Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fela Sowande, Nigerian Composer Born in Oyo May 29, 1905

[The Organ Works of Fela Sowande: Cultural Perspectives by Godwin Sadoh; Quality Paperback (2007); Fela Sowande: African Suite for Strings; The New Symphony Strings; Trevor Harvey, conductor; Decca LM 4547 (1952)]

As AfriClassical commemorates the anniversary of the birth of Fela Sowande (1905-1987), it is in the position of competing with another blog which posted's 16-part web essay on Fela Sowande as if it were its own work. The essay appeared on May 19, 2009 without attribution and virtually in its entirety:

Similarly,'s essays on the Nigerian composers Samuel Ekpe Akpabot and Akin Euba were posted by the blog on the same day, without credit to the author or the website. Written protests have been made by email, but the unattributed material has not been removed as of this writing. 

The Nigerian composer, organist and Professor Olufela Sowande was born in Oyo, Nigeria on May 29, 1905. Bode Omojola, Ph.D., chronicles his life and career in the 1995 book, Nigerian Art Music, in which he observes: “Fela Sowande is undoubtedly the father of modern Nigerian Art Music and perhaps the most distinguished and internationally known African composer. The most significant pioneer-composer of works in the European classical idiom, his works mark the beginning of an era of modern Nigerian Art Music.” Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma has posted an excerpt on Fela Sowande from a manuscript on Black composers: Prof. De Lerma's biography of the composer includes a detailed Works List and a Bibliography.

On April 11, 2008 AfriClassical Blog posted “African Suite by Fela Sowande Digitally Remastered From 1952 Decca LP”. The article explained that Mike S. Wright, Chair, International Society for African to American Music (ISAAM), had digitally remastered the content of the 1952 LP and planned to issue a CD. Organ music of Fela Sowande was performed by organist Douglas Brown in Richmond, Virginia on Oct. 8, 2009 as part of The International Year of the Organ, observed by the American Guild of Organists and its Richmond Chapter. On June 13, 2008 the website published a post in which Akinla is depicted in the animated cartoon Oni Dodo – An African Symphony. It can still be seen at the website.

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