A Unique Music Heritage

adamo-pix2-500x330The crowd at the Obokungbusi Town Hall of the Owa Obokun Palace in Ilesa, Osun State,  might have looked ordinary last Friday evening. But the spirit behind the gathering was uncommon. It was unique because it attracted leading Adamo music exponents, a traditional Ijesa genre of music, seasoned and up and coming performing musicians from Ijesaland only. Their mission was to inaugurate the first Adamo Music Festival as a prelude to the  yearly Iwude Ijesa Festival, which climaxed on Saturday at the same venue.

Adamo Music Festival was initiated by Embrace Osun and supported by social groups such as Friends of Rauf Aregbesola (FORA), People Friendly Governance Initiative (PFGI) and Ijesa All Stars.

For about six hours, the Owa Obokun Palace premises was agog with musical performances by no fewer than eleven musicians of different genres, ranging from Adamo to Fuji, Hip-hop, Rap, Juju, Gospel and Highlife. Among the artistes that performed were the ageless Pa Ige Adubi; Baba Adedara Aruna; Niyi Ajetomobi; Rawlings; Boblad; Olatunde Abiodun aka (Baba Ewe); Ayuba Aliu and Adewale Kadoka (Ijaya).

Others were Young Ade; Wewe Mighty; Gbenga Falope, Osogbo-based fuji act; Oluomo (Oyeniyi Ismail) and Small Doctor, who is popular with his song; I dey kill mosquito well well.

Adewale Kadoka took the first shot at thrilling the crowd that has waited patiently for about 4 hours for the start of the concert. He was followed by Wewe Mighty, a talented juju musician. His performance lasted within the stipulated 10minutes allocated to each artiste.

But by 7pm, there was a brief shift to rap music and hip-hop as a stop-gap for the young at heart in the audience. That break lightened the crowd with the rendition of Dorobucci by Mavin Crew led by Don Jazzy.

Oluomo’s performance though the shortest, stood out among the lots. In fact, it was a mix grill of scintillating drumming and narratives of Yoruba ‘orikis, yabis and faboos’ that characterised fuji music. The self-taught 12-man band leader, Ismail, who has been into music since 2007, said he loves fuji because it provides the finest platform for creative expression.

The tempo of the festival got to a crescendo when Pa Ige Adubi went prayerful with his song Baba wa ti mbe lorun, a rendition the crowd could not resist. Like Adubi, Pa Adedara kept the crowd on their toes for longer time. His sterling performance attracted other younger Adamo musicians, who joined him on stage for a ‘collabo’ that lasted several minutes.

Young Ade mounted the stage after Gbenga Falope, who spiced his juju music with effective use of saxophone. By 9.30 pm, Falope’s rendition of Oriki Ijesa was what the entire crowd needed to join in the sing-along chorus that echoed into the dark night.

Young Ade’s performance was a mirror-image of King Sunny Ade’s stage craft and singing ability. In fact, Young Ade was the big masquerade that danced last as his presentation drew the curtain for the festival.

Chairman, Iwude Ijesa Planning Committee, Chief Olu Falomo, said the rebranding of Iwude Ijesa Festival- a convergence of culture, tradition and communion, was informed by the need to forge unity among the Ijesa people. The festival featured motorised floats and parades of clubs, societies and communities. The high point of the celebration was the public appearance of the Owa Obokun Adimula, Oba Aromolaran, to Yeyerise’s compound, Obanla, Sawe, Lejoka and Salotun’s courtyards.

Development Consultant and Festival Director, Aremo Tope Babayemi, said Adamo Music Festival is the brainchild of Embrace Osun, a group that identifies and nurtures different talents in Osun State, especially in the socio-economic and cultural sphere. According to him, the idea is to follow up with the promotion and presentation of such talents as these artistes for the developed markets. Babayemi disclosed that the festival would be an annual outing.

Governor-General, PMAN (Osun State Chapter) Mr. Mutiu Aiyeloja, described the festival as a new dawn for musicians in the state, especially the platform it created for expression of creativity. He was optimistic that next year’s edition would be better and bigger despite low funding this year.

State PMAN Treasurer, Alhaji Abdulazeez Ibrahim, stressed the need to promote and sustain the Adamo brand of music, which is why PMAN has identified with the initiative. “We are government voice and we spread the good works of government everywhere. And we are happy with what Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is doing in our industry. He provides the platform for artistes to showcase their talents to the world. He has been able to show to the world that we have stars in Ijesaland,” he said.

Despite the absence of colour that often characterise many big festivals such as Ojude Oba Festival and Osun Osogbo Festival, Adamo Music Festival has succeeded in laying a solid foundation for the growth of subsequent editions. Organisers of the festival have assured that early preparation and sensitisation of the people would be given top priority for a successful outing next year.