Dele Sosimi

Dele Sosimi

Dele Sosimi, the Nigerian-British Afrobeat Ambassador, Musician and Educator, has been at the heart of the global Afrobeat scene since relocating to the UK in December 1995. Having started his musicalvcareer with Fela’s Egypt 80 band in his teens, he then teamed up with childhood friend Fela’s son Femi Kuti (back in the late eighties) to kick start the Positive Force - touring, recording and performing worldwide. Over forty years later, he remains a tireless ambassador for the unique musical movement all over the world. His blend of complex funk grooves, traditional Nigerian music, African percussion and an underlying sense of jazz combines with his virtuoso keyboard skills and rhythmic singing to make him one of the most respected Afrobeat authorities of his era.

Hackney-born and UK-based Dele has performed all over the planet, from the Montreux Jazz Festival to Mawazine Festival in Rabat Morrocco; Ollin Khan in Mexico, South Korea and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival to name a few. London’s Jazz Café has said before “we’re honoured that for so long we’ve been able to call Jazz Café the home of Dele’s seminal afrobeat orchestra.” Dele was also Afrobeat music consultant for the National Theatre’s production of Fela!, often performed with the late great Tony Allen. Because he was brought up with Fela’s Egypt 80 performing five hour long sets, four days a week, and six hour rehearsals twice weekly, 50 weeks a year, Dele is a master of various live configurations, each offering a truly authentic and powerful Afrobeat sound and keeps him active. These days, his mesmeric performances are mainly with the full eight to fifteen piece Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra (DSAO), a distilled six or seven-piece Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Experience (DSAE) and the Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Sextet, Quintet & Quartet which features the heartbeat of DSAO in a semi acoustic format with Dele on piano alongside Suman Joshi on Double Bass, Afla Sackey on Congas/percussion and Kunle Olofinjana on Drums. An additional horn player or two make up the Quintet or Sextet. Dele also works with electronic artist Medlar putting out two 12"s during the pandemic, Cubafrobeat, Latin flavoured collective Lokkhi Terra led by Kishon Khan and Eparapo, led by DSAO bassist, composer and producer Suman Joshi.

As well as playing, arranging, recording and consulting on Afrobeat, Dele is also an educator and instructor. He was a Visiting Lecturer in Music and Media at London Metropolitan University from 2009 - 2012 and continues to teache at Rose Bruford College of Performing Arts, Cardiff University School of Music and Trinity Laban Conservatoire (where Fela himself studied) as well as at The London Performing Academy of Music. When not delivering afrobeat Master classes workshops and lectures, Dele can be found featuring and collaborating on projects with the likes of South African DJ Qness, DJ and production duo Sparrow & Barbossa and most recently writing and recording a new project with Sam Duckworth (Get Cape Wear Cape Fly) due to be released April 2023.

“The love and passion I have for composing, writing, performing and teaching Afrobeat Music is my main motivation,” says Dele, adding; “my aim is to build upon the rich heritage of music worldwide by creating opportunities for young people to learn. I want them to experience Afrobeat forms of music and music-making activities that will expand knowledge and broaden the horizons of the musicians young or old.” His London School of Afrobeat offers workshops, activities and events across the UK and providing new and dynamic learning opportunities thereby keeping the genre alive across the generations.

Throughout his career, Dele has worked on a constantly innovative series of albums. Most recently there was Cubafrobeat with Lokkhi Terra; a free fusion album that melts Cuban and Afro rhythms with plenty of dazzling instrumental interplays. There has also been the solo album “You No Fit Touch A” an album defined by a strong socio-political message and classic songwriting skills co written with Femi Elias (Deles long time friend, high school mate, bass player and co writer for earlier albums Turbulent Times and Identity), and Dele co-wrote two tracks - ‘The Re Education Of Mr Otheralisation’ and ‘Iwa Re Re’ - on DSAO Trombone Player and MD Justin Thurgur’s new album Many Faces. Having achieved so much, Dele Sosimi’s credentials are unquestioned. His work ethic is tireless. His devotion to his art is absolute. With him at the helm, Afrobeat is truly in safe hands.

Albums:

  • Turbulent Times (Eko Star) 2002,
  • Identity (Helico) 2007
  • You No Fit Touch Am (Wah Wah 45s) 2015
  • The Confluence (Wah Wah 45s) 2023

Organizer

Partners

Arts Council Our Place Foundation Richmix LPMAM Culture.pl Instytut Adama Mickiewicza