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The Town wears the Gown as AJOBIEWE Celebrates


Sulaiman Ayilara (Ajobiewe)

It was a day to remember when the legendary Esa Oriki Orile Exponent visited one of Nigeria’s leading Universities, University of Lagos.   The hall was almost filled to capacity as students thronged in their numbers to await the grand entry of the Esa Oriki Orile Yoruba exponent Dr Sulaiman Ayilara popularly known as Ajobiewe.

 For many who have watched, read and written books about this enigma it was a great opportunity to see him live. The event which took place at the Creative Arts Department, University of Lagos had students, lecturers and people from different walks of life in attendance. Few minutes to the arrival of the great legendary act his music blared the air which resulted to serious anxiety amongst the participants of the award/workshop particularly the students of Creative Arts and Yoruba / Asian and African studies.

According to the convener of the event and founder of Evergreen Music Heritage Foundation Bimbo Esho she said the foundation is a cultural ambassador and harbinger of Nigeria/ Africa’s musical heritage dedicated to the continuous preservation, promotion and celebration of indigenous music and musicians. In her recitation she said the whole idea is to bring the town to wear the gown which invariably means to foster the relationship between the practitioners of Nigerian music and the academic environment to be able to encourage a healthier environment through music.

She is of the opinion that when students see many of the musicians they read about it stops being just a fairy tale but rather they will be encourage to do more  research into the life and music these  indigenous musicians  . She encouraged the students on the need to further their studies and research into ewi music.

For Ajobiewe words was not enough for him to express his appreciation for celebrating him and recognizing his contribution to Nigeria’s music. The legendary act who started reciting chants at the age of 7 years never attended the four walls of any primary, secondary or tertiary institutions. Little wonder the famous quote that says “Some men are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.  For Ajobiewe he was born great no doubt and today deserving of a national award.

Bimbo Esho and Ajobiewe

 Ajobiewe mesmerized the audience with his ewi chants particularly Mr Femi Esho Chairman of Evergreen Musical Company who was also at the event. Ajobiewe used his chant to speak extensively about Esho’s ancestral root. In wonder Esho gazed nonstop at this enigma and couldn’t help it when he stood up to hug him.   Ajobiewe as part of his contribution to Yoruba Linguistic department donated a complete musical compendium of his works and biography to aid further study into his music.  Lectures were presented by two prominent academia’s. Professor Tunji Vidal a former dean of faculty of arts, University of Ife presented “Chant and Music in Yoruba Culture” where he recited different forms of chant in a call and response form which communicated well to the students who reciprocated in return. Also Professor Orimoogunje of Linguistist/Yoruba/Asian and African studies took the audience on a memory lane on the different forms of Ewi, Functions and its relevance in our present time.

It is to say the least that it wasn’t a great event as the climax of the event witnessed   Ajobiewe being presented an award by the chairman of Evergreen Musical Company, Mr Femi Esho for his contribution to Nigeria’s music.

Femi Esho, Ajobiewe Professor Orimoogunje and Bimbo Esho

Also in attendance were some music lecturers from the creative arts department ie Professor Stephen Olusoji  and Dr Pemi Oludare who moderated the workshop,  Professor Albert Oikelome,  Dr Lekan Alabi, Dr Saheed Bello, Dr Sheyi Kehinde, Professor Bisi Ademakinwa, Dr Mrs Florence Nweke, Dr Ezeagwu , Mr Seun Owoaje, all from department of music were also in attendance. Mr Tayo Ogunlade convener of Yoruba films and music fair, Mr Ayo Bankole one of Nigeria legendry pianist, etc.  Students of Igbobi Boys College were also in attendance. Few media house came to cover the event ie City People Entertainment,   Silverbird Television, NTA, Flip Tv, etc.

Credit: city people mag.

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