Tosin Aribisala

Tosin Aribisala

Los Angeles, CA | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE

Los Angeles, CA | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2010
Band World Jazz




"Tosin Aribisala - Afrika Rising"

Nigerian composer, vocalist and percussionist Tosin Aribisala has very wide-ranging musical interests that cross multiple genres. As a young boy his initiation to music came via his father’s record collection, where he found inspiration in albums by jazz drummer Art Blakely and the “master drummer of Afrobeat” Tony Allen. Following his passion in Nigeria had its limitations, however, since neither American jazz nor drum sets were not popular in the country at that time. After relocating to the U.S., Tosin made a name for himself as a versatile percussionist who can add that “special something”—namely the complex polyrhythms of African grooves—via his drum set. Those who have benefited from his talents include musicians ranging from Taj Mahal and Spyro Gyra to Fatoumata Diawara and Femi Kuti, a testament to his ability to bridge the music of two continents.

Tosin’s latest release, Áfríkà Rising, likewise draws from both North American and Africa traditions. In May 2017, he returned to his roots in Lagos, Nigeria, recording half of the album live with a group of young musicians including guitarist Biodun Kuti (currently touring with Paul Simon), bass player Kayode Kuti (formerly with Fela Kuti’s Egypt80), keyboardist Oluwadamilare Akinyede, and drummer Michael Oloyede (NNB/Native Brains), plus a horn section and background vocalists. Songs from this set include the R&B influenced “Jayesimi” that calls for an end to deception and illusions, the exploratory jazz track “Sunday Evening Mood,” and the grooving funk tune “Bekun Pe” featuring Samson Olawale on congas. Tosin’s vocal contributions come to the fore on the Afro-jazz track “Asiko”:

The remaining songs were recorded primarily in Maryland, and on this half of the album Tobin leads a group of American and Nigerian musicians through songs centered on “hope, love and human realities.” A highlight is without a question the title track, “Afrika Rising,” a tour-de-force of polyrhythmic layered percussion and funky horns with a female backing chorus and sizzling guitar solo by Olakunle Afolabi. The album concludes with “Meje Meje,” an upbeat, celebratory song featuring Canadian pop singer Sarah Melody.
On Áfríkà Rising, Tosin Aribisala shares music composed over the last five years, performed as an intricate fusion of Afrobeat, jazz, funk and R&B by musicians from two continents.

Reviewed by Brenda Nelson-Strauss - Black Grooves

"Tosin Live at Analog in Brooklyn"

The Nigerian-American singer/songwriter and drummer Tosin played at Analog down in the part of Gowanus, Brooklyn that’s somehow still pretty industrial. Drawing from his new album Africa Rising, Tosin and his band enthusiastically ripped through a set of Afrobeat-inflected tunes.

There’s a reason rhythm is right in the name of “Afrobeat,” as the name of Fela Kuti’s drummer Tony Allen is nearly as well known as his lead singer, but seeing Tosin leading his band from behind the drum kit still felt like a revelation. Or maybe it has just been a while since I’ve seen a singer/drummer.

The band kept things tight and upbeat for the live show, eschewing the variation heard on the record. Saxophone, keyboards and trumpet traded solos, while Tosin and the bass strutted in lockstep under it all.
Missed the name of the opening balafon player, but he was delightful. Will update when we get it.

Check Tosin out next chance you get. It's tight stuff. - Afropop WorldWide


1. What's On Your Mind - 2006
2. Mean What U Say - 2008

3. Life Begins - 2013

4. Afrika Rising - 2018



A renaissance entity in world music, the composer, drummer and vocalist Tosin Aribisala reflects dedication to African musical art, coupled with his exploration of jazz, funk, reggae, gospel, and Latin American music. His influences include King Sunny Ade, Fela Kuti, Manu Dibango, Art Blakey, and Sting. Effortlessly combining singing with drumming, Tosin writes and sings in Yoruba, Pidgin English and English.

 As a bandleader/producer, Tosin has released 5 albums and several singles. His latest album titled Afrika Rising (Ropeadope Records, 2018) proves his ability to unify musical concepts of his Nigerian roots with diasporic black music.

Having recorded and toured around the world with various artists, which includes Taj Mahal, Baba Maal, Fatoumata Diawara, Spyro Gyra, Femi Kuti, and many others, Tosin has really come of age with a sense of multiculturalism through music. His recent collaboration with Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra was a phenomenal cross-cultural exchange between Afrobeat and Latin music, with sold-out performances in New York. In recognition of his works, Tosin has received the Best World Music Compositions awards (2014, 2017) from the Maryland State Arts Council. Tosin has appeared on MTV’s Realworld Show as well as Fox 5.

Band Members