BY FEYI BANKOLE
Where persistence rules, great strides follow! Peter Oladotun Falade played the sax in Faze’s Originality as well as the sax version for Terry G’s Pass Me Your Love. It was my first encounter with him, and that memorable evening, he handled the saxophone in a manner that seemed like he was born with it. Young and charming Saxo Smooth as he’s fondly called by fans, sent goose pimples down my spine as I watched him do what he calls ‘his thing’- a skill that has taken him to France, Germany, and several other countries.
Not one audience in the crowd, irrespective of age, could pretend not to have been enthralled as they all rose up both consciously and unconsciously to dance to his sax version of Dbanj’s hit song, Fall in Love! As he exited the stage, I cornered him for a chat and Peter, the CEO of Groove Entertainments, was quite on point as he shared how he journeyed into the world of sax. Enjoy!
He had begun playing alongside big names like Ayo Solanke, Abayo and Supo Adebiyi before he realized how far he had gone in his pursuit for excellence with the saxophone. Those were names he was looking up to- names that polished his skills beside the personal lessons he gave himself!
Eyeing the trumpet
Peter Oladotun Falade, as he was christened, started playing the local drum ‘Akugba’ in his church, the African Apostolic Church, at about age fourteen, but suddenly discovered something that caught his fancy along the line, and that was the trumpet.
“Whenever I saw dance-bands playing the trumpet, I would follow the procession to whatever street they were going to. Coincidentally, my church decided to invite those who wanted to learn musical instruments. They taught me to play the guitar, but my grip on it was not too firm, so, I was introduced to the bass guitar. I played the drum and bass guitar for the church”, he recounts.
An unsatisfied Peter who understood his heart desire fortunately met a friend who already knew how to play the trumpet. They were both in their fourth year in secondary school; a time when their contemporaries would rather spend their time in antisocial acts.
“He agreed to teach me, and I went to his house regularly for lessons. That was how I ventured into dance-band precisely. I also had to leave my church for the Redeemed Christian Church of God because they seemed to cater well for us at that time. After a while, I started going to perform in other churches.”
Mastering the sax
As his skill waxed and gradually earned him money for his school fees and other needs, something happened just when he was beginning to think like a champion. Patronage became low, and when he investigated the cause, he found that most churches were beginning to employ the services of saxophonists more than trumpeters. Young Peter thought about what he could do to regain relevance, and just then, an idea struck. The plan was to buy a used saxophone and get himself trained!
“I bought a used saxophone and started going to a couple of people for lessons. I bought books, cds, and other materials so I could also teach myself. I also started playing along with local and foreign artists. After some time, I discovered that I could play along and also rehearse for three hours every day for six to seven months. I also acquainted myself with people like Ayo Solanke, Abayo and Supo Adebiyi for further training. In seven months, I had mastered it and could play for my church.
“Gradually, I started going for shows and playing with bands like Ebony Band, Onyeka Onwenu, Teemark, Ola Balogun(Iroko), Jagunlabi, and many others. I’ve over the years travelled with Iroko to France, Germany, South-Africa, and more. With Iroko, I however play the trumpet. Presently, I run my own entertainment company, Groove Entertainments, where I also people and play in my church, This Present House. I play with hip hop artists too and presently, I play with Flavour”, says.
The sixth of seven children, Ekiti-born Peter Falade who had his primary and secondary school education at the National Primary School, Gbagada, and the National College, Gbagade, respectively, also went on to study Business Administration at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, all thanks to his skill which paid the bills right from his fourth year in secondary school.
But he’s got parents who should have paid footed those bills being the sixth of seven children, you might say, but Peter is not one of those “baby of the house” who love to depend on others for things he could afford.
He says; “I believe my older siblings had their own needs! I was already earning money from playing with bands, so, why would I want to depend on them or my parents for bills I could afford? Moreover, dad was a civil servant and mum had a little business. She died about six years ago, and I miss her a lot because she was a great source of encouragement! I was away in France when she fell seriously ill.
“When I returned to Nigeria, I could remember I spent three days with her at the hospital before she gave up before my very eyes. Like I was saying, I paid for my WAEC, GCE and JAMB myself in SS3. From the little I was earning while in secondary school, I could remember giving my dad N100 to keep for me each time I returned from shows. I didn’t collect the money back, anyway”.