Diya Ojo: Why I Respect Admiral Abiodun

- Ferdinand Ekechukwu

London-based Nigerian musician, Diya Ojo, has expressed his utmost respect for one of the living legends in the Nigerian music industry and former president of the Performing Musicians Associatio­n of Nigeria, (PMAN), Admiral Dele Abiodun. Diya, whose Africa Rhythms Band is synonymous with Jelenke brand of juju music, relocated from Nigeria to United Kingdom in 1995.

He rose into prominence by being the rave keyboardis­t in the early 90’s, performing in album studio sessions for music veterans including K1 de Ultimate, Sir Shina Peters, late I.K. Dairo, General Kollington Ayinla and Evangelist (Chief) Ebenezer Obey, among others, while being a bona Àde member of Admiral Dele Abiodun’s Top Hitters’ Band, prequel to his relocation.

“Admiral Dele Abiodun gave me the opportunit­ies to excel and that is why he remains the best boss I have ever known in my life. He was the one who brought me to limelight by allowing me to perform for various artistes who needed my services at that time,” he said.

Nominated in two categories: Best Juju Artiste in the World and Best Musician in Diaspora, for the current year by Yomofa Global Awards, Diya recently released his much-anticipate­d single, Oja L’aye meaning The World is a Market Place. Produced by Doxolie and released on the stable of Diya Ojo Music Limited, Oja L’aye is an eight-minute lyrical compositio­n with rhythmic Áow, spiced with scintillat­ing percussion and tunefully-played instrument­ation, reminiscen­t of Diya’s prowess as a Àrebrand artiste.

Diya, yet again, dexterousl­y displays his talent as he enunciates on issues prevalent in the world, while giving a summation on the COVID-19 pandemic and oͿering cautionary advice to the public.

Diya, who was born in Omo Ofe, Ilesha, Osun State, started his musical career from the church. He was introduced into music when he became a member of the Christ Apostolic Church, Iperindo, Osun State’s choir group in 1972.

He later joined the Christ Apostolic Church Choir, Oke Imole, Agbeni, Ibadan in 1979 where his talent for playing the church organ was discovered. He consequent­ly studied music at the Chamber Music School, Ibadan, founded by Professor Wole

Adetiran, the head of Music Department at Ibadan Polytechni­c, between 1983 and 1988; and at the Royal Schools of Music, London. His Àrst album, Igba Otun, (New Dawn), was released on Sony Music label, Nigeria in 1994.

“My type of music is a modern juju music that combines the rhythms of other music including juju, highlife, fuji, blues and so on,” he says. Diya’s other previous albums include Millennium Buzz and Mind the Gap, (1999); Sound of Time, (2003) and The Lord on My Side, (2006). He has won several awards including Afro Hollywood Recognitio­n Award, (1999); Outstandin­g Juju Performer, (2006); UK Indigenous Artiste of the Year, (2006); Best Artiste of the Decade in Diaspora-presented by Nigerian Music Awards, (NMA), in Abuja in 2007; Special Recognitio­n Award by Zafaa Global Awards in 2009 and Maestro Supremo De La Musica Juju award, in the United States of America, in 2014.

He establishe­d Diya Ojo Music Elite Klub, (DOME Klub), in 2000 and became the Àrst president of the Nigerian Performing Artistes, (UK), in 2008. He has an impressive resume, having performed on world concert stages, including the coveted Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, London concert.

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Diya Ojo

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