For Olusegun Maria, It’s Omoluabi Or Nothing Else…
OLUSEGUN Maria is an exciting, fully-formed African music artiste with a unique musical identity, who has understudied and stood by highlife music for well over a decade without unnecessarily diluting or fusing it with hip-hop as vast majority of Nigeria music stars have done or doing.
Though he started out as a hip-hop/rap artiste and attained the same proficiency like Christopher Wallace (Notorious B.I.G), Amarul Shakur (2PAC) and other pioneers of hip-hop and rap genre of music. But on self-discovery, he decided to make a detour and create his own kind of music, which he called Contemporary Yoruba Orchestral Highlife (COYORH), stressing that rap/hip-hop was not African kind of music, instead a foreign culture.
“It was not that I could not do it, but when I attained the same proficiency like Notorious B.I.G, 2PAC Shakur and others, I said to myself, hip-hop is not my culture. I have always been appealed by highlife,” he said.
The Osun state -born poet and folklorist, describes his type of music as contemporary Yoruba orchestral highlife music (COYORH), stressing that the music is a groovy, jazzy and rich in Yoruba percussive musical instruments like Bata, Akuba, Conga, Iya-ilu, Agogo, and Sekere, which often features other scintillating arts of the Yoruba.
Cultured, witty and very passionate about the revival of his culture and heritage, Olusegun, describes himself as a passionate, unrepentant lover of African music and contemporary highlife.
He said, “I prefer highlife music to other genres because it’s the major music heritage of the West Africans, which I crave to revive by re-presenting it to the contemporary souls, and thus preserve it for posterity as a prime music heritage of my race. Also, it is the most appealing music genre to my soul; the most satisfying to my core African nature.”
Two years ago, he dropped an exciting double, Eko O ni Baje and Angelina. According to him, Eko O ni Baje, encapsulates the religious perception of Lagosians and lovers of Lagos worldwide, while Angelina is a form of cultural exchange between the Yoruba culture and the French culture.
The songs are groovy, rich in Yoruba percussive instruments, melodious and danceable contemporary Yoruba orchestral highlife numbers from my soon to be release album. His newest work, Omoluabi, which has a music video that is making, waves online and in TV station in the South-west, has been described by many music lovers as evergreen.
“Omoluabi is a Yoruba word for someone that is an epitome of good virtues, and these virtues are essential to moving the community forward. Therefore, Omoluabi is an embodiment of the virtues that enable someone to give the best of himself to a good cause, and essential to make the world a better place. It is a characteristic in individuals sired by the Lord of virtues,” he said.
He added, “an Omoluabi is someone that epitomizes the principle of hardwork, honesty, integrity, courage and resilence. As an Omoluabi, I had to carry out some investigation about the principles of Omoluabi for some weeks before writing the song. The essence of Omoluabi is succinctly put in EWI, the Yoruba oral poetry, which I delivered in the number. The music is groovy, jazzy and laced with Yoruba percussive instruments. The song is a classic that emphasizes the universality of the principles of Omoluabi in a style that is unique.”
According to him, the direct need for Omoluabi in the society and the need to come up with a very potent art work that will revive the principles of good virtues (Omoluabi) and represent such to the contemporary audience, particularly the youths was the major reason for the composition of the song.
“In our society today, the concept of morals has been relegated to the background; many Nigerians have lost their sense of morals and without the principle of Omoluabi, we will continue to experience retrogression in our society and every facet of national life, not just in politics but in the homes, office and institutions,” he stated.
With an audio-visual interpretation that is on point, featuring some renowned ‘Omoluabi figures’ like the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo; Nelson Mandela of South Africa; Mahatma Gandhi of India; John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla of Poland), Mother Theresa, Nigeria’s Noble Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, and State of Osun Governor, Rauf Aregbesola among few others.
On what informed the choice of his name ‘Olusegun Maria’, the OAU, Ile-Ife trained engineer, said the strongest influence in his life and force behind him is Mary. It is something that people cannot understand its fullness, but with time they would. “Olusegun Maria is more than just an artiste. It is a name that tells everything about me. It is a name that is pregnant with meaning.”
In need of vibrant management, which he believes would not only help take his exciting COYORH music beyond Nigeria, but thrill lovers of African music worldwide.