Nigerians don’t appreciate their art, culture, Grammy winner Lekan Babalola says

Nigerians don’t appreciate their art, culture, Grammy winner Lekan Babalola says

Nigerians don’t appreciate their art, culture, Grammy winner Lekan Babalola says

Nigerian Jazz singer Lekan Babalola who is seeking to change the perception of jazz music in Nigeria while also giving Africa her sense of pride has lamented that Nigerians do not appreciate local art and culture.

While responding to questions on CNN’s ‘African Voices, the two-time Nigerian Grammy winner said; “In Nigeria, I think we lost our ways in appreciating our own art, our own culture… I think being away from home, and coming across to discover now, the new African culture in the new world, I think that helped me a lot, particularly the African-American culture. I think that helped me a lot, to get closer to my Yoruba culture.”
Lekan also spoke about how he weaves traditional Nigerian sounds into funky beats while also revealing his love for music and influence of his parents to ‘African Voices’: “What I love most about my job is freedom of expression, that I can express myself… The influence of my parents is very strong, particularly my father. My father was a choir master in this church. My father is from the Muslim tradition; my mother is Church of England.”
It was whilst studying abroad that Babalola discovered his love of music, but also began to look at African culture from a different perspective.
‘African Voices’ learns that Babalola began working with several musicians, which led to his success internationally.
In 2006, Babalola won his first Grammy with Ali Farka Toure on the album ‘In the Heart of the Moon’, and then in 2009 for his work on Cassandra Wilson’s ‘Loverley’.
Babalola reveals to ‘African Voices’ that these awards don’t hold much significance to him, however: “I didn’t go into music for me to become a Grammy award winner. I think the Grammy is something by the wayside.”
The jazz musician has performed at the International Jazz Festival for the Governor of Lagos, and still finds time to be a practicing IFA priest.
He tells ‘African Voices’: “The impact I would like to leave on my Africa is I’d like my African people to be happy. To look within, so we don’t look to Europe anymore… The unbroken community, the love. That’s the kind of Africa I want.”
By Ahmed Boulor…

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