Solá Akingbolá
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Solá Akingbolá

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"Reviews on Solá Akingbolá and his album “Roots to Routes”, ARC Music EUCD2114."

“Every so often an album commands our attention and respect, and Solá Akingbolá’s solo debut is a prime example. The Nigerian-born percussionist’s main gig is with the chart-topping, globe-trotting UK dance band Jamiroquai, but he found the time to make a traditional Yoruba drumming-inspired album with the help of a talented stable of musicians. Akingbolá writes and plays with exception depth and emotion – he composed, arranged and produced most of the 11 songs here with instrumentation that mostly consists of hand drums, percussion and vocals. Tracks such a “Ninu Opon Ori Tiwa,” and “Kulumbu Yeye” show off not only his ensemble’s nimble musicianship, but equally important, his song writing artistry. Simply put, every track on this disc is a standout, even if some of them are vignettes of three minutes or less. The more you listen, the more you hear, making Routes to Roots truly an aural expedition worth exploring many times over.”
Global Rhythm magazine, USA
- Global Rhythm magazine, USA

"Reviews on Solá Akingbolá and his album “Roots to Routes”, ARC Music EUCD2114."

“Sola Akingbola has been seasoning the sound of UK jazz/funk band Jamiroquai for a long time, but it's the drumming traditions of his native land that stir the pot on Routes To Roots: Yoruba Drums From Nigeria. An intricate mesh of talking drums, bata, sakara and small percussion builds or arrives full throttle on each track, often accompanied by vocals (in praise of the Orisha pantheon) and always providing polyrhythmic thrills that are never too busy or cluttered. A lot of this is rooted in the apala music of Nigeria's Muslim communities while some of the smoother passages are only a couple of guitars away from being juju. Still, the sounds here have their own sort of sophistication, with the interplay between the individual instruments constructing elaborate workouts that will thrill both percussion lovers and fans of African music cut to the core.
Jamiroquai can continue to be Akingbola's primary bread and butter so long as he also takes the occasional break to make discs as good as this.”
Tom Orr, World Music Central, USA

- Tom Orr, World Music Central, USA

"Reviews on Solá Akingbolá and his album “Roots to Routes”, ARC Music EUCD2114."

“I knew it was good when I heard a preview track on the Global Rhythm sampler disc last month. But last night I sat down and listened to most of Sola's "Routes to Roots." IT IS BRILLIANT! This album deserves much attention, in my opinion. I can't believe the depth of expression and compositional maturity ... especially predominately using "just" drums, percussion and vocals... It's one of the strongest African percussion albums I've heard in decades. The performances are spot on, the compositions are intriguing, and production/sound engineering just enhances everything… It has exceeded all my expectations ... and that's just with one listening! I'm sure subsequent hearing will reveal even more magic.”
Robert Kaye, Host of Global Rhythm’s Podcast, USA

- Robert Kaye, Host of Global Rhythm’s Podcast, USA

"Reviews on Solá Akingbolá and his album “Roots to Routes”, ARC Music EUCD2114."

“Although mainstream Afrobeat isn’t for everyone, Solá Akingbolá has scored a perfect hit with his take on the genre. Frankly, this excellent collection of songs based on traditional Nigerian drums and percussion will blow your mind, especially if you’re expecting a slick soul/funk hybrid along the lines of Akingbolá’s day-job band. Setting his songs to Yoruba poetry and arranging deep layers of close-harmony vocals, he brings the musical culture of his home country into stark relief without ever slipping into cheese Paul Simon-style Afro-rock. Genius. “
JMI, Rhythm magazine, UK

- JMI, Rhythm magazine, UK


ARC Music Production, EUCD 2114 Routes to Roots, Yoruba Drums from Nigeria - Solá Akingbolá



Solá Akingbolá
Percussionist with international, chart-topping band Jamiroquai, Solá Akingbolá has spent most of his life in London, UK, but his roots are in Oregun, Nigeria where he was born to Yoruba parents. Describing his relationship to Nigeria as a musical odyssey in which he finds his way home via exploration of the unique melodies, rhythmic structures and philosophical poetry of the Yoruba people, Solá reveals his passion for the language of music:

“I was always seduced by the sound of the Yoruba language and the way it was expressed within the drumming. When a Yoruba drummer plays, it’s not just music: he’s talking, reciting, teasing, invoking and praising. These qualities open up other worlds of interest for me that go beyond music; worlds that lead me to history, to the essence of my people.”

Inspired early on by Afro-fusion bands like Fela Kuti and Manu Dibango, Solá’s first journey into Yoruba music was playing percussion and then kit-drum for fellow UK/Nigerian percussionist Gasper Lawal of the Oro Band:

“Gasper opened my ears and eyes to a rhythmic perspective that I always felt, but due to a lack of knowledge and technique was unable to realize. The first music I heard was Yoruba. It was inside the language I heard my parents speaking and pulsing through the drumming I soaked up as a child, listening to my dad’s favourite Yoruba artists: King Sunny Adé, Ebenezer Obey, Ayinla Kollington, Yusuf Olatunji and Haruna Isola.”

Cutting his teeth on the jazz scene in the early 90s with the Ronny Jordan band and then finding his feet for the last decade in the jazz-funk of Jamiroquai, Solá has toured the world and played every major international venue. But no matter which route he takes as a musician he always returns to the same place - the tradition and culture that brings him home - Yoruba rhythm, language and poetry.

"I've worked with Solá for ten years on six albums and have found his technical skill unsurpassed. He is truly a master of his field and I look forward to his contribution on the next Jimiroquai project." - Jay Kay