Edaoto, expressing self through Afrobeat
Watching Edaoto Olaolu Agbeniyi perform for the first time on stage, one would not be wrong to take him for a reggae artiste; with dress sense, dance steps, and of course, his dreads. But the leader of Edaoto And The Afrogenius Band actually plays Afrobeat; a music genre he has performed in different stages across the globe.
Started playing music at his tender age, the dreadlocks wearing artiste said, “although, I play Afrobeat in its folkloric state, I must point out I didn’t choose the genre; rather it chose me a long time ago, even before I ventured into music. The music genre has enabled me to express myself in songs, share my thoughts with my audience,” he noted.
Disclosing how he came into music, he said, “I started playing music at a tender age, but went professional in 1999. I grew up enjoying the bliss of the 80s; in fact, I was inspired by the music of the time. I grew up with the music of Fela Anikulapo, Bob Marley, Sunny Ade, Marvin Gaye, Akeeb Kareem and a lot others that influenced my stagecraft.”
Though his late father wanted him to be a lawyer, go to court and defend people, but young Edaato chose music, even when he was popularly known as ‘The Law.’ The father was disappointed that his son went against his wish, but the mother embraced him with an open hand, wishing him the best in his chosen career.
“My father wanted me to be a lawyer and from my childhood I have been called, ‘The Law.’ It was a name coined from the English name, which I have since renounced. I never wanted to be a lawyer, so I went the way of my passion, which is music and I have no regrets.
“My father never liked the idea of me going into music, but he didn’t do anything about it. He left me, when he knew I was not ready to be a lawyer, but my mother was indifferent. But later, when my father began to see me on TV, read about me in the newspapers, he began change his mind and at a point began to cherish me as an artiste. In fact, till the time he passed away, he was grateful that I am an artiste,” he recalled.
Edaoto, who released his first album in 2013 and hopes to release another very soon, disclosed that corruption, which is rocking the economic and political space of the country, has also crept into the entertainment sector.
He said: “The level of corruption in the country has collapsed everything, including the music industry. Unless we properly address this evil, particularly in the judiciary and the police, we won’t have any headway against pirates and other vices in the industry.”
Comment on Nigerian artistes, the Lagos State Polytechnic-trained mass communicator turned musician observed that most Nigerian artistes are working to be relevant. He disclosed that some of them do not know what it takes to produce good music.
“Some of the artistes wait for the street to dictate to them what to write for their songs, while some dictate for the street. If you ask some of these boys why they came up with some of the gibberish they have as songs, they will tell you it’s what the people want; and I kept asking them, where and when did they meet with people to decide?
“Real artistes discuss think deep and come out with something that will impact on the people for good, improve his act and move the frontiers of music. However, I am very optimistic that our art will one day improve for good. It is not about the very few that are doing it right, but our art in general,” he said.
Strongly believing in his music, Edaoto revealed that he is not in a hurry to do anything. Philosophising, he said: “I take one step at a time and leave the rest to posterity; I try to work very hard to satisfy my soul.”
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