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No sacrifice is too big for Fela, says Rex Suru


Rex Olisuru Ogunniyi

Us-based Nigeria-born reggae artiste Rex Olisuru Ogunniyi, otherwise known as Rex Suru, has arrived the country to be part of this year’s Felabration, a music festival in honour of late Afrobeat creator Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

Rex Suru, who spoke with our reporter in Lagos, has expressed why he came all the way from the United States of America to be part of the annual musical fiesta.

“No sacrifice is too big for the late founder of Afrobeats; I was part of it last year and thank God here I am again.

Fela is a huge influence on many artistes; he has influenced my own music in many ways even though he did Afrobeats and I do Afro-roots reggae.

However, the similarity is in the rhythm and the message. Though it is different, but it is similar especially in the on-session.”

Speaking on Fela’s music, he said, “I love Fela’s music because it is mostly on-sessions, the rhythm is percussion rhythms and it is the same with mine.

We have dynamic rhythm sessions and our sessions seem to go with the highlife style of presentation and also stage presentation. Fela influenced me a lot on how to talk; he called his yabis.

I don’t yab but I try to speak like him in some ways. He is part of an influence in my life and so is Bob Marley.

So, we are just going to combine these two great vibrations into what we are doing, including what I have as an original of mine then we will see how it goes.”

On his performance at Felabration, he said, “I intend to bring a little Fela into Felabration in some styles, which I admire of him.”

He also pointed out that he’s not doing gig for the money, as whatever he is being paid cannot take care of expenses he has incurred in flying from the US to Nigeria, as well as paying his band.

“I got paid last year and I expect to get paid this year as well. Even if they don’t pay, I’m still happy to give Nigeria what I have.

Everything in life is not about the money but about the joy of presenting what you have to the people and if they enjoy you then you have accomplished the main goal but it is also good to be paid because there are a lot of people involved in this performance and not just me. But Fela is too huge to be expecting monetary gratification.”

Rex Suru, who has been doing music close to 30 years, prides himself on being the creator of his genre of music known as Afro-roots reggae and has four studio albums to his credit.

“The name of my band is the Cherubim Vibes, but I go simply by the name Rex Suru and the Vibes. ‘Vibes’ as in vibration, while ‘Cherubim’ means angels.

I have a very deep passion for what I’m doing; music has been the essence of my adult life and I sincerely believe without any shadow of doubt that the heavenly realm is trying to use me as a medium to deliver positive messages.

I’m not saying I’m a messenger, but that’s the vibration that comes through me. Doing music of joy, praise and unity among the human race,” he said.

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