AFRIKAJUMP had a candid chat with talented Musician Adedeji Adetayo based in Athens-Greece about life and his amazing music. The guitarist and composer who studied music extensively shared his experiences and challenges; also tells us how he deals with issues like racial profiling and the ordeal he has to sometime deal with by virtue of his carrying a Nigerian passport.
Adedeji is in the final stages of his second CD; wait for this- a Twenty tracker double album which comes out this March, featuring some musical heavyweights from Nigeria, Europe and America. We can’t wait.
We are also fond of the short and sweet videos often shared online by the artist in which he excites fans with Highlife and indigenous tunes from Nigeria; of those where he and his band mates from Frog string quartet string our hearts with their string ensemble; we can’t omit his brilliant work with jazzy and funky Datfunk band.
Greece is lucky to have him, let’s hear from the man now.
AFRIKAJUMP- Thank you for your time, Adedeji. You seem like an adventurer; why did you choose Greece?
ADEDEJI- Yes I do like adventure, Greece was the first European country I visited and during the visit, I met lots of great people, made lots of friends ,which made me feel at home plus the hospitality and love for culture reminds me of the core of African culture in some ways , the sun, the food etc. So when I decided to relocate to Europe a year after, it was only natural to start from Greece.
AFRIKAJUMP- Being an African in Diaspora comes with its challenges, being an African artist in Diaspora I imagine may feel like double the trouble sometimes, how do you cope?
ADEDEJI- That’s absolutely true, it does come with lots of challenges apart from the obvious ones like racial profiling and all, the most important for me at least is the lack of musicians (Africans) Who truly love the arts and are willing to stick to it. At least in this part of the world where I am. But I try to keep pushing, find few people who are closer to what I hear in my head musically and work with them. Another challenge would be the awareness and understanding of African music, where most people who pretend to know African music of a certain region expect that every African music should to play that music; it’s like asking a country musician why he doesn’t play jazz (smiles). I get that sometime and it’s funny. However I’ve been blessed to visit places to share my own African story and try to educate people a bit more. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to do more.
AFRIKAJUMP- In your recent single C.O.P abbreviation for Country of Pain you share some of your thoughts on the disadvantages that come with being a Nigerian, how have you dealt with this/these frustration(s)?
ADEDEJI -Hmm! I have found different ways to deal with some, and the main one would be confidence! If I don’t have anything to hide or done anything Illegal, I figured I don’t have to be afraid of the policeman, Immigration and all. They smell your confidence from far away. Once I stopped on the bus and I was the only one checked this was on my way to Germany from Netherlands, Even though I was a student at that time they did check all of my things and left the others, My question was simple; ‘Why are you checking just me alone?’; the officer said the rest were students, I said really? I am a student too but you didn’t bother to even ask. He blabbed and felt embarrassed, I was happy I made my thoughts known and made him look stupid.
The other Side of C.O.P is an African problem that I believe has to be dealt with By Africans if we truly want to be free, We have to purge out all the bad eggs, acknowledged our wrongs, move forward while looking back!; you know like the Bird ‘Sankofa’ I love that Ghanaian myth, We have to find a way to progress while we also keep our culture intact. I figured out by expressing my thoughts through music I’m already finding solution and getting people to think about it. Some guy once wrote me a private message about how he likes my music but didn’t like the fact that I did C.O.P in front of what seems to be mainly white audience, saying it’s not good to wash out dirt in public. He might be right but he is also wrong on many levels. C.O.P Is not just an African story, it’s a global thing, Many of the Everyday westerners don’t know what we are going through they have the story based on media and that other bad guy they’ve met; we have to put it out there, have a conversion about it and deal with it otherwise we are just joking and we’ll remain countries of pain, since Africans have been dealing with this for thousands of years! So I figured the problem is not only being Nigerian, it’s more than that; but you know Nigeria is a populous country so we suffer it more I think.
AFRIKAJUMP- Thank you, I like your response to the guy who was speaking all the grammar about dirty linen. Can you tell us something about your album tour you tagged Afreekanism?
ADEDEJI- Afreekanism is my Second Album. It’s a 20 track album which makes it a double album; and the goal was basic, I wanted to create a futuristic African music album which would stays within the tradition but also expand into something more, Jazz; Funk; Soul; you name it. It’s very conceptual as it talks about the same issues we discussed above Immigration, racial profiling etc. It is also feel good music so we have tracks in there where you just wanna enjoy music and forget the troubles in the world for a second! It features a lot of musics from Africa and around the world including Dr Orlando Julius; Yinka Davies; Adunni and Nefertiti; Lekan Babalola; and also musicians from Europe and America. I am definitely proud of this album. It would be out in March.
AFRIKAJUMP- You joined the church choir at 5 years old. What were your favorite tunes back then, and who inspires you now?
ADEDEJI- Church music for me was diverse. My father is Anglican which means at that time they sing mostly hymns; it opened my ears to classical oriented music, From Handels’ Messiah to The Nigerian Composer T.K.E Philips. My mother on the other was at that time going to Celestial church and there was a lot of drumming; and then at some point I joined the Pentecostal church where I would listen and play mostly American gospel; so to answer your question, church music is too diverse to mention, for other music, Fela Kuti, Haruna Ishola; Fuji musicians; George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker , Miles Davies, Richard Bona, Lionel Loueke those people influenced my thought and they still do, but this days I’m back to the Roots!
AFRIKAJUMP- Great. And if you had the power to change three things in the world what would they be?
ADEDEJI- Hmmm! That’s a tough one 1. I would make Africa great, have people travel freely within our continent. 2. I would make the world be in peace and Harmony. 3. Free access to Information, Education and encourage more live music and real musicians.
AFRIKAJUMP- Can you describe your city in one or two words?
To know more about this artist, check out his website www.adedejiadetayo.com
Afrikanism Album Art by Iliana Tsapatsari.