Afropop singer, Sean Dampte, who recently dropped a single entitled: ‘Adura’, which is increasingly gaining a lot of airplay in and outside the country, in this interview by MegaIcon, talks about his music career and why he recorded the track ‘Adura’. Excerpts:
- What got you into music in the first place?
I have been in music so long that I cannot say particularly why I am into music other than it gives me joy and fulfilment to be part of the culture. I guess I can confidently say it must be the love for music itself.
- The brand Sean Dampte is gathering great momentum in the music scenes, especially in the UK and Nigeria. How do you feel about that?
I am humbled to say the least but in all honesty there is still much work to be done. I am grateful to my team, friends, family, Awoodahites and everyone that is part of this journey.
How did you start and push the brand to this applauding level?
Like I said earlier, I am humbled to see how far we have come. The most important thing for me and for everyone for that matter is the resilience that you possess. I started by believing in myself and ability and over time, loads of people started to see I would not be going anywhere and began to take the brand Sean Dampte serious. It’s been a long journey, but we are thankful.
- How would you describe the music that you typically create?
I like to call what I do Afro-Calypso but ultimately it is part and parcel of the AfroPop vibe with loads of other cultures present.
How does your work comment on current happenings in the social and political circles?
Yea it’s been and still a trying time overall and I cannot shy away from the happenings. With that said, that is one of my reasons for the single ‘Adura’ just to point out that only prayer can uplift us. And we must always continue to pray.
Your manager is white, while you are black. How do you feel given the recent uproar about racism against the black race?
Personally, I understand where and how the current uproar affects the psyches, however it is never about white versus black but rather about us, from a black background, being treated equally and respected.
I support the #BlackLivesMatter movement wholeheartedly and willingly believe in what we trying to achieve.
- Where and when do you get inspired to write your lyrics, inside the plane or while talking a walk?
Inspiration for me comes standard and I am actually grateful for my team. It happens anywhere and when that happens, you can bet am on to my team. We working always to get the best our to everyone. My key producers Joey Benks, JayOcean and Jomane have been fantastic. Sometimes 1 AM, 2 AM we are still up working across continents. Hahahaha
Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
I do sing in the shower but it’s never the same song. Although I have been singing Adura for the last couple of days and I am sure you know why. Very uplifting I find it.
- Most people believe nowadays artistes don’t undergo much stress to blow unlike the days when there was no internet or social media when musicians had to go from one town to another to perform. But now it seems easy as many music talents have blown via social media?
It is really difficult to comment on that but one cannot undervalue the effect of social media and technology as a whole. The truth is that the challenge is still there and more importantly it has opened up the opportunities for more talents to be able to showcase themselves and direct their musical career.
Where have you performed? Which artiste have you performed with?
I have performed at a host of events to say the least – But in the last two years I have been on stage with Wizkid at the YCee concert, Falz the Bahd Guy, Davido all in the United Kingdom, Kizz Daniel in Amsterdam to mention a few.
- Which is your favourite song to perform from your songs?
In truth, I enjoy performing to all of my songs at every opportunity I get. Considering I enjoy listening to good music. However, if it were to happen that I was put on the spot and had to perform one, I would most probably choose Marcelina – it’s a very different vibe that gives.
Which famous musicians do you admire?
There are loads of great artistes and musicians out there to say the least and that follows that I probably would admire a lot of them. But k
- What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
Hahahahahaha! Seriously …… that alone is enough to get one into more trouble wouldn’t you agree! Awoodahites are always right! Let’s just say that is it.
°What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Wow! I personally find every advice useful at all times. But what my dad always told me growing up was that talent in anything is never enough to excel – so you must work harder, pray harder and dream bigger!
- If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
That in itself would be a monumental task for one person to take upon him or herself. Hahahahaha, I would only want more to be done to protect the artistes and their investors really. No one likes their work to be infringed upon and no one likes to be cheated. So yea, protect all stakeholder rights as much as humanly possible.
- If you could go open a show for any artiste, who would it be?
Hahahahaha, I have been on stage with most Nigerian Artistes and all so maybe for me now, having to open up for Drake in this moment would do it.
- You once said in an interview that you almost killed yourself due to depression. How did you get over it?
It was a dark place to be in. And it’s not somewhere I like to visit. But one generally needs to keep on focusing on the good things and love for family. It is important to keep in contact with close family and friends and speak out. That works for me and hopeful it helps others do who struggle with it.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
I mean all my Awoodahites know how we do now! We plenty like stars! Life Money Happiness crew. We keep on keeping on. I love my Awoodahites and they love me too!
What’s next for you?
Yea it’s been an interesting year to say the least and following all the great reviews we have had for my hit single ‘Adura’ – I think it’s time I let people into my world and so will be dropping my Sophomore EP on August 21 titled “Awoodah Rising: Man Like Sean Dampte”
Make sure you look out for it!
‘Juju music is still active’, says Toye Ajagun’
Far-famed veteran musician, Uncle Toye Ajagun has revealed that Juju music in Nigeria is not dead, maintaining that it is still potent and meaningful as it was in the past decades.
The Juju maestro insisted that the advent of Fuji has not overshadowed Juju music in the country describing it as “a mistake and wrong assumption if we say Fuji has swallowed Juju music.”
Ajagun stated this while featuring on a radio show in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital on Monday
Speaking further, the ‘Magbe-Magbe’ creator tackled the self acclaimed Fuji lord, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, popularly known as K1 and others like him who have infused different strings into their musical arrangements saying that they have deviated from the ‘standards.’
He said the introduction of string instruments by these fuji musicians is a total departure from the standard laid down by the creator of fuji music, late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.
According to him, “Wasiu Ayinde Marshall knows that Juju music in Nigeria is not dead. He still gives us our due respect. I listened to one of his recently released albums where he praised me, King Sunny Ade, Idowu Animashaun, Ebenezer Obey and others”.
The juju singer also disclosed that his own style of music is aimed at promoting peace and love among his followers and listeners in the country.
“I use my music to promote peace; I do not use it to cause acrimony among people”.
Justifying his style of music, the Egba-born musician explained that the album he released in 1976 was targeted at restoring the frosty relationship between two top juju musicians of that time, Admiral Dele Abiodun and Emperor Pick Peter.
He charged the present-day musicians and youths to work and pray hard and not to allow frivolities to deprive them of their glorious future. He specifically advised them not to allow current enjoyment to deprive them of the better things waiting ahead of them in the future.
Ajagun, however assured his numerous fans to expect him in the studio soon as plans are in top gear for the release of his next album.
Ayinde Barrister Was Unstoppable | By Tunde Busari
Another reason Ayinla Omowura’s star could not eclipse that of Ayinde Barrister, if Omowura had lived beyond May 6, 1980 till December 16, 2010 when Barrister passed away, rests on the flexible body and template of Barrister’s fuji music.
Again, nobody can and should disparage Omowura by placing him at the back of Barrister on the queue of our indigenous musicians. Barrister would not throw such insult at Omowura because he acknowledged and respected his prodigy and seniority in the house of Agodo, where music resides.
That was why he could not seriously take him up beyond a feeble reference in his AWA O JA, a vynl he released in 1979, shortly before his Fuji Londoners band collapsed. The title of the album-AWA O JA- is even self-explanatory on Barrister’s reverence for Omowura who had just hit him with a thunderous punch in his elpee, dismissively comparing him with all sorts of little living things.
And when Omowura died nay tragically and Barrister entered studio to record his tribute, he came out with a joker which made his fuji an all-conquering genre. If Barrister was not a soldier and musician, he would have made a brilliant career in academics. He was in love with research and vigorous musical engagement. That’s the secret of his many timeless releases-be it studio records or stage performances.
He sneaked into the hearts of the allegedly livid fans of Omowura and discovered their need in his tribute. He sneaked out and laid his song on the percussion supplied by his new band members which was ably anchored by his lead Apala talking drummer of the old Fuji Londoners, Kamoru Ayansola. What did Barrister sing? He flirted with Omowura’s template without really copying his lyrics; he picked only his sound, singing:
Iku wole ola
Iku wole ola
Abiri ti ku
Abiri rorun o
Ayinla omo yusufu…
I learnt that the track was magical as it melted the high voltage anger in the heart of Omowura’s fans and warmed Barrister into their hearts with an appreciable number of them becoming fuji converts and sharing patronage between him and Ayinla Kollington who was an acclaimed protégé of Omowura.
In his subtle but aggressive expedition, eight years after Omowura’s exit Barrister experimented with Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s Afro and produced FUJI GARBAGE and FUJI GARBAGE Series II, the latter in particular catapulted him to the level he probably did not imagine it could take him.
With his perfect use of piano and steel guitar, blend with fast tempo from apala, sakara, omele, agogo, sekere, igba and drum set, Barrister successfully pulled fans of juju and Afro genres at home and abroad to his fuji as evidently revealed by Sir Sina Peters in an interview in which he sensationally revealed how Barrister stole the show at a party where he performed alongside a top juju act at the TBS, Lagos.
SSP went ahead to confess that Barrister’s fuji profoundly influenced his invention of Afro-juju, the new genre which separated him from the conventional juju played by KSA, Ebenezer Obey, Dele Abiodun, Segun Adewale and few others.
Three years before FUJI GARBAGE and five years after the demise of Omowura, Barrister felt the need to bring his fuji to the Egun sub-ethnic group in the westernmost part of Yorubaland. He waxed an album titled SUPERIORITY and devoted a track which brought the best of Egun sound from Barrister. He sang:
Ruru fun wa kajo haha
Won binu wani
O ru fun mi gangan
Eleven years after Omowura’s death, Barrister also was determined to impress and capture two other major ethnic groups in Nigeria, namely Hausa and Ibo. He released FUJI NEW WAVES precisely in 1991 using his intro to woo those people in their respective tongues. When General Ibrahim Babangida paid a state visit to the former Oyo State, Barrister was at the Liberty Stadium where a grand reception was organized for the Head of State, Commander-In-Chief. He sang:
Ya jonmon Hausawa…
Sabudi Anabi Mohamma
Yomuhirawa waka fuji
My postulation here is that with hard work and continuous update of his fuji with different styles and instruments, for instance, Barrister would be relevant, and even soar higher were Omowura alive. In that context, in fact, Omowura would need to do what Musiliu Haruna Isola is doing to Apala, by infusing piano and guitar into the genre, to escape fuji’s onslaught.
If Omowura still relied on his ‘25 tanshi 40’ which he sang in his last elpee, I guess, his music might not make appeal beyond his catchment zone. He might not be a favourite of the political elite of the Second and Third Republic who seemed to be in race to get Barrister’s fuji at their occasions including campaign rallies.
For instance, at the Social Democratic Party (SDP) campaign for its Presidential Candidate, late MKO Abiola in Osogbo Stadium, Barrister was on stage, sharing the show with KSA.
I think, where Omowura ended it was a comfortable spot to remain an enigma he is, and when the Mainframe film is out of location and editing room, I have no doubt in my mind, based on conviction, that it is going to do more promotion to the legendary of Omowura because of the brain behind it.
But Tunde Kelani must be reminded that Omowura was never a standing musician. May God repose the souls of Omowura and Omo Agbaje. Amen
Ayinla Omowura Vs Ayinde Barrister: His Atheistic Declaration | By Tunde Busari
While dissecting the campaigns of Napoleon, a renowned philosopher of war, Carl van Clausewitz wrote: “We do claim that direct annihilation of the enemy’s forces must always be the dominant consideration.. once a major victory is achieved there must be no talk of rest, of breathing space…but only of the pursuit, going for the enemy again, seizing his capital, attacking his reserves and anything else that might give his country aid and comfort.”
The summary of Clausewitz postulation is that enemy must be fought totally and crushed in totality. That must have been the mindset of the late, Apala maestro, Alhaji Ayinla Omowura towards Dr Sikiru Ayinde Barrister when Omowura was hit by realization that he needed to fight Barrister and kill what he dubbed fuji music at infancy. How?
It is an unwritten ethics that two warring musicians must restrict themselves to the use of innuendo and metaphor to get at each other and satisfy their respective promoters and fans. But Omowura shattered the law and fired a direct salvo at Barrister to unmask any veil from the target of his hot lead. In his elpee released in 1979, the overly confident Omowura sang:
Ki o ma se je n gbo o
Pe mo ji e lorin lo
Ko je je bee
Oro apara niii
Omowura’s non-conformist choice was deliberate to splash a mud onto the face of Barrister’s identity and reduce him to a weeping boy in the community of music lovers. On the strength of the school of Clausewitz, Omowura needed to be pardoned because he had measured the astronomic rise of Barrister and felt the danger it could and indeed would constitute to his fame and stability.
He had seen the then 30-year-old Barrister leading his full band to a musical tour in the UK in 1978. He had heard about his exploits in that tour, at least the one which Barrister narrated in his ‘London Special’, a vynl, released on his return to Nigeria. He had observed how social and political elites were outdoing one another to have Barrister performed at their functions before and after the general elections which ushered in the Second Republic on October 1, 1979 and returned the soldiers to the barracks after 13 uninterrupted years in power.
Most importantly, Omowura had remembered the effect which his voluntary engaging Barrister for naming ceremony for his baby in 1974 had on his fans base.
Relying on Dr Festus Adedayo in his famous book titled AYINLA OMOWURA: LIFE AND TIMES OF AN APALA LEGEND published in 2020, a copy of which he autographed for me on May 1, 2020, Barrister’s acceptance was noticeably on ascendancy as early as 1974.
On page 127, he wrote: “The relationship between Omowura and Barrister was really very close until 1974 when the former invited him to sing at the naming ceremony of one of the children given birth to by one of his wives, which held in Mushin. By then, it was gathered that Barrister had climbed up in musical reckoning as well as such, when Omowura invited him to come and sing for his guests at the naming ceremony, which he gladly accepted, there was no way that Barrister’s fast growing acceptance in the musical world wouldn’t be at cross-purposes with Omowura’s who saw himself as the numero uno among Yoruba musicians…It was gathered that at this time in 1974, Barrister had got to challenge the favoured and highly reckoned musical top class like Ebenezer Obey and Sunny Ade at the duo’s musical dens in Yaba, Lagos State.”
If the same author could turn round seven months later and write: “If Omowura had not died, there would never have been the Barrister who supervised over the traditional Yoruba African music stratosphere of the 80s to 2010 like a wild wind,” then I should show understanding that every mortal can slip at one time or the other.
But with the above reference, Omowura could obviously not have obstructed Barrister’s invasion of the indigenous musical space because Barrister had already depleted Omowura’s fans at Omowura’s party due to his classy performance which magnetised Omowura’s fans on dance floor. What later became Alhaji Chief Sikiru Ayinde Barrister Fans Club paradoxically started from the balkanization of Omowura fans in Mushin, a situation which set the tone for the rivalry and fight which Omowura fought to the finish in May 6, 1980.
Islam, Christianity and African Traditional Religion recognise the paramountcy of a supreme being and influence of destiny in man’s journey on the surface of the earth. Every believer in God, therefore, should and must recognize that whatever he will or won’t become in life is inscribed on the sheet of his or her destiny.
Yes, Omowura’s prodigious body of lyrical compositions are incontrovertible. They are even more evident in the ongoing Tunde Kelani publicised production in Abeokuta. Yet, Omowura did not create, neither did he write Barrister’s destiny. So, Dr Adedayo’s claim, ko je je be, oro apara niiiiii
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