Music Minds: Benson Idonije, Odion Iruoje other Pioneer Producers Honored in Lagos

Odion Iruoje receiving his award.

Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu/

The night was rightly tagged Music Minds’ Meet and Greet.

It was an end of the year party organized by a group of professionals known as the Music Minds, to end the year on a note of togetherness in Lagos.

Guests were dazzled as they witnessed the honor accorded men who had contributed their quota in a memorable way to the music industry by promoting and supporting Nigerian musicians to break even and pull their weights.

Standing (From Left) Kunle Akinpelu, Sikuade Jagun, Dele Adetiba, Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett, Aremo Segun Osoba, Akin Fatunke, Muyiwa Adetiba … Sitting (From Left) Sunday Odunlami, Roy Olokungboye, Mofe Oyatogun, Wande Adekanlu, Gbenga Adeyinka 1, Adebowale Yusuf, Babarinde Williams, Dammy Adejare, Tope Odebiyi, Ganiyu Jimba, Ope Omotayo (in jacket) and Muri Ayanbola (behind him)

First to be honored with an award of excellence was veteran journalist, writer, broadcaster and music critic, Benson Idonije.

Idonije, who is highly respected for his talents in writing, broadcasting, and of course, the use of various musical instruments, said the Music Minds award gave him a feeling of “déjà vu”.

Benjay, (Idonije’s popular nickname) managed Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s band for 11 years.

Next awardee was Odion Iruoje. He has written his name in gold for being the music producer who gave many popular musicians the break they needed, as Area Manager for the EMI. King Sunny Ade, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Sunny Okosuns, Tunji Oyelana and several other great artistes were signed on the EMI label and produced by Iruoje.

Iruoje is acclaimed to be the first international music producer that laid a solid foundation for the modern music producers. He was known to have initiated the idea of solo Nigerian artistes recording and hiring session men for their backup. He also recommended advanced royalty payment that enabled many musicians invest in new sets of musical instruments.

Iruoje was also celebrated for providing enabling environment for artistes. His golden era of creativity was not lost on progressive minded members of Music Minds who honored the great Nigerian.

At a time when the British believed Nigeria was not ripe to do their commercials, Ray Mike Nwachukwu started the first stereo studio in a one-room apartment in 1977, and recorded a lot of success.

“I was so caught up in making sure that what I did was good, all my life. I always thought something is missing in Nigerian advertising; something indigenous,” he said.

He has therefore been doing what he knows best – upgrading Nigeria’s indigenous advertising.

Akinlolu Fafowora of Wazobia fame was another awardee who claimed to be “so excited to receive the award”.

To the Music Minders, he said, “All of you are stars.”

The group is comprised of professionals who have come together on a Whatsapp platform, exchanging ideas and commenting on posts concerning the state of the nation and well-being of Nigerians.

They only come together once in a year, according to the Chairman of this year’s event, ‘Obong’ Dele Adetiba.

Wondering how a non-Calabar man could be Obong? Relax, it’s just a fancy title given to Mr Adetiba on the Music Minds Whatsapp platform. He said members were virtually friends who interacted everyday, without knowing each other, hence getting together once in a year to match the faces with the names.

Mr Atiba also introduced Mr Mide Martins, who flew in from Canada for the purpose of the 2017 Meet & Greet. Mr Williams had been away from Nigeria for about 20 years. He plays different musical instruments.

Former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Segun Osoba is also a member of Music Minds. He and his wife, Mrs Derin Osoba, who presented Ray Mike Nwachukwu’s award grinned from ear to ear as they enjoyed the company of other members. However, Aremo Osoba declined to talk on the state of the nation when NewsmakersNG approached him for comment. “No, I am not talking on politics…,” he said. He however said it was good to unwind and relax one’s mind to avert health issues like cardiac arrest and hypertension.

Madam Taiwo Ajai-Lycett was there. The International film star with the nickname – The Uncommon Idi Ileke, is also a member of Music Minds. And she was there with a special smile for everybody. She presented some of the awards, including those of Benson Idonije and Odion Iruoje. She spoke on the roles of the music industry towards nation development.

Mr Akin Fatunke was on his feet throughout, welcoming the guests and managing the event.

From Left, Gbenga Adeyinka, Babarinde Williams, and Akin Fatunke.

Gbenga Adeyinka the First ensured that teeth were practically on display as he reeled out jokes bordering on old music. He carried guests and members along as he enjoined them to sing old tunes from one table to the other. The international comedian recalled the good old Nigeria national anthem, “Nigeria We Hail Thee” which members and their guests sang with a feeling of nostalgia. The Music Minds 2017 Meet &Greet was indeed a fun-filled evening, and the venue was Otunba Yinka Alakija’s spacious premises at Jibowu, Lagos.