Loomnie’s blog

  Peopleized by: Szavanna – Wednesday, 18 July 2007

loomnie Growing up in a small town in Nigeria – Loomnie’s thoughts on his childhood and his musical experiences

Szavanna: Greetings and many thanks for doing this interview. Please say a few words about yourself and/or your blog.

loomnie: I am a Nigerian blogger working in Germany. I discovered blogging a couple of years ago. It started as a sort of personal reflection, but as the audience increased the posts have become sort of modified. These days I blog about places I visit, movies I watch, books I read and music I listed to. There is no theme to the posts, really; I write about whatever catches my fancy.

Szavanna: Since there are more and more posts on music on your blog – (the last one was about a South African band, Freshlyground), in your Blogger profile you say you like Miles Davis, you wrote about Tinariwen, Ali Farka Toure, Bongos Ikwue and others – it shows that you are interested in a wide range of styles. Where does this interest come from – any specific reason for being so open to music from so many countries – any strong musical background that explains these musical choices?

loomnie: I really don’t know where the interest comes from… ok, let me think about it. I grew up as one of four children in a middle-class family in a Nigerian small town. There wasn’t much to do socially apart from being with friends in school and listening to the radio. The public service radio was pretty and most of the Nigerian music I have recently blogged about I listened to on the radio while growing up in the 80s and early 90s. They also played jazz music from artistes like Tico Rico, Louis Armstrong, Earl Klugh etc. Also, my grandfather died sometime in the early 90s so I literally inherited his library. His library was rich so it opened me up to a lot of things. I kind of ‘discovered’ jazz during my university days, but the striking thing was then when I formally discovered it it was because it reminded me of the kind of music I used to listen to growing up. I explored a bit and found other interesting kinds of music that I loved… the lists just kept growing, jazz, latin jazz, blues, soul… the older sounding the better. Now I am tuned to some younger people. Discovered Joss Stone, Jamie Cullum, Renee Olstead a couple of years ago, just about the same time I got acquinted with the music of Ali Farka Toure and Amadou et Miriam Bagayoko… and as you can see on my blog, I am still exploring. I hope I answered your question.

Szavanna: I’d like to ask a few questions about your childhood. I am not sure if you grew up in Lagos or somewhere else – please tell me a bit about the place you grew up in.

loomnie: I already said a bit about the place…. It is a small town, kind of ancient, town. It is in the Yoruba-speaking part of Nigeria. It is not special in any way, just one of those towns that are slow and comfortable. I think that informs why I don’t particularly love big cities

Szavanna: Can you tell me about the role music played when growing up – did you play any instruments, did any specific type music influence you – any musician or style of music and made an impact in any way?

loomnie: My mother belongs to a church whose joint national choir has about the largest orchestra in Nigeria. I attended the church for some time myself. My mother plays the viola, that obscure sister of the violin. My younger brother plays the piano, and I tried learning the flute too… I dropped it after a while, and I still regret it now. It would have been nice to have that right now. Yes, there was some music in my life as a kid growing up. Actually, thanks for asking these questions; they are making me think more about my life as a kid!

Szavanna: Have you ever made instruments (anything to make noise with:)from material that you found at home when you were small and if yes what type of instrument was it (drums, or shakers or a guitar etc.)- or if not – do you remember someone else doing so?

loomnie: No, I don’t think I ever make any instruments as a kid…well, the thing was that anything could be a drum: the tabletop, the wall sometimes, a whole lot of things. But I never made any instruments…

Szavanna: Some time ago West African idol was on TV and we were watching many of the initial auditions which I found quite entertaining for a while since here in South Africa we don’t usually get to see programs from other countries in Africa (sadly). One of the judges was Dede Mabiaku – who (if I know it right) is a Fela student. What do you think about the show and about Dede’s music?

loomnie: I am sorry but I didn’t watch Idol West Africa at all… I was in Europe when it aired.

Szavanna: I have always been interested in finding out more about the life and times of Fela – how did he and his music influence the communities around you while growing up?

loomnie: Fela was great in so many ways. I think that he is the greatest musical export Nigeria ever had. And he deserves every accolade that has ever been showered on him… of course, except the ones that take him to be a deity. When Fela died I was only 17 so he didn’t have much influence on me when he was still alive. His influence came much later. I remembered listening to his music along with the others on the radio when I was growing up, but in my small town things didn’t really get to us. I guess that if I was in Lagos at that time I probably would have more stories to tell. I can tell you stories about Fela but I don’t think I really have any rights or qualifications to do that; there are qualified people who have done that and are still doing it.

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