Thursday, June 2, 2011

'The Music of Fela Sowande' by Prof. Bode Omojola, is reference source for

[The Music of Fela Sowande: Encounters, African Identity and Creative Ethnomusicology; Bode Omojola; MRI Press (2009)]

On May 28 AfriClassical posted a birthday tribute to Fela Sowande: “Nigerian Composer Fela Sowande, Born May 29, 1905; 'The Music of Fela Sowande' by Prof. Bode Omojola.” The book is readily available from online retailers. We mentioned that the biography would be used to revise the page on the composer.

The scholarly research and writing of Prof. Bode Omojola have enabled us to add many facts to our biographical page on Fela Sowande. For example, we were able to give a fuller picture of Sowande's Nigerian mentor and teacher, T.K.E. Phillips, including the fact that the musical principles of Phillips were compiled in a 1953 book, Yoruba Music.

The page now identifies two people who were role models for Sowande in Britain, the expatriate Americancomposer Edmund Thornton Jenkins (1894-1926) and the Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), whose music was sung by Sowande in school in Nigeria. Another interesting point is the composer's view of the nature of sound.

The book tells us that Sowande's first orchestral work to be performed was Africana, and that it was performed by the BBC Orchestra in 1944, conducted by Sowande himself. The author reports that Fela Sowande's known compositions number more than 100, and that many have not been published. We congratulate Bode Omojola on his documentation of the life and music of one of Nigeria's earliest and most important classical composers.

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