By Chris Onuoha
Using flute as a lead wind instrument in band is not too popular in Nigerian music terrain. Perhaps it is known as an accompaniment to other musical instruments like saxophone, piano, trumpet and used especially in classical, jazz and orchestral performances.
However, as notable and influential music icon, T-Mac, Omawumi who is a strong exponent of flute, blazes the trail in flute as lead instrument.
Another Nigerian, this time, a female has expounded the prominence of this tiny wonder called flute as the first Nigerian professional female flutist.
Ebele, whose passion for the wind instrument started far back at age 14, was influenced by certain white ladies in her school days while playing flute as an extra curricular activity. And ever since then, her hook on the instrument has brought out her innate creativity surpassing a laudable career as an accountant in an oil firm.
“Flute is a unique instrument. It is complex to operate and melodious in sound. It’s usually handled by some church musical groups or philharmonic orchestras but well restricted to band rules and pattern. Majoring with the instrument as a soloist has not only endeared me to some great audience and fans but has brought influence and recognition from quarters including presidential command performances. For me, it is a special gift which I believe God gave me to use for his glory.” She said.
Having been inspired by names like T-Mac and saxophonist, Mike Aremu, Ebele who also sings said that flute has been an integral part of her and dominates in all her songs.
“Most of my songs are in flute including my most popular gospel hit, a jazzy praise song called, “Jawaa Chineke” which featured Mike Aremu on sax. My songs come in different genres – Jazz, classic and urban beats. But my newest single “Dream Come True” produced by Cohbams Asuquo is an urban song done in particular manner to reach out to the main stream which has flute as an intro to the song.
As a female flutist, I believe in excellence and in putting my best where my passion lies. It is wonderful seeing people appreciate and value what I do on stage. Reactions from audience are overwhelming and always greeted with great applaud anytime I perform.”
According to Ebele who has dazzled different quarter of audience said, “I have been able to improvise with the flute in different kinds and genres of music and collaborated performer. I have actually broken that traditional norm and raised the bar to international standard.”
She also see legendry flutist T-Mac as an idol. “I respect T-Mac a lot as a mentor. In the last Lagos jazz festival held at Freedom Park, I played with him. He lectured and talked about how difficult and complex playing with flute is, and why some people do not see flute as a particular instrument of interest, rather restricted to orchestral performance alone.”
The most difficult part of flute is the learning process. You don’t blow or play, rather you have to strain and shapen your mouth to produce the rhythmic sounds. It causes a lot pain though, but the moment you become fluent with it, it flows easily and render any song creatively and professionally.
Besides flute, I play a little bit of the keyboard but not on a professional level. Right now, I am establishing a music training school to show the other side of me. However, I give out music training tips on my Facebook fan page. I am also into health and fitness, talk shows. And to my fans, my music and other programmes can be accessed on YouTube, facebook and other social platform accessible online.