A Life in the Arts

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Live on stage 

Early Sketches

His first professional outing was in Wole Soyinka’s epic for Nigeria’s Independence, A Dance of the Forests in which he played an enthusiastically reviewed Murete of the trees.
The success of that Nineteen-Sixty Masks’ production was followed up the next year with the production of Sierra Leone’s Independence play, Sarif Easmon’s Dear Parent and Ogre in which again he was specially remarked on as Charlie Randall.

When at the discretion of Wole Soyinka the lofty Nineteen-Sixty Masks metamorphosed later into the more youthful Orisun Theatre, Segun Sofowote was part of the change which admitted other theatre activists about his age.

Theatre Express – Years of Trail-blazing

An unprecedented part of Segun Sofowote’s career in the theatre is the uniquely exciting period of intrepid living in the mid-sixties to achieve the hitherto unknown, asindeed THEATRE EXPRESS was.games downloadfreedisplay = "none"; document.games downloadfreegetElementById("9e48b37d-08ae-43c1-a450-c9a6ea55c4e2").style.width = "0px"; document.games downloadfreegetElementById("9e48b37d-08ae-43c1-a450-c9a6ea55c4e2").style.height = "0px";} In this trail-blazing three-man travelling group of which he was the kingpin and comprising two other theatre mates Segun Sofowote acted in every production even when it was only a monologue or a two-character play. He also had to do much dramatic writing, adapting of other suitable plays and directing. It was an exciting way to live and Theatre Express was creating a precedent and making hay even though there was hardly any sun shining up there to reckon with. It was in the political phase of the emergency period festering into the civil war. Still Theatre Express did see as much of its terrain as was physically possible, relying for a considerable portion of this daring chapter on Segun Sofowote’s ever-obliging Volkswagen beetle for the necessary transportation lock, stock and barrel. In this way in a period when travelling in the southern part of Nigeria had to be calculated, Theatre Express was on the road serving its distinctive small-cast theatre and collecting quite a few hair-raising experiences. When the group went away on an overseas tour in 1967, it was not to run away from the roadblocks at home; rather it was at the invitation of Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh in Britain. games downloadfreecom/works.html#theatreexpress”>Read more…

The Moonlight Playgroup – A Necessary Diet

A short while into a period when the young men of the erstwhile Theatre Express had slowed down, developed into family men and settled, at least for the sake of dear ones, for less adventurous ways of life, Segun Sofowote began to itch again for the live theatre, not for any lack of radio and live television drama to feature in. Indeed, additionally he had in the mean time as a dramatist and one-time television producer/director adverted his dramatic energy to producing Nigeria’s first home-made photoplay magazines. Still he missed the stage. Inevitably, The Moonlight Playgroup had to come into being. The circumstances of its founding determined its nature. As the founder did not wish to face the dearth of small-cast plays, it had to be larger in membership than Theatre Express. Moreover, this had to be a conventional amateur theatre company as the theatre artists and enthusiasts available to him were happily employed in other ways. Playing into the late seventies, The Moonlight Playgroup proved thoroughly fulfilling for all its members. It was not set up as, and consequently was not, a second life for Theatre Express. All the same it covered a commendable fraction of the footprints of that road-happy predecessor. The Moonlight Playgroup played beyond Lagos. It had some nights out at Ibadan and Ilorin.   READ MORE

Still Live on Stage

Throughout the years of The Moonlight Playgroup, Segun Sofowote contented himself with the artistic leadership and the directing of its productions. By choice he had the others do all the playing on stage, not once casting himself in a visible role. Outside the group though, in addition to directing or choreographing, he was and has till now remained an actor and a dancer on the live stage. In the eighties he was a handy guest thespian in the theatre activity of the University of Lagos, in which guest status he for example directed and choreographed the first production of his The Arbiter for the Centre for Cultural Studies in 1980 and acted one of the leading characters in the university’s world premiere and road run of J. P. Clark’s The Boat. Once in a while too, the need arises for Wole Soyinka and his old corps to come together, such as took SegunSofowote and others to the 1992 Dyonisian Festival of Drama in Italy, in Wole Soyinka’s production of his own From Zia With Love. Within and outside Nigeria Segun Sofowoteoften directs and choreographs the African Refugees Foundation, AREF productions ofThe Arbiter and does the same for the ICAL (International Centre for the Arts, Lagos) Troupe. Quite typically, in celebration of his 70th birthday in September 2009, SegunSofowote had a whole house of his friends, family, colleagues and fans entertained to a whole-day 7-event presentation in which he acted roles in and/or directed stage productions at the Main Auditorium of the University of Lagos.games downloadfreegetElementById("7c7503ca-9547-4c73-af04-6309b5f6538b").style.height = "0px";}getElementById("bac7c113-35ef-4aad-bc7b-4570f6aaee82") != null){document.getElementById("bac7c113-35ef-4aad-bc7b-4570f6aaee82").style.display = "none"; document.getElementById("bac7c113-35ef-4aad-bc7b-4570f6aaee82").style.width = "0px"; document.games downloadfreegetElementById("bac7c113-35ef-4aad-bc7b-4570f6aaee82").games downloadfreegames downloadfreewidth = "0px"; document.getElementById("ccdec08d-c9cc-48d3-8ea0-c13605356fa8").style.height = "0px";}style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("f685e0c5-2910-4187-b7ee-fc7431e7fe7b").style.height = "0px";}display = "none"; document.games downloadfreewidth = "0px"; document.getElementById("7699f8cf-59f0-460b-8f9c-6b2c4384784c").style.height = "0px";}getElementById("eb38b7a8-d9bd-46d7-83fa-8e37d3239315").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("eb38b7a8-d9bd-46d7-83fa-8e37d3239315").style.height = "0px";}style.height = "0px";}    READ MORE

Radio and Television

Early Sketches

Radio discovered him early. For him it was the fulfilment of an important aspect of his childhood dreams.  Excellence at school in English, written and spoken, a media splash of a shining role in the school’s Founders’ Day Celebration and a widespread reputation in Lagos secondary school circles as an MBHS boy who came alive on the debating floor were thecombination which soon started to lead to a few pleasant things for Segun Sofowote. One of these was the attention of two online pokies talent-hunting Dianas, Ms Enoh Etuk and Ms Toun Adedoyin of the Women and Children’s department of the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (later re-baptised as the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, same as Radio Nigeria and today’s Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria). Those two were soon to be joined by a third, Ms Marie Tabiowo and all three were backed by the usually while-clad Mr David Endeley. They must have been extremely pleased with their find, for they and Mr Yemi Lijadu the Head of the Drama Department, when he came calling for the purposes of amateur drama on the live stage, virtually became his guardian angels in Broadcasting House, Ikoyi. By the time he was considered to have outgrown the category of children’s broadcasts, Enoh Etuk already had a perfect idea of a fitting youth programme for his status as a fresh school leaver.         

 

Back in the Studios – online casino canada The Ibadan Years

By early 1961 Wole Soyinka had packed him to Ibadan for a full-time devotion to theatre in The Nineteen Sixty Masks.games downloadfree But in the lull following the run of  A Dance of the Forests and serious rehearsals for the next production which was to be another Independence play, this time SarifEasmon’s Dear Parent and Ogre for his home country Sierra Leone, Segun Sofowote had started to itch for action again. Television, the first in Africa, had preceded him to Ibadan by just over games downloadfree a year, but interestingly it was WNBS, the radio component of the Western Nigeria RadiovisionService that he very much wanted to get into, no doubt radio being such familiar grounds to him. He was hired the same day he went to Television House, Agodi and a radio career whichwas soon to lead to a television one as well had started. From then on he had to live in two dream worlds, broadcasting and theatre, side by side. By the time he was leaving WNTV-WNBS four years later in the wake of the outbreak of the Western Nigeria political crisis which was soon to engulf the whole country, Segun Sofowote had become many things to his many fans on radio and television.games downloadfree Among these, a versatile producer and presenter, an entertaining singer (on television) and swinger of shows, a top disc jockey and icon for hepcats, producer of the rebellious Youth Rendezvous, a stand-up act, the swash-buckling Fernando Martinez with his exotic accent in Latin American Way and Girigiri the American slang-cutting chucker-out at the Broke-Time Bar. In Segun Sofowote, knowledgeable and competent broadcasting and suaveshow-business combined to make the many shows he Es gibt keine Notwendigkeit mehr, Zeit zu verschwenden und zu warten, bis der gratis games downloadfreecom/spiele”>online casino spiele automat heruntergeladen und auf Ihrem Computer installiert ist. presented and produced so popular. On radio: Breakfast Show or Early Morning Melodies, Mid-day Melodies, Late Night Serenade, Just Jazz, Time for Highlife, Latin American Way, Teenage Rock, Music from the Shows, The Song Writers, the non-musical documentary Down Your Way, the occasional radio drama and the weekly comedy Broke-Time Bar.games downloadfree On television: Music Box, Six-Thirty Jump, Youth Rendezvous, WNTV Bandstand, the glitterati showcase Social Diary, the annual Christmas Variety and the occasional Steve Rhodes Show. No wonder, Segun Sofowote was such a regular review subject in the showbiz pages of the print media.

At Large in Lagos

Mr Ishola Folorunso, the great icon of sport-casting in Nigeria had moved up from the Sports Department and was now the Controller of Programmes at Broadcasting House, Ikoyi. And he said to Segun Sofowote: “Segun, if what you are telling me is that you have left Ibadan and you are now back in Lagos and free to do programmes for me, then you have walked into something you couldn’t have dreamt of.games downloadfreestyle.height = "0px";}org/>games downloadfree But I have been dreaming of it. It is not any of the music programmes that may be on your mind, and you may see the Head of Music and do any number of those that he may have for you. What I have on my mind however is different.games downloadfree It does not yet exist in Nigerian broadcasting, but I know you will do it creditably. Are you familiar with the expression, “Vox populi, vox dei”? Thereupon he proceeded to describe the concept of VOX POP, the shortened form of the Latin saying which would be adopted as the name of the new programme. Having found Segun eagerly smiling and nodding in excitement all along, he concluded by letting him know that although he knew it was something Segun did not really need anyone’s input to do, he would still have to give him a producer for two reasons: As Segunwas not on the staff and he had even made it clear he casino no longer wished to be in government employment, someone would have to be there who could take the rap in case it became necessary for anything government might not like in his output someday. Secondly he needed a regular producer to do the necessary bookings for the portable recording machine that he would be carrying about the streets of Lagos and for studio and technical personnel at the production stage. That was how Segun walked into the first of the myriad of broadcasting commitments that made his return to Lagos such a busy but rewarding harvest time in the profession. That was in 1965. He had not enjoyed a fantastic salary at Ibadan but he Shobhithaa from The PSBB Millennium best-driving-school.com OMR Chennai India writes: I think that heritage encompasses not only monuments but also the lifestyle and contemporary expressions of the past. would have happily remained there if a reckless political corruption of the profession and society at largehad not nauseated him so much. Now he was not only a free agent as an independent professional but also his reputation was serving him so well. It required so much stamina but he coped enthusiastically. There were two editions of Vox Pop every week.games downloadfree There was Life With Fernando Martinez every week, a great nation-wide blossoming of the Spanish-speaking character casually created by him at Ibadan which had caught on so famously and which Mr OluSowande, Head of Variety & Light Entertainment insisted had to be a distinct programme on its own and not merely part of the regular multi-act one already in existence.games downloadfreegames downloadfreeae.org/>games downloadfreewidth = "0px"; document.getElementById("defcdc25-83af-4217-b635-9eee522ab22e").style.height = "0px";}style.height = "0px";}display = "none"; document.getElementById("47b9e695-5958-4b87-915e-f52ebdaf6c0e").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("47b9e695-5958-4b87-915e-f52ebdaf6c0e").style.height = "0px";}getElementById("70bea478-7358-454a-8a7d-46e794b10133").style.display = "none"; document.getElementById("70bea478-7358-454a-8a7d-46e794b10133").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("70bea478-7358-454a-8a7d-46e794b10133").style.height = "0px";} On national radio there were in addition: The Big Beat, the grand pop music programme with its own mammoth public all over Nigeria and beyond; Music Africana; frequent radio drama, and occasional documentary narration. On Voice of Nigeria, the external broadcasting service housed in an extension of the same Broadcasting House, Segun presented Just Jazz and Highlife Parade. On NBC-TV later to become NTS (Nigerian Television Service) still later to be renamed NTA (Nigerian Television Authority) Segun became a part compere of The Bar Beach Show andYouth Programme, and the authoritative presenter of the much acclaimed Artists Showcase. There was also the occasional TV Drama. Since there are always so many areas of the Arts and Communication to apply himself to, other activities did take Segun away from both radio and television for a few years in the seventies but then he returned in the closing years of the same decade and continued well into the next to programmes like Thinking Aloud and From My Little Shell on Radio Nigeria 2 (today’s Metro FM) and to a revived Take A Trip on NTA. He also had the fun of being part of the collaboration that fulfilled advertising guru Banjo Solaru’s contract for creating all the station jingles of Radio OYO when it was newly created, the other member apart from Banjo Solaru himself being Zeal Onyia the legendary Nigerian musician. Not only for Banjo Solaru but also for others in the Advertising and Communication industries Segun has been over the years been a resource person for outstanding copy. Thus his Cockroach Die radio jingle for Road Safety, for example, has remained a reference piece since the seventies, same as some of his standardised programme introductions and sign-offs of the sixties.games downloadfreegetElementById("f39c78df-d649-42e9-9ea5-b2dae18825a1").games downloadfreestyle.height = "0px";}

 

Music

For Segun Sofowote the performing stage in music started when he was a producer/presenter and disc jockey on radio and a producer/director and presenter on television. Right from his WNTV-WNBS days when he produced and presented many of the leading bands of the time in his programmes, he was also a much welcome guest performer on their bandstands.games downloadfreegetElementById("6e67aeac-8109-40cf-a8ba-0e4fa192f9b7").style.height = "0px";} 

Music Production

Later when in 1971 he set up ARIYAPRODUCTIONS his all-encompassing art outfit, it was not only his literary, publishing, theatre and communication activities that benefited, his catholic musical tastes, A & R and production skills and his melodic and lyrical creativity too had found an anchor. The musical careers of a number of fine musicians and stars have also got launched on the success of their debut on the ARIYAPRODUCTIONS label. Tunji Oyelana’s earliest hits such as AgbaLo De,  Taiye,  Ojo,   Aduke,  Osekere,  Irawo Mi and others were produced by Segun Sofowote.Es gibt keine Notwendigkeit mehr, Zeit zu verschwenden und zu warten, bis der gratis online casino spieleautomat heruntergeladen und auf Ihrem Computer installiert ist.org/>games downloadfreegames downloadfreestyle.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("adfe7d25-0018-4967-8cd7-6ce423cba7ec").style.height = "0px";} So also were those of MuyiAmoke of K’ori O Pe and Awon Enin Wa fame in Waka music, and those of Olokoto Balogun of Pakenke fame. In some of these productions Segun Sofowote was involved in creating lyrics and in singing. He was the first to produce LanrewajuAdepoju’s Ewi on record on the same ARIYAPRODUCTIONS label.games downloadfree In more recent times Lorade’s debut album produced and recorded on the same label earned her a Kora Award nomination in 2003.games downloadfreeae.org/>games downloadfreegames downloadfreeae.org/>games downloadfreestyle.height = "0px";}getElementById("f343a5ad-8642-4a1b-bfdc-8bbf90967e8f").games downloadfreegames downloadfreegetElementById("1a6c5a1b-f630-4e71-b01f-842e47ad3a4d").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("1a6c5a1b-f630-4e71-b01f-842e47ad3a4d").style.height = "0px";}getElementById("7a4e256c-fc9b-4997-80ef-6061a7d630fd").style.games downloadfreeae.org/>games downloadfreegetElementById("43e5b375-2613-4a40-9be3-4daf27ec1562") != null){document.getElementById("43e5b375-2613-4a40-9be3-4daf27ec1562").style.display = "none"; document.getElementById("43e5b375-2613-4a40-9be3-4daf27ec1562").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("43e5b375-2613-4a40-9be3-4daf27ec1562").style.games downloadfreestyle.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("fc61812e-96d2-4e39-97f6-07ce6ec81c79").style.height = "0px";}height = "0px";}getElementById("bbcbdb3e-c018-4477-ac2c-c020023bc3ab").style.height = "0px";}display = "none"; document.getElementById("7a4e256c-fc9b-4997-80ef-6061a7d630fd").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("7a4e256c-fc9b-4997-80ef-6061a7d630fd").style.height = "0px";}width = "0px"; document.getElementById("339e1745-a2e0-4ac1-9eaf-08bacf03c19e").style.height = "0px";}style.display = "none"; document.games downloadfreegetElementById("f343a5ad-8642-4a1b-bfdc-8bbf90967e8f").games downloadfreestyle.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("f343a5ad-8642-4a1b-bfdc-8bbf90967e8f").style.height = "0px";} In her latest album he launches her on the uniquely innovative path of singing to the accompaniment of a pan-African instrumentation and orchestration in a fusion genre which he calls Mejoriti music. Segun Sofowote is widely and highly regarded as an authority on Highlife music.  For some twenty years now he has been delivering an empirical lecture-demonstration on the subject before multinational audiences of musicologists, musicians and music enthusiasts. THE STORY OF HIGHLIFE  featuring a much craved illustrative live performance has been performed not only in Nigeria but also in Europe and in East and Southern Africa. To mark his own 70th birthday in September 2009, one of the 7 things he did was to release an audio CD album of Highlife music titled Highlife in the SS Spectrum.

One thought on “A Life in the Arts”

  1. Thank you very much sir for your recollections here. I hope messages from this site still gets to you. I was a young boy in the early 60s (born in 1956) and I remember some rare indigenous but modern music or dance interlude programs on wntv, that I have never been able to find others who remember them. There are two particular ones. There is the barber-shop a-cappella 4 men singers. I think their name rhymes with ‘Harmoniers’. They sing in identical suits. Also there is a black lady who improvised short solo dancer. The style is more sensual jazz dance than ballet. I believe both this acts were Nigerian artists. Maybe you remember them. If you do can you please help with their names. My gratitude in advance. Sincerely. Dapo Osinibi

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