A brass quintet transcription of a West African Yoruba anthem by the Nigerian organist/composer, Fela Sowande (1905-1987). Transcribed by Adam Lesnick.
Fela Sowande was born in Oyo, in Southern Nigeria, on May 29, 1905. He studied music in Lagos and then went to London in 1934, where he became a recording artist, leader of his own jazz band, and worked with J. Rosamond Johnson and Adelaide Hall. He played duets with “Fats” Waller at the Florida Club in Mayfair, and served as theatre organist for the BBC. At the same time he was taking courses at London University, the Trinity College of Music, and the Royal College of Organists, winning three prizes, one of which was for scoring the highest marks for the whole examination. His teachers included Professor George Oldroyd, Dr. Edmund Rubbra, and Dr. G. D. Cunningham. During World War II he served in the Royal Air Force, but was released at the request of the Ministry of Information to go to the Colonial Film Unit as Musical Advisor. Later he was appointed Organist and Choirmaster to the West London Mission.