Nigeria’s most recognised and celebrated Jazz artiste, Mike Aremu who has performed alongside top jazz artistes across the world is set to take the centre stage of the music world with his ‘Sax Appeal’ concert holding on Sunday.
Speaking about his concert (the fourth edition), the renowned saxophonist took the time out to speak about music and bemoan the inability of most musicians of today to play musical instruments. Hear him: BY IYABO AINA
What are you working on presently?
I am presently planning the fourth edition of my musical concert “Sax Appeal” which is slated for November 23rd, 2014. It’s going to feature artistes like Mexican saxophonist Jessy J, Yinka Davis, Kunle Ayo and Timi Dakolo and it will be held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.
We’ve always wanted to do the concert in all parts of the country. Why we decided to choose Abuja is because Abuja residents hardly have live shows brought to them like the Lagos residents. In Lagos, shows are always happening all over the place. Though I started the concert in 2009 and the response and turn-out has been huge, but this time around we are looking to explore Abuja and have Abuja residents feel us.
Why Timi Dakolo among other Nigerian popular artistes?
In ‘Sax Appeal’ concert, we try our best to look for people who are really talented, people who are true musicians, not mere singers. I also looked at the fact that Timi has done a song for the nation and because we are taking the concert to the capital city, we felt he should have a place in it.
Going by the turn-out of people in Lagos, how sure are you about getting the same response in Abuja?
I have a good feeling about the Abuja people but you should note it is not permanent. I just believe that people who have been hearing this kind of music in Abuja would love to watch the artistes performing it live on stage. Jazz is not what they get to watch regularly and I promise to give the best by bringing one of the best female saxophonists, Mexican Jessy J, Yinka Davis, Timi Dakolo and Kunle Ayo on to the stage.
When you just started you were more of a gospel musician, but now you have deviated to jazz music, why?
If you look at the industry, you will notice that music itself is revolving, but that hasn’t changed anything about my personality. And it hasn’t changed who I am as a Christian.
If you listen to my music you will notice that there are three major factors you can’t take away from my song, which are; God factor, jazz factor and African factor. These three things show that my music is for everyone. What matters most is the melody and not religion.
About your last album “Coat of many colours” how is it doing in the market?
It’s doing well. I even had six nominations from the album in a gospel award and I titled that album ‘Coat of Many Colors’ because it has different genres of music and different artistes in it.
Why is jazz not accepted like other genres of music in Nigeria?
It’s because Jazz is a kind of music that selects its own audience. But personally, I am trying my possible best to make it more acceptable by organising jazz shows that can bring people closer to jazz musicians. I believe jazz is a choice music people can relate with in several spheres.
Has there been a time you felt like totally abandoning jazz or gospel music for secular one?
I have been invited to different kinds of functions that have no connection with Christianity. Christianity is just a way of life but we tend to define everything by religion here and it is one of our problems in Nigeria today. They don’t look out for what people can deliver. Like I said earlier, three factors; God factor, African factor and jazz factor define my music and my life. Whether I do secular music or gospel music, you are still going to find all these factors in my music.
What’s your view about musical artistes not being able to play music instruments?
I personally don’t believe everybody should play an instrument, but whatever you do just do it well. In Nigeria, there is no music in our curriculum unlike abroad where you have to learn some kinds of instrument before you can become a musician.