing, in terms of technique and tone.

The artiste of this week is one of those who posses these ‘Pianistic’ traits. I introduce to you; Aina Oladimeji Olonade.

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Aina holding unto his teacher Maria Aseeva

A native of Igbore, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Aina began to develop interest in music when he was 10 years old. He would sneak out of the children’s church (Sunday School) to watch the organist at his home church play. He told his parents about his love for music, and they enrolled him at the Premier Basic Music school in Abeokuta, under the tutelage of Mr Lekan Taiwo.

In 2004, Aina gained admission into The Lagos State University, to study computer science. At his final year, he decided to study Music. Although he graduated with a degree in computer science, he abandoned that career for the one he loved the most; Music.

Aina later gained admission to study Music at the Muson School of Music, majoring in Piano Performance. He was a member of the “30 Wizards” set of 2008, that had some of the most prolific musicians to ever graduate from the revered institution. Lanre Kunnuji – Trumpet, Tobi Otekayi – Piano, Olamide Timothy – Bass, Tosin Ajayi – Piano, Philip Uzor – Guitar and Aina Olonade among other Virtuoso Musicians who are making waves with music, in South Africa, Europe and America.

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Aina as a student at the Muson School of Music

KORALTIMES had a chat with Aina, as he recounted memories of his studies under Maria Aseeva’s tutelage.

“It was a terrific experience to learn under Maria Asseva. She made me look beyond notes. She was very clear about the music she taught, being from Russia and a very detailed musician too, she explained the musical component of the piece and guided me on how to make it sound original. She always emphasized on playing the actually timbre of sound on the Piano”

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Aina in his first year recital, as Maria watches him closely from the left

As an African Pianist studying in America and confined to playing several Piano Concertos and Sonatas of Western composers, Aina who is proud of Nigeria, cannot boast of lots of Piano pieces by Nigerian composers, here he calls for composers to begin to explore our rich harmony, complex rhythm, and Melody.

“I am happy to tell anyone I meet here in America that I am from Nigeria, by doing that, I am passing a message. I have plans of performing African music, most especially Nigerian.  I try so much to perform African/Nigeria music here and people always appreciate it, but the problem is, I don’t have lots of our compositions to perform. I hope we can improve on our African melody, a lot of today’s composition I listen to has been greatly influenced by the western melody. We have to make proper use of our own style of instrumentation, harmony, melodic leaps and incorporate some of our local instruments into the Orchestra, to make our music genuine and authentic. Also, we need to be more original. We need to go back to those folk tunes from our villages and start making good use of them. Imagine an Orchestration of a folk tune or an arrangement of a folk tune into a Sonata for Piano. That would turn the world on Nigeria’s path musically. Kenny Oretimehin is doing well on that, Ayo Ajayi is reflecting on it too, we need more”

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Aina accompanying the University of Central Missouri Choir in Concert

Aina Olonade was the Music Director of St Jude’s Church, Ebute Meta, Lagos from 2011-2013. He was greatly influenced by Nigerian Pianists Bolaji Omotayo and Korede Omopeloye, both of whom also passed through Maria Aseeva.

He is currently studying the Piano under Mia Hynes at The University of Central Missouri in the USA.

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Aina, very obvious in this picture for his skin colour

Waiting to take the world by storm in Piano playing?
You might not be wrong to assume that.

Please put your hands together for;
AINA OLONADE

I CELEBRATE YOU TODAY!

Ifediora, Obinna Maurice
(Baritone)

30 Adenrele Street,
Egbeda Akowonjo,
Lagos, Nigeria.
(±234) 708-708-6669
(+234) 706-338-3135

dasuGarboi@yahoo.com
obislim.baritone@yahoo.com

Showcasing the Best of Nigerian Classical Musicians to the World.