Eight years ago, I wrote a blog post on “Three Nigerian friends and their TEDx Talks worth sharing” little did I know that I will be gracing a TEDx stage myself under monumental circumstances. Monumental because this will be the first ever curated TEDx Women event in Atlanta. Usually for a TED or TEDx event, speakers and performers apply and go through a screening and selection process, so I consider it a divinely destined blessing because on the contrary, I was “discovered” through a social media post comment by TEDx Atlanta curator, Jacqui Chew (Thanks Mark Zuckerberg 🙂 ) and thankfully my brand presence and the work that I’d already put out (Consistency is key) contributed to a positive outcome.
So here I was, in a short time span, I was Jacqui’s answer to her last minute prayer. I joined a formidable and impressive speaker roster of 10, I became number 11, not as a Speaker or a Performing Speaker but as a Performer. Alongside these powerful group of female changemakers, I will inspire an audience through songs, to spread their wings to build a more inclusive and equitable world where girls and women can truly soar.
I chose a fan favorite , “Ile” (Home) and to inspire in line of the theme to “SOAR”, I would close out the event with a “grand finale” performance. I chose to specifically write a song for this purpose titled “Loke Loke” which means “Higher Higher” in my Yoruba language. The video is published here. Grateful to have the musical support of my ABiKE Music duo partner, legendary Bayo Bello on keys and steel pan, a unique addition. Here is our Ile (Home) Performance below, please like and drop a comment. My little intro speech that’s missing is here or scan the QR code below to listen
Thankful for the lovely women I met at this event, the very professional TEDx team and grateful and blessed to be part of making history. TEDxAtlanta is coming back to the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University. When: Friday, Mar 17, 2023 Theme: We, rise. More info here
LEGENDARY MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST Bayo Bello‘s name is synonymous with the Steel Pan or Steel Drum, an organic melodious percussion instrument originating in Trinidad, made out of an oil drum with one end beaten down and divided by grooves into sections to give different notes.
He is the only known African professional Steel Pannist or Steel Pan Player in the US/Diaspora. Extremely talented, Bayo Bello was surrounded heavily by music while growing up in Lagos, Nigeria where he hails from, he also plays the Saxophone, Keys, Percussions, Flute, Vocals, Guitar and maybe some more that we might not even be aware of.
As a young lad, he was a regular known face at Fela Kuti’s organization and had internal access to the afrobeat pioneer’s presence, music and library where he was heavily influenced by his PanAfrican values and outlook. Bayo Bello’s musical journey started when he enrolled at the renowned Peter King College of Music in Nigeria and was the first student ever admitted into the school. He later became a member of the PK Band playing Afro Jazz music, sometimes covering other instruments when the musicians were MIA. He toured various parts of the country with the PK Band and established a stage presence while developing his musical skills tremendously. Peter King will remain his most impactive musical mentor till date.
He moved to the US in 1984 to continue his education at the Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) where he studied Accounting. He co-formed a band called Tyehimba while he was there. The band played Highlife, Reggae and traditional African songs. He then picked up playing the Steelpan with Pan People Steel Band in Atlanta and became the Arranger for the Band.
He later played with numerous bands like Addis Ababa (a Reggae band), Panorama Steel Band, Tropical Steel, Mombasa and Songhai International before forming his own band – Crucial Vibes in 1994. Crucial Vibes performed cross-genre music including Highlife, Reggae, Calypso, Soca, Jazz and Bossa Nova. Crucial Vibes was the resident Band for the Jamaica Tourist Board, Air Jamaica and the Jamaican Olympic Contingent. In all the bands, he played multiple instruments including the Saxophone, Pan (Steel Drums), Rhythm Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Flute and Percussions. Bayo has performed in numerous venues and festivals including the Montreux International Jazz Festival at Piedmont Park, March of Dimes, Cherry Blossom and others in different states.
He took a pause from making and performing music to focus on fatherhood and raising his two children who are now young adults, a decision he made with no regrets. In the meantime, he changed career paths to become a software engineer/developer while music took a back seat. In 2021, with motivation from Atlanta based Nigerian Singer/Songwriter, Tosinger, he was inspired to come back to the music scene and together they formed a collective duo/band named ‘ABiKE Music’ He plays the steel pan with so much spirit and soul as a soloist with a unique twist, a rare occurrence with steel band players who usually play in a group or orchestra setting.
Here is an interview where Bayo speaks more about his musical journey.
Bayo is currently working on producing and releasing original recorded music soon. He plays tennis and dances Salsa in his spare time, in fact, he is very well known in the Latin Dance community in Atlanta. What a renaissance man!
PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release From America to Africa, warm welcoming melodies ring true in a new 3-track EP released by Atlanta based Afrofolk/Afrosoul Nigerian Singer-Songwriter, TOSINGER. The new EP titled ‘Ode to Accra’ was birthed and recorded in Accra during a 3 day sojourn. It was inspired by the vibe and love for the city and her people.
The intro on the EP pays homage to Mama Africa, the Motherland, reflecting the sounds of Accra, rightly tagged “City Vibrations”. Track 2 – “Find Your Way Back Home ft Bubunaé” is a folksy acoustic number, a gentle plea to all to connect back “home” and on Track 3 “Se Daadaa Le Wa?” produced by Kunle Kuti which he laced with highlife guitar riffs, Tosinger’s vocals pierces through diasporic time and space as she checks on her audience in her native tongue of Yoruba .. singing “Se Daadaa Le Wa?” which means “Are you doing alright?”.
Ghanaian music artist, Bubunaé who co-wrote and featured on vocals on Track 2 also executively produced the project with Decorusbeats as the music producer. ‘Ode to Accra’ was officially released on June 21st, 2021 and is currently available on all digital platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, Tidal etc.
ABOUT TOSINGER Atlanta based Afrosoul/Afrofolk Indie Singer-Songwriter TOSINGER, has been singing for more than two decades in Nigeria, the UK and now in the US. With a couple of published works to her name, her music displays a heartfelt conveyance of originality and inspirational lyrics. Tosinger expresses an afrocentric sublime musical flow that is soulful and folksy, sometimes jazzy, with subliminal messages incorporating her Yoruba language and cultural sounds which sits her comfortably in the world music space. An eclectic artist in her own right, Tosinger is also an actress and an event curator. For more info, please visit http://www.tosinger.com Twitter and Instagram @Tosinger
Atlanta-based Nigerian Afrosoul/Folk/Jazz singer, Songwriter and Storyteller has been singing for more than two decades at festivals, intimate music spaces, concerts, churches, events and in theater, during her years in London, as a member of the vocal ensemble of select Broadway shows including ‘GodSpell’ and ‘Rent’. Tosinger comes with a musical flow that’s as soulful and ethnic as it is a sheer loveliness of heavenly inspiration. Her vocal essence and sound has been described as soothing and uplifting and her voice displays a simple conveyance of heartfelt richness. An eclectic artist with a warm personality and matchless passion, she names her African heritage, Ambient, Worship Music, World Music, Folk, Soul & Jazz as influencing her musical creativity. She also mentions legendary artistes such as Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Angelique Kidjo, Sade Adu and Tracy Chapman among others as influences. Tosinger is unique in her compositions as she occasionally incorporates her…
Across the globe, women remain underrepresented in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). This is especially true in many African countries including Nigeria. In June 2014, three young women came together with a vision; a vision of a world where the number of women in the Science and Technology industry would rise and women would feel welcomed, accomplished and appreciated for their efforts and achievements. They realised that the best way to do this was by encouraging more young girls to take up STEM at secondary school and university levels and stick with it even after learning. As a result, Afro-Tech Girls was born.
At Afro-Tech Girls, they are really passionate about encouraging more girls to embrace the STEM industries and are making it a point to do this in fun and innovative ways. Watch the founders speak in the video below:
Mission – to encourage, educate and empower African girls of secondary and university levels in the STEM fields to follow through and acheive whatever goals they set for themselves through mentorship, teamwork, creativity and innovation.
AYISSI NGA Joseph-Marie aka JJ DU STYLE is a fashion designer who creates very chic street wear. The French/Cameroonian designer whose father was a tailor, has decided to follow the footsteps of pioneer Cameroonian fashion designers such as Imane Ayissi and Martial Topolo by creating his own clothing line called ‘WAZAL’ which was launched in 2005.
In 2006, he launched his first designs which are worn by celebrities like SINGUILA, Alpeco, WAYNE BECKFORD, ROMARIC Koffi and Lalcko. His brand “WAZAL” is a blend of “WAZA”, the name of a natural park in the extreme north of Cameroon and the letter “L” which stands for Lion, the Cameroonian symbol of power.
ABOUT WAZAL COUTURE:
WAZAL COUTURE fashion line that expresses innovations, new styles and creativity. Mixing various colors and prints, he adds and blends other materials/fabrics such as pure cotton, denim jean, wax, leather, fur, synthetic to create a blended ambiance. He got his professional training from VANESSA RUIZ fashion school in Paris and he later on specialized in creating tuxedo jackets. The first collection was in 2013 – “Tete fly.”
In 2013, he was part of the guests of the Ambassador of Cameroon to Paris for the exhibition of the feast of the Cameroonian youth and the Fashion Night Lounge at the Elysee Palace in Paris, where he presented his three concepts: WazalRock, fly Tété and Africafutur.
These concepts are based on values that symbolized his career: Daring, Respect and Creation. Wazal’s cuts and designs are impressive, modern and trendy.
His 2015 collection of tuxedo jackets inspired by a Cameroonian slang, “tété” means wealthy (bourgeois) chic.
Introducing to some and presenting to others two Nigerians that are reaching for the heights, literally.
Freeman Osonuga is one of Africa’s leading voices on poverty alleviation, advocacy and care for people with disabilities, orphans and the less privileged. Freeman is a One Young World Ambassador, one of the 2013 Ten Outstanding Young Persons In Nigeria, and Founder and Executive Director of Heal The World Foundation Nigeria. In 2014, at the Peak of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, he worked as a volunteer and worked with the African Union team of Ebola responders for 6 months in Sierra Leone.
Freeman, a Medicine and Surgery graduate from Olabisi Onabanjo University, has been selected (through the Rising Star programme, which launched at the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin) toembark on a once in a lifetime flight to space and also offered a three year management contract. The programme invites both One Young World Ambassadors and outstanding members of the public aged 18-35 to be nominated to take on the trip of a lifetime.
If selected for the program, he will be the first Nigerian and First
black African to fly to space!
Osonuga is a 2015 WIRED Innovation Fellow. He will be speaking live on the London stage at the WIRED 2015 conference in October.
View Freeman’s profile here on the Kruger Cowne website and watch video below.
Kimberly Anyadike is a young pilot who learned to fly from an after school program focused on helping at-risk youth realize dreams — Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum in Compton, CA.
Inspired by the Tuskeegee Airmen, then 15-year-old (now 21) US based Kimberly Anyadike of Nigerian descent flew a single-engine Cessna cross-country from her hometown of Compton, Calif., to Newport News, Va. Anyadike is said to be the youngest female pilot to complete the journey, which took 13 days.
Born in Los Angeles in 1994, Kimberly Anyadike never remembers a time in her fifteen years she wasn’t interested in flying. Her passion for aviation began with a 20-minute demo flight at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, a flight school and youth mentoring center in Compton, CA. Kimberly washed airplanes and did other tasks to earn “museum dollars” that she traded in for flight lessons. Among the mentors available to kids in the program are several Tuskegee Airmen, who Kimberly has been immensely inspired by.
Exposed to a wide range of activities, Kim was a junior lifeguard at Venice Beach for five years, where she also learned how to surf. She attended the Lula Washington Dance Academy, taking ballet, hip-hop and tap dance classes. Kimberly is a youth member at her church where she learned how to read music, and is now learning how to play piano, violin and guitar.
Most recently she has completed college courses at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, the Saturday Science Academy at Charles Drew University and is taking a range of art courses at the Plaza De La Raza. She volunteers to feed the homeless in downtown Los Angeles and is very active in her church, while maintaining her G.P.A Kimberly’s career goal is to become a cardio-vascular surgeon with a pilot’s license. Like her FB page here
Kimberly Anyadike (born c. 1994) is known as the first Nigerian American teen to fly across the United States. Her Dad is from Nigeria, and Anyadike means (Eye of a Warrior). She flew from Compton, California to Newport News, Virginia in 2009. It took her 13 days to complete the flight The miles flown were 2,342. The plane used was a Cessna C-172. She was accompanied by safety pilot Ronnell Norman, a certified commercial pilot and Major Levi H. Thornhill, a retired U.S. Air Force pilot who at age 87, is a member of the elite Tuskegee Airmen who served during World War II.
Anyadike is from Compton, California. She paid for her flight lesson by working many regular jobs around the compton airport — via wiki
Wishing these two “reach for the skies” trailblazers all the best!
Beautifully Dreaming, Positively Doing
Organically Singing the album is not out, get yours here
My music is inspirational. Genre wise, my style is African, roots, ethnic, folksy and soulful with a contemporary edge. I incorporate my native Yoruba language in my songs. I am from Ogun State Nigeria, West Africa, currently based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Oluwatosin [in her native Yoruba language Tosin means God is worthy to be worshiped]. Those who have heard her new CD, are obliged to say that her careful attention to lyrics and musical groundations signal her out as a rising star among Naija performers and vocalists within the global community.
Nigerian born, Atlanta domiciled, Tosinger ushers in a brand new heavy generation of 21st century Diasporic Africans destined for greatness and poised to take their rightful place among musicians, dancers, dramatists, cinematographers and entrepreneurs in the USA and Canada. In setting forth her goals as a twenty first century singer…
Seyi Voice, a Nigerian Gospel Music Artist releases two new singles today titled ‘Champion’ and ‘He’s Able‘ in anticipation of his upcoming album ‘Sound Of Victory’. Produced by ‘Dr Groove’ and recorded at G-Zone Studios, ‘Champion’ has an African highlife swing to it, a danceable rhythm with inspirational lyrics for everyone from all walks of life, to let them know that they can make it and to be assured that God is not a respecter of persons; “if you believe that you are a champion (in Christ), you are on your journey to success”
Listen and download here
About Seyi Voice
Seyi Voice is a dynamic worshiper, music director, singer/songwriter and a music producer. All his life he has been all about good music. He owns God’s Zone recording studio. Presently, he runs an outreach program called “Unusual Worship” which comprises of a collective of powerful anointed song ministers . His upcoming album is titled Sound of Victory due to be released at a date yet to be announced. He travels nationwide to minister in churches and events.
Seyi Voice says:
“Having gone through a lot and seen a lot, I discovered that pain is inevitable when birth is about to take place in one’s life. God’s people, I want you to know that in every situation, God shall always remain God”
Nobel Prize Winner, Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, makes the role of women like Funmilayo clear when he states, “I have always insisted that American or European feminism has little to teach most other societies —- here is proof [For Women and The Nation: Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti] in this portrait of a remarkable woman in remarkable times, brought vividly to life in a work that explores the often neglected crevices of history.”
Fela Remembers Being Introduced To His Excellency Kwame Nkrumah By His Mother
There are many who see Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti as not only the mother of Fela Ransome-Kuti and the Afrobeat Musical Movement but also as the mother of the modern African women’s resistance movements in the 20th century. Scholarship on the crucial roles played by women in their independence movements and in anti-colonial movements in Africa is still underexplored. What do we know about the relationship of a Nigerian leader like Mme. Ransome-Kuti…