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55 years after, Evergreen Music rolls drum for Dele Ojo


Ojo (left), and Obey

Ojo (left), and Obey

It was a gathering of who is who in the art community, as Femi Eso-led Evergreen Music recently staged a special celebration in honour of Juju-Highlife music maestro, Evangelist Dele Ojo, who marked 55 years on stage. Held at the Nelo Place, Ikeja, Lagos, the evening of tributes and encomiums was also an opportunity for fans to watch the veteran musician perform live on stage.

Not even the heavy downpour on this day could stop friends, colleagues and well-wishers from turning out in their numbers to celebrate a man, who has dedicated a greater part of his life to the arts. The evening, however, provided an opportunity for networking and reunion among arts enthusiasts that graced the event. Particularly, it was a rare opportunity to groove with the veteran musician, who took guests down memory lane with his rich musical collection.

Aside family members, notable among guests and art patrons at the event are Chief Segun Osoba, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey; poet Odia Ofeimun; Deputy Vice Chancellor (Management Service), University of Lagos, Prof. Duro Oni; Akin Fatunke; former Editor of The Guardian on Sunday, Jahman Anikulapo, theatre teacher and actor, Tunji Sotimirin; Oladunni Ogunbanwo, who represented wife of Lagos State governor, Akin Bakare and others. One after the other, these art patrons paid tributes to Evangelist Ojo for his contribution to the advancement of Nigeria’s culture through his timeless music.

Though guests got loads of fun dancing to the rhythms of Ojo’s music, highpoint of the evening was a group performance of Iya Ni Wura by the legend, who was joined by Ebenezer Obey and Brymo for a breathtaking performance that ended with rounds of applause. Meanwhile, other younger artistes such as Simi, Edaato, Topstick and others, got slots to celebrate the musical icon in songs. But for lovers of Ebenezer Obey’s music, it was an opportunity to savour his beats free of charge; he thrilled the audience with his vintage juju beats.

Meanwhile, a compendium of Dele Ojo’s musical works was also unveiled at the concert by Evergreen Music.“I want to use this opportunity to commend the organisers, Evergreen Music, for bringing back Evangelist Dele Ojo on stage, and also providing compilation of his beautiful Music,” Obey said during his short remark.

No doubt, Dele Ojo, one of Nigeria’s musical legends, deserves a great celebration while still alive. Terena, as he is fondly called was first Nigerian artiste to introduce bass still guitar into juju/ highlife music in his record Bouncing Bona in the 60s.

Speaking at the event, the former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Osoba recalled his relationship with the veteran music during his days as newspaper editor, thanking the arts community for celebrating the musical icon.“I was involved in persuading Obey (Ebenezer), for the sake of lovers of music, to personally come and perform on stage with Dele Ojo and I’m happy he came,” he enthused.

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