Tag Archives: fela kuti

African Steel Pan Player, Bayo Bello, re-emerges on the music scene.

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.

Bayo Bello on the Steel Pan.

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.

With fellow PK students during a performance break at the Museum Kitchen Lagos 1982

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.

At Fela’s Shrine..Just bought my first sax from Brother YS (Fela’s saxophonist)..I was on cloud nine on that particular day after dreaming of owning a sax for about a year‚Ķ – Bayo Bello
PK Band, Bayo on Sax (Credit: Bayo Bello’s Archives)
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.
Bayo Bello with his favorite instrument, the Steel Pan

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.

Jamaica ūüáĮūüá≤ Tourist Board
With the Jamaican Athletes – 1996 Atlanta Olympics

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.

With the Panorama Steelband in the 90s

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!

Follow on IG @bayobellomusic

Visit www.abikemusic.com

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TOSINGER: The ‚ÄėOrganically Singing‚Äô AfroSoul and AfroFolk Queen of Dreams ‚ÄĒ afrocipha

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. … Tosinger Oluwatosin [in her native Yoruba language Tosin means God is worthy to […]

via TOSINGER: The ‚ÄėOrganically Singing‚Äô AfroSoul and AfroFolk Queen of Dreams ‚ÄĒ afrocipha

Naija Chronicles and a New Release: ūüí≠ SiLenT ThOuGhTs ūüí≠ – #BringBackOurGirls

Hello Friends,

Heartwarming greetings from my African sunkissed heart to yours ūüôā and a Happy new month of August to you!

I just arrived from my home country of Nigeria the past month of July, promoting my debut album “Organically Singing”¬† and ¬†garnering¬†some press/media presence and on ground performances. Follow me at ¬†@Tosinger on instagram¬† to have a sneak peak of that journey, see a few pics below. Thank God for His mercies, grace and favor and thank you Lagos for your hospitality.

Singing at Jazzhole, Lagos

Interview with Tosyn Bucknor of Top Radio 90.9 FM

Performing at Freedom Park, Lagos with Seun Olota

Interview with Harry Itie for TVC Channel “On The Town”

After radio interview with Olabisi Omidire of EkoFm

 

RhythmFM 93.7 interview on Celebrity Live Wednesday

With Etuk Ubong and the band at Jazzhole

I am also delighted to present to you a creative product of my visit to Nigeria which is officially released digitally today. I worked with the multitalented Producer/Musician – FloRocka– on my latest project, an audio drama/spoken word titled ‘Silent Thoughts’.

Meeting the talented Florocka 6 years after. Prior to this, 6 years ago, I did digital artist promotions and social media marketing for his very first project – The OverFlo

With Flo and Rapper DMSquared

‘Silent Thoughts‘ is an Audio Drama/Spoken Word/Storytelling Project with an afro-theatrical edge addressing the issues of our times. As a spoken form of art on a musical backdrop, ‘Silent Thoughts’ intends to provoke and inspire thought towards change. Things have been quiet lately about the Chibok Girls. Whatever happened to #BringBackOurGirls? What is currently happening?

Download here

Subscribe to my email list at www.tosinger.com  for a link to download on your mobile.

Watch ‘The Making’ of Silent Thoughts

In other news, do take a moment to read my interview with The Guardian NG

Thanks for your love and support.

Blessings to you and yours this new month and beyond!

Beautifully Dreaming, Positively Doing…
Tosinger
Singer I Songwriter I Storyteller

Artivist mode ūüôā

Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome Kuti: The Mother of Afrobeat and Spokesperson for Women in Africa’s Movement for Independence

afrocipha

© James G. Spady and Akinyemi Bajulaiye 2015

Nobel Prize Winner, Wole Soyinka of Nigeria, makes the role of women like Funmilayo clear when he states, ‚ÄúI have always insisted that American or European feminism has little to teach¬†most¬†other societies ‚ÄĒ- 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.‚ÄĚ

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…

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Carrying on the legacy of Afro Music – #Felabration with @Afromysterics NYC

In honor of Fela Kuti, his music legacy and in commemoration of his birthday, Felabration! an annual celebration is taking place in various cities all around the world during the month of October. (October 15, 2014 would be Fela Kuti’s 76th birthday). 

“The idea and concept of Felabration as an annual celebration of Fela‚Äôs music, life and times, originated from his eldest child Yeni who conceived it in 1998”.¬†…Read more here

The impact of Fela’s Afrobeat music cannot be overemphasized and his musical legacy surely lives on, greatly influencing the works of the today’s crop of Afro artists.

And so I am honored to be a part of Harlem-New York’s Felabration concert as a ¬†special guest of Laolu and The Afromysterics , also featuring the Super Yamba Band, where I’ll be doing some favs and a couple of originals. See you there if you are in NYC!

Click on images for more info:

and

See

I am also featuring at OritseFemi’s concert in NY organized by Vibesland Entertainment. ¬†I have always been drawn to his music, his afro indigenous and passionate sound and style (Mercies of the Lord and Better are some of my favs)¬†and I am glad to open for him. He recently did a spin on Fela’s Double Wahala which is currently a¬†great hit in the Nigerian music industry.

Knitting Factory has a special offer going on that you might want to check out if you are an ardent Afrobeat lover

Culled from Knitting Factory FB page

“Happy Birthday Fela Kuti!!! The Original Black President!

Felabrations are taking place around the world in celebration of his life and legacy.
Knitting Factory Records is offering 15% off the entire Fela Kuti catalog (excluding box sets) for the month of October.
Use code: HAPPYBDAYFELA at checkout)”

¬†Beautifully Dreaming… Positively Doing and keeping the flag of Afro music flying….

Tosinger

‘Finding Fela’ – A Film Documentary By Alex Gibney

Kino¬†Lorber, New York film distribution company has released the first trailer¬†to the documentary “Finding Fela,” which made its¬†world premiere at this year‚Äôs Sundance Film Festival.

‘Finding Fela’ – a look at the life and music of Fela is certainly not the first documentary to be made about the legendary AfroBeat maestro, musician, composer and performer Fela Anikulapo Kuti aka Fela Kuti. Directed by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney, the film was produced by Jigsaw Productions, Knitting Factory Entertainment, Okayplayer and Okayafrica.

Synopsis

Alex Gibney’s Finding Fela (2014) is a sweeping portrait of the artist as guerilla warrior. Set to the insistent groove of Nigerian superstar Fela Kuti’s revolutionary Afrobeat sound, the remarkable story of one man’s courageous stand against a corrupt and dictatorial government gives testament to the transformative power of music as a force of social and political unification.

Finding Fela! (2014)
Finding Fela tells the story of Fela Kuti‚Äôs life (1938 ‚Äď 1997), his music, and his social and political importance. This in-depth look at the man who created Afrobeat (a fusion of Jazz, traditional West African rhythms, Funk, Highlife, and psychedelic rock) brings audiences close to Mr. Kuti’s fight against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 1970s and 1980s. With his audacious music and a great deal of courage, Kuti helped bring a change towards democracy in Nigeria, promoted Pan Africanist politics to the entire world and became an inspiration in the global fight for the rights of all oppressed people. As a committed critic of the legacies of European cultural imperialism, Mr. Kuti became a major political force in Nigerian and African politics ‚Äď even becoming a Presidential candidate (twice) in the 1980s. His socialist political views and truly subversive life style also lead to a criminal, government-sanctioned attack on his commune in 1977, which lead to his arrest and the death of his 82-year-old mother. Mr. Kuti was eventually released, but his mother’s death shaped the rest of his life. Culled IndieWire

View Trailer

“Finding Fela”¬†will begin its US theatrical run on¬†August 1, with an exclusive Manhattan engagement at IFC Center; it’s also scheduled to open in DC on¬†August 8¬†(at Landmark‚Äôs E Street Cinema), as well as in Boston (at Landmark‚Äôs Kendall Square) and Atlanta (Landmark‚Äôs Midtown) on¬†August 15.

Finding Fela! (2014)

Click here for full cast details…….. More info at http://www.FindingFela.com

Beautifully Dreaming…Positively Doing

Love, Peace and Beautiful Afro Music,

Tosinger