Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fela Sowande, Nigerian Composer, Organist and Professor, Was Born May 29, 1905

Alan Ashton provides this photo from 
the "1946 Theatre Organ World publication"

Fela Sowande: African Suite, The Negro in Sacred Idiom
Originally on Decca LM 4547 (1952) LP, 
Now on Naxos mp3

The African composer Olufela Sowande was born in Oyo, Nigeria on May 29, 1905.  In the book Nigerian Art Music (1995) Bode Omojola, Ph.D., observes:
"Fela Sowande is undoubtedly the father of modern Nigerian Art Music and perhaps the most distinguished and internationally known African 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 lengthy excerpt on Fela Sowande from a manuscript on Black composers at a Website:

During the past two years, new facts and photos of the performances of Fela Sowande in London have come to our attention from Alan Ashton, as related at the website.  Audio clips in mp3 format have also been provided by Mr. Ashton and added to the Sowande page.  Fela Sowande spent the final years of his teaching career at Kent State University in Ohio, the state in which he died in 1987.

African Suite has become widely known through radio broadcasts in the U.K. and Canada, and through a Decca LP and a CBC CD.  The work is currently available in mp3 format from Naxos, as pictured above.

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