Collaborative Project with Sheena Richardson and Ajibola music and Ricardo Axe.
One of my endless fascinations has been how our traditions connect; the similarities and the differences. The beauty of the pandemic was making amazing contacts with people all over the world remotely. During this time I made contact with Sheena Richardson an Ifa – Orisha practitioner and musician, (percussionist and singer) from Trinidad and Tobago and we set up one interactive zoom session sharing songs of Esu-Elegua from Trinidad Orisha worship, Lucumi and Candomble Ketu from Brasil with UK based practitioner Ricardo Axe. We had such a good session on the zoom, that when it came to prepare for the new album, I really wanted to have a track dedicated to Oshun from these three traditions, and incorporating Sheena and Ricardo.
The first step was to have a zoom session with Sheena and Ricardo where we learned the the various songs.
I also discovered a version of Oshun Talade, on an old Smithsonian Recording, that I hadn’t heard in Cuba in Tambors. I was struck at how similar it was to the sequence from Trinidad.
The next step was to record the three sequences. It was amazing to send Sheena to the studio with her drummer and to receive the amazing track of traditional drumming and singing. We also went into the studio in Hackney London with Ricardo and we recorded the Brasilian and Lucumi Versions.
Sheena went into the studio with her drummer, and literally between them recorded all the percussion and all the voices. In total there were around 16 or so Audio stems. So here is a great opportunity to thank everyone in Trinidad: Credits: Iya drum and Congo – Olumbe Diaz Omele -Sheena Ajibola Richardson. Recording studio – Gnote. Studio Engineers – Chad and Garvin Marcelle. Hope we can actually get together in person at some point!
I was quite keen on following up the remix that London Based Producer Raf Riley ( Etta Bond, Professor Green, Labrinth, Diplo, Naughty Boy, Dr. Luke amongst others ) who did for our track Baba Fururu- Ofunruru, (https://lucumichoir.bandcamp.com/track/baba-fururu-ofun-ruru-raf-riley-remix-featuring-ricardo-axe) with a London flavoured remix of those three tracks. Bringing the sound of my tradition to my home town. Raf came up with two remixes. One extended version we have released as a single, available on all Social Media Platforms.
The other track was a remix of the three traditional sequences. I got together with Leo Durrant, to edit a video which I really hoped to demonstrate the community and lineage aspects of our respective Orisha cultures. The community aspect of Worship, the aspects of Oshun who symbolises all things that make life worth living; the song, the dance, the joy. The natural domain of Oshun, which focuses on the flowing river and fresh waters and there is the appearance of a vulture which is one of Oshun’s Avatar. What many people may see as an ugly creature, is actually a beautiful creature, who is provides such an important function within nature and who in some places is endangered. I am not such a fan of how Oshun is portrayed in the west, and hope that also the video will not perpetuate the images usually associated with Oshun.
We will be featuring the contemporary track and also the original tracks for your pleasure on our new album “IYA” which will be released next year. It’s being mixed and mastered as I write!