Legends, icons and stars gathered together at the prestigious Lagos City Hall on Sunday 15th December, 2019 to celebrate Ariya Eko Music Festival an initiative of Evergreen Musical Company and the legendary music icon Chief Ebenezer Obey was celebrated and honoured for his 63 years journey in the music industry.
It was indeed a beautiful and very colourful event, as the very high and mighty of the society graced the well organised and coordinated event, with Yemi Sodimu and Tunji Sotimirin as masters of ceremony.
Chief Ebenezer Obey who was present with 6 out of his children was inducted into the Evergreen Music Hall of Fame and Launching of the complete works of Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey (MFR) 660 songs in 80 audio CDs was unveiled and sold at the venue of the event. Besides being the star of the night, he equally entertained guests with some of his evergreen songs, and the presentation was coordinated by Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon.
Welcome address by Mr. Babafemi Esho the Chairman, Evergreen Musical Company Limited, and his pretty daughter Bimbo Esho, the Managing Director Evergreen Musical Company. She was indeed the Chief Host, as she took proper charge and coordinated the entire event with the team properly.
There was no single dull moment as guests were entertained by over 20 different artistes and there was more than enough to eat and drink.
City People Senior Showbiz Reporter, BIODUN ALAO brings you gists from the event.
CHIEF EBENEZER OBEY INDUCTED INTO EVERGREEN MUSIC HALL OF FAME
The legendary musician, Chief Ebenezer Obey who has remained an inspiration to lots of stars and upcoming stars in the music industry was inducted into the Evergreen Music Hall of Fame, having spent 63 years of his life singing and entertaining people.
He was present at the event with 6 of his children who came to show their father support. He performed some of his ever green songs before the induction and trust me, guests kept begging for more. His complete work of 660 songs in 80 audio CDs was also launched. It was indeed a day of honour for the icon.
And the induction was coordindated by Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon who talked about how Chief Ebenezer Obey has been an inspiration to lots of younger music stars in the entertainment industry.
It was indeed a joyous occasion for the legend as he couldn’t curtain his joy and appreciation for the great honour.
FEMI ESHO WELCOMES GUESTS
The Chairman, Evergreen Musical Company, Mr. Femi Esho welcomed guests with a beautiful message. As the founder of the Evergreen Musical Company, he holds an uncommon position of trust and stewardship with the vintage music causing him to be appointed as sole custodian and distributor of the complete works of many African music legends for whom he campaigns tirelessly in a bid to immortalise their achievement as a symbol of cultural continuity through music.
His company Evergreen Music Company owns the copyrights to the complete works of different African musicians like Fela Kuti, Dr. Victor Olaiya, Roy Chicago and lots ot others.
BIMBO ESHO IS CHIEF HOST
Mr Femi Esho’s pretty daughter Bimbo, was the perfect Chief Host. She was on her feet throughout, making sure, everything went on well and all guests were properly taken care of. This epitome of beauty is the Managing Director of Evergreen Musical Company Limited. She welcomed guests with smiles and even at a point took them to their seats.
Her interest in music spans 16 years as an undergraduate, she even wrote her final year thesis on highlife music in Nigeria. She is the MD/CEO of Esho-Re, a clothing/uniform company that has been the brain behind campaign uniforms of successful politicians and uniforms of staff of other big conglomerates in Nigeria hotels, hospitals, religious institutions etc. Also her event Amuluduns a 100 Indigenous Event Management Company under her leadership has organised many top-notch events in Nigeria.
The very pleasant lady made sure the entire event went smoothly from ushering to organisation and catering for guests. It was well planned and organised.
YEMI SODIMU AS M.C
They couldn’t have asked for a better MC, as with him, there was no dull moment at all. He cracked guests up in between musical performances, and the entire event was full-filled with him as the MC.
He was equally looking handsome as ever in his beautifully designed Agbada and he had a special way of calling up the legends to the stage for their performances.
He equally took his time to recognise all the dignitaries present at the event properly without ignoring anyone.
TEE MAC PERFORMS
Dr. Tee Mac Omatshola Isele (MFR) is a multi-talented maestro flutist with cross-cultural Itsekiri and Swiss roots, his rich career of over 40 years has taken him touring all over the globe and seen him working with such celebrated musicians as Nigeria’s Shirley Blessing as her musical arranger and conductor.
He is one of the pionners of the classical music society of Nigeria which eventually founded the MUSON Centre, Nigeria leading music school and many other roles. He made a splash on the global music scene with two of his songs Fly Robin Fly and Get Up and Boogie.
In 2007, he was elected President of the Performing Musician Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and presentlyy sitting as Chairman and Director of different companies. He remains one of Nigeria’s most celebrated classic music legends till date. He was among the legends that performed at the just concluded Ariya Eko Music Festiva, 2019 and he was also awarded for his immense contribution to the music industry in Nigeria.
JIMI SOLANKE’S ROLE
Legendary actor, folk singer, poet, playwright and master story teller, Jimi Solanke was among the legends that performed at the event. He came quiteearly, sat quietly among the other guests, before he was called to perform, which he did thrilling guests at the event. Jimi Solanke began his story telling career in Los Angeles, there, he created the drama group called the Africa Review, which focused on showcasing the African Culture. The group was known for wearing African costumes particularly Yoruba clothing during various performances. He was described as a “Master Storyteller” by CNN.
As usual, he was looking handsome in one of the African adire attires for the night to perform at the Ariya Eko Music Festival.
SIR SHINA PETERS
The gave an lectrifying performance. He is one of the most recognised and respected musicians to ever grace the Nigerian Music Scene. He started his performance for the night by paying homage to the Legendary Ebenezer Obey as the Yoruba culture demands.
Shina Peters started music professionally with Chief Ebenezer Obey, he later joined General Prince Adekunle’s band at 12 years old travelled to the U.K. for the first time with the band. After a number of years with Adekunle and another stint with Juju maestro, Segun Adewale, Shina Peters started his own band Sir Shina Peters and his international stars.
The band released the record breaking album Ace and immediately translated Peters into a star. Sir Shina Peters has an electrifying stage presence and this he also displayed, as his performance of the award winning record Ace was one the best performance of the night. He kept all guests on their feet throughout with his performance and unique dance steps.
ADEWESCO ALSO ENTERTAINS GUESTS
Mr. Adekolu Modupe a.k.a. Adewesco was among the special performances for the night. He was born over 70 years ago in Ifo, Ondo State. The self-taught guitarist started his career as a young man always sitting at the roadside, entertaining passersby, where he would sing and play the guitar to entertain them.
Multi-talented, Adewesco and his band which he formed about 5 decades ago waxed dozens of Lps for popular audio-video company, Ibukun Orisunye with the song “Aye Wa Adun” being one of the most popular of his many songs. He took a break from the music industry due to personal reasons. He, however, bounced back years ago with an album titled “Endurance”.
At his age, his musical skills can compete with younger ones in the music industry.
ARA WOWED GUESTS
Ara as fondly called is a passionate icon of the entertainment industry, she is the first would acclaimed female African traditional drummer. Her thriving romance with the African drum which spans over 29 years was inspired by her love for the African culture and heritage. She has been able to effortlessly combine Gangan fusion with jazz, Afrobeat and other established genre of music.
Aside from Gangan fusion, Ara combines easily with old and contemporary artistes in the studio and on stage with her mastery of drum. Ara was among the female artistes that performed at the event and she got a standing ovation for her outstanding performance.
BABAJIDE ANTHONY OJOMO NOT LEFT OUT
He is fondly called “Omileyin”. He started as a Fuji drummer in 1991 under the tutelage of popular Ara Osan. He described his brand as hiplife and he uses sekere, talking drum, agogo, local flute and others in music.
Mr. Kenny discovered Omileyan as an afrobeat vocalist in 1996, this led the newly discovered singer to form a band with his friend Samuel Sodeke. The band played all genres of music from 1999 to 2004 when he was a member.
He was among the young stars that performed at the just concluded Ariya Eko Music Festival 2019.
HALIMAT ASABI BROUGHT APALA BACK
She is the daughter of the legendary Ayinla Omowura, who is determined to stake her claim in Apala music. Her maiden album “Apala Gbode” shot her to limelight and she has vowed to resuscitate the genre of music her late father was known for, and she is doing justice to that as she stood out with her performance.
JESSE KING ‘BUGA’ ALSO ENTERTAINED GUESTS
Jesse King ‘Buga’ started his career as a broadcaster and worked for Ekiti and Ondo State Broadcasting Corporations respectively. He became an authority in jingles production. A native of Auchi in Edo State.
His coming into the Nigeria music scene was like a breath of fresh air when there was death in traditional folklore performance and appreciation. He released a self-titled debut album “Buga” in 2006, which also shot him to limelight he continued to use his music as a tool for social expression and promoting healthy and stable home-grown economics among African countries.
SEGUN BLESSING THRILLS GUESTS
He is taking Juju music to a whole new level with his new effort. He looks up to Sir Shina Peters, Dele Taiwo and Dayo Kujore as mentors in the industry and who also influence his musical style in different ways.
He equally had an electrifying performance at the event and he performed some tracks from Ebenezer Obey to honour the great legend.
OBESERE ELECTRIFYING PERFORMANCE
One can’t be wrong, if we tag him as best peformer of the night, as he set the entire hall on fire with his unique and energetic performance. His two female dancers kept people begging for more performance from Obesere, it was so electrifying.
Abass, popularly known as Obesere hit the music scene with a blast when he started out professionally in 1983. With his talent, he carved a niche for himself in the entertainment industry changing the face of Fuji. Beside being a successful musician, he has also featured in over 30 movies. He is one of the highly rated and respected artistes in the entertainment industry.
IBITAYO JEJE STANDS OUT
Ibitayo is one of Nigeria’s truest female music ministers. She started from the church choir, releasing her first album “You Need A Man” after her secondary school. She is often referred to as the female version of Ebenezer Obey.
She is blessed with a rich vocals and a unique stage performance. She serenaded the legend Ebenezer Obey with some of his unique and evergreen tracks. She has performed at different events and award ceremonies and she has collaborated with the likes of Mike Aremu, Sammie Okposo, Sonnie Badu and many more. She is happily married to Pastor Ayo Jeje, a versatile Apostle of Christ and Minister of the word and their union is blessed with a son.
SHOLA VIBRATOR VIBRATED
Music sensation Olushola Ogumefun a.k.a. Shola Vibrator started her music career at a tender age, and she named her style Juju vibration because according to her, it’s non stop gyration when she grabs the mic.
She started her singing in church and looks up to the likes of Ebenezer Obey, Sunny Ade, Shina Peters as her mentors. She plays the bata, base guitar and usually seen at venues such as Island Club, Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Yoruba Tennis Club, where she entertains her audience with her rich blend of Juju.
He is the CEO of Dollarz Millionaire Band, they are popularly known for the highlife style of music richly blended with a fusion of jazz, hip-hop, Apala, Juju and Fuji in both secular and secular contemporary music.
The band started professionally in 2012, performing in many shows and steadily rising to become the toast of the Owambe circle. Dollarz is gifted with the ability to improvise any genre of music to entertain different tribes no matter the language or age bracket.
Wasiu Osine Ejire also entertained guests
He is the delight of classical Sakara music lovers, he is a beast with the Sakara drums and goge with over 21 years in the business, he revealed his late father, King Sunny Ade, King Wasiu Ayinde and IK Dairo influence his music. His music is appreciated all over and the secret to this is making it fun and danceable for both young and old.
HELEN IBE PROVES A POINT
She is a Guitarist, songwriter, and performer. She started professionally 2 years ago. She started by playing the guitar at the Assemblies of God Church. Her quest for knowledge drove her to enroll in a music school for 3 months where she was tutored by Toyosi Ogundele and Mr. Sunday Akande to learn the guitar.
Ibe stole the show with her performance after playing the guitar to Sir Victor Uwaifo’s songs. She got a standing ovation for her exceptional and beautiful performance.
TEMITOPE ODEBIYI PERFORMED
She has been performing, for about 5 years and has since carved a niche for herself in the industry, she is popularly known as “Top stocks” her dexterity has awarded her platform in major concerts, live programmes and she has also featured with several renowned artistes like Victor Olaiya, Victor Uwaifo, Wole Oni among others.
He has been in the industry for 21 years. Popularly known as BJ Majekodunmi, he is a drummer, singer and performer. He grew up in a music environment and was exposed to various music styles being that his father owned and operated the famous music hangout located in Yaba, Lagos Jazzville which served as the platform for the careers of some famous musician and performers in and out of the country.
BJ Majekodunmi is blessed with a sense of humour, which also attracts people to him. His music is appreciated all over and the secret to this is making it fun and danceable for both young and old.
EKO BRASS BAND NOT LEFT OUT
Olalekan Babalola is a grammy award-winning musician and jazz percussionist. At age 6, he started playing the Conga at his father’s Aladura Church. He rose to fame after joining the Samba Samba Band and later, the New York City-based art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers Band, where he perfected playing the Bingo drums and performing jazz music. He started the Eko Brass Band in 2008 consisting of 3 drummers, 1, Sakara, 1 talking drum, 4 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba player and a percussionist.