Fela Sowande The Classical Musicologist

Fela Sowande was a renowned International Classical Musicologist. He wrote many beautiful Operas by adapting Yoruba musical sounds to full classical musical operatic arrangements without using the lyrics. 

Incidentally when a non-Yoruba person listens to Fela Sowande’s operatic classical arrangements with full violin, strings, and wind instruments conducted by International maestros you will think that you are listening to a Beethoven, Chopin, or Johann Strauss masterpiece.

In British Colonial Nigeria, many signature BBC Musical tunes are works of Mr. Fela Sowande. For instance, the Old BBC Calling West Africa signature is Fela Sowande’s operatic adaptation of classical music of Reverend JJ Ransome Kuti’s evergreen Music… E je k’omode k’o wa o! Jogolo!,, omo kekere jogolo! .. Awon l’ Ore Olodumare! E je k’omode ko wa. What’s more! Fela Sowande adapted one of J O Araba’s palm wine Drinkard’s .. Ni faaji kelele tune to classical Music tune. The Tune was known as Opus 20.

At the Ceremony in Sweden, when the First African Nobel Laureate in Literature Our illustrious Professor Wole Soyinka was being honored the Swedish Philharmonic Orchestra performed the full classical works to the admiration of the whole Musical World. The Yoruba tune is – O gba Aiya Oya!’ O gba Aiya Eeshu! … without the lyrics of course. Rest In Peace The Great Fela Sowande…

~Kolawole Lawrence.

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