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World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Adesose Wallace
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Musician: Adesose Wallace

Location: London

Instruments: African drums / African violin / voice

Music: Traditional African / Afro-Beat


Listen  Listen (5'10) to Adesose Wallace play 'In The Beginning'

Listen to Adesose Wallis in the World on Your Street tent at WOMAD 2003

'I just pray that we continue to spread the message of peace and love through music and art.'

How I came to this music:

Everything started for me in Lagos, singing in school and church choirs. As a teenager I was living in Sierra Leone. I finished school in 1967 and started going out to clubs where bands play, and I became a big fan of one called The Heartbeats. I used to go wherever they played, even once I'd moved back to Nigeria. They knew I could sing and one day in the early 1970s when their lead vocalist couldn't make a gig, I stood in for him.

They were very impressed and from then on it became a regular thing for me to sing a couple of songs at their gigs. But because I wasn't used to standing up in front of a band doing lead vocals I started to accompany myself with shekere (Nigerian maracas). So that was the start of my career as a percussionist!

Adesose WallisThe Heartbeats disbanded around 1976 so half of us formed another group in Lagos called Baranta. Around 1977, Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba started coming down to Lagos from New York, and they used to get our band to back them. We toured all over West Africa with them whenever they came down.

From 1977 up to the early 1980s I also spent time playing with a very well known singer from Liberia called Miatta Fahnbulleh. I came over to London in 1978 and Miatta came too. In the early 80s I met the percussionist Gaspar Lawal, and became one of the original members of his Oro Band. I'm on almost all of their records! Around the same time I formed my own band Ibile, which means 'Children of the World'. Playing with Gaspar's band gave me the experience I needed to do that.

Where I play:

We play a lot of gigs at a Hoxton venue called Cargo as part of Synchro System with DJs Max Reinhardt and Rita Ray sometimes that involves going to Europe. I'm also one of the grand old men of WOMAD. I was there with the Oro Band at the first WOMAD ever, in Shepton Mallet, when the only other African band was The Drummers of Burundi, and I'll be at the 21st WOMAD this July. I make most of my living from my music and also a little from my work as a visual artist.

A favourite song:

In The Beginning is the first song I ever recorded as an artist in my own right, in 1992. It expresses my philosophy of life I believe in people generally as human beings, and I don't believe in colour and all those sort of things. Everybody has one colour of blood, which is red. In the beginning of the world there was nothing like black or white. So on that track I sing that we all come to this world as human beings and if we die, nobody is going to take anything away with them. So we should just live together and share and learn about each other and benefit from each other. I just pray that we continue to spread the message of peace and love through music and art.
Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story





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