MUSIC IS A SYMBOL AND AFRICANS SHOULD LEARN TO PLAY IT IN WAYS THAT TELL OUR UNIQUENESS, STORIES AND DIRECTLY OUR WAYS OF LIFE.
Juwon Ogungbe is a renowned composer, an opera singer, a musician, a recording artist and a performer in range of different genres. He is a Nigerian, born in the United Kingdom, he moved back to Nigeria with his parents when he was a teenager, there he attended King’s college Lagos and also the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University then called the University of Ife. Juwon has attained trainings in various musical learning institutes in the United Kingdom and also in the United States of America, he was a scholar, a composer and a music director of a show titled Threshold inspired by Amos Tutuola’s work at the University of Richmond in Virginia USA.
Juwon took us through his journey into music, he had always gravitated towards music right from when he was a very young boy, in his childhood days he was encouraged to perform by his English foster parents in United Kingdom and since then his love for music and the arts have always lived with him.
Juwon Ogungbe Achievements in the musical arts and other literary genres are more than a mouthful as he has been known to have done quite a lot. He talked about some of the projects he has done over the years, he mentioned that he had composed for various theatre companies, media houses, films, television and for online productions. A few of his works which he considered most remarkable include but is certainly not limited to, His works for BBC, the Royal Shakespeare Company, composition for the Adaptation of a Novella called Oroonoko, featuring David Oyelowo and Jo Martins amongst others, a production of Shakespeare's play 'As you like it' which was directed by Marianne Elliot and Various works with the African American Chuck mike.
His most recent work a music theatre piece, King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba which was premiered in 2019 was inspired by his visit to the national museum in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, where he was told of the story of the Queen, her fall to King Solomon’s Seduction and the Dynasty their night together birthed in Ethiopia. According to Juwon he composed this piece because of its historical significance and he also felt that it was an interesting story to retell in an epic way in an opera performance.
The Pandemic did not in any way deter him from attaining more achievements as he has done not less than three actual performances online which include the classical song recitation done in June, another done in July with the Lyrical choir an online choir he leads, and another in October with an organization on Black history month featuring the works of Ignatius Sancho.
He is greatly pleased with the present generation in Nigeria who are striving in the music industry, unlike his time, the present generation has great appreciation for classical music and instrumentals, as this has broadened the sphere of music, making more possibilities of what music can be. He advices young composers and opera singers to be frequent in the act of doing, to be committed, to continually develop their talent and skills, to do more research and showcase their arts instead of waiting to be picked. To him music is a symbol and Africans should learn to play it in ways that tell our uniqueness, stories and directly our ways of life.
Juwon will be hosting a christmas event online and he is inviting everyone to be part of the event and also anyone who would love to sing with him is very much welcome to do so.