Musicians speak on World Music Day

KSA, Tosin Martins, Tony Okoroji and Obey

June 21 of every year is a special day in the history of music since it was initiated by France in 1982 as Fete de la Musique; World Music Day.  It is celebrated across the world to mark the beginning of summer solstice, that is, the longest day of the year.

Since its inception, the World Music day has been adopted by over 120 nations. This year’s celebration was not an exception as musicians from all genres and ages, amateurs and experienced, celebrated the day with events such as street, park, garden, stadium, station, hall and all concert with free performances.

Nigeria relatively was part of the countries that celebrated the day, as Lagos State reflected the day with about 12 events, held simultaneously across Lagos metroplolis.

Nigerian music stars including King Sunny Ade, Bez, Omawumi, performed at some of the venues of the event tagged: The Make Music Lagos, held at the Balmoral in Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, organised by Showgear limited and partners.

Sunday Tribune spoke with some musicians on the current state of the music in Nigeria and the way forward:


Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi

The Nigerian music industry is taking a new height; the old generation musicians are not resting on their oars and the new (generation) artistes are bringing in new discoveries in diverse ways to reach their own generation. So far, the industry has witnessed different kinds of music and I am particularly happy with the development the industry is witnessing in recent times and as a result of these potentials, Nigeria is already in the lead in Africa and I won’t be suprised if we take over the the number one position in the world.

Like I used to say, we were limited because of technology, but technological advancement is giving today’s musicians several opportunities to reach out. Also, it presents a new window of opportunity for the present day musicians. In our days, right from school, we were taught how to be humble, respect elders, among other good qualities, which influenced our thoughts and entire lives. This really helped me to be among the best composers. I feel it is crucial to go back to out root.

Music is powerful, and it is ideal any musician understands the power and rudiments of music because it can make or break an individual or society. Don’t forget that you cannot give what you don’t have. This is why l preach morals in all my works and this is one of the reasons records I did 40 years ago is still relevant even among the youths today. Positive thinking would only deliver positive a message, especially at a time like this when musicians need to come out en masse to preach love and unity in the country; I want to strongly advice the new generation musicians to connect to this. The World Music Day should serve as an eye opener to all musicians, individuals and government. We all have a role to play in restoring sanity to the industry and society at large.



The World Music Day symbolises happiness and joy around the globe. These two are the key elements of music, even when music is employed to criticise societal ills. The day is significant as a platform to reflect on the past to shape the present for the future. This was evident in the concerts arranged to mark the day: a mixture of old, new and young.

The potency of music lies in messages and the general beat; they are complimentary in such a way that one must not overshadow the other. This is one lesson young artistes must learn. Generally, I tend to agree with the discipline that was the driving force among old artistes, and I commend this to new artistes as a platform to reach the sky.


Tosin Martins

Music in Nigeria is coming out of the woods. We are past the lack of appreciation by our people locally which were the case in the past and now getting the nod from beyond our shores. The size of the industry and its impact on the economy are also noteworthy. It has become the fall-back of many unemployed youngsters and largely positive and one is happy about the prospects.

Since its ascendancy in the league of industries locally, music has scored a major as far as influence is concerned. Economically there is a growing engagement of music stars as brand ambassadors for products and services to aid their marketing and raise sales. Politically, artistes have been actively waging war on the decision of persons and political groups who take power at various levels. Recent cases was 2Face’s protest which got the attention of the government and the ongoing Nathaniel Bassey-led Halleluyah Challenge bringing spiritual rebirth to many through social media and even the effort of artistes on matters arising such as The Chibok Girls’ case.

Our music needs to be widened a lot more. The space is currently choked with a mono sound, which does not cater to the palette of the fans. Nigerians want more genres and we have talents all over. The media needs to help highlight some of these talents and help keep older ones in our consciousness. That is the making of a true industry. Corporate bodies and government should also hasten and double up interest on piracy and creating the environment for creativity to contribute more to the wealth of the nation. As for the up-and-coming and A-list artistes, let us keep making great music and remember that making music short of the standards would not make us goo anywhere. Real artistes need to actively establish structures that sift the chaff from the wheat. Above all, let us keep music playing, because our history is not contained only in books, but also in songs.


Tony Okoroji

I commend musicians across the Nigerian nation and the world on the World Music Day. Those of us who have been given the special gift to spread joy to mankind with our beautiful art of music must recognise that what we have is a rare privilege. At a time when many across the world are under tremendous stress and strife stares so much at mankind in the face, we must compellingly speak the language of music, the language of love, a language that knows no boarders and use our special gift to reduce hate, bring people together and put a smile on the faces of God’s children

Musicians across Nigeria need to understand that they have an important role to play in providing a soothing balm on the frayed nerves of many in the Nigerian nation and pouring cold water on the dangerous fire of hate being lit by some across the country. Nigerian musicians must deploy themselves as agents of peace across the country as COSON would continuously watch their backs.

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