By Ayo Onikoyi
Kofo the Wonderman, a master talking drummer, a team leader, a singer who has blended traditional African singing and drumming with Afro-funk flavour, igniting dance floors and inspiring audience in New York, has returned home to take his place among top entertainers in the land.
Speaking with Showtime Bonus at a media parley last week, the Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State-born drummer opened up on his journey so far; why he wants to come back home and how he became a talking drummer player.
“My father gave me a talking drum when I was at the age of 4 to play with. I could remember when we had some talking drummers from Ibadan who came to visit us in Ijebu Igbo in our house, these drummers travelled round to entertain people in villages and they usually stop by and spent some weeks.
On a particular day when they were set to go, my father asked me to follow them, from there, I developed the interest and just then I knew that’s what I was going to do even when my parents never wanted it to be my profession,” he recalled with nostalgia
Hailing from a family whose roots are in percussion, Kofo has collaborated with such greats personnels as Babatunde Olatunji and Little Steven of Bruce Springsteen fame.
He was also one of the pivotal force behind Majeck Fashek’s stellar “Sprit of Love” released by Interscope Record in 1991. Kofo has been performing with David Bryne and the Atomic Bomb Band, playing the music of Nigerian William Onyeabor with appearance at New York Summer Stage, BAM and touring the West Coast and Australia.
On why he’s returning home to do his thing among his people, he said “I have decided to come back home so that my own people can enjoy and also learn my kind of instrument. We will organize a lot of workshop so that the up and coming talking drummers could have the opportunity to have a professional training on how to play the talking drum into reggae, jazz and other kinds of music.
All this is to keep promoting the Yoruba African culture.I had always wanted to come back and settle in my home (Nigeria) but I needed a strong professional hand to handle my business. Now that I’m back, I can go to perform anywhere in the world and still come back home because there is no place like home.”