KUBOYE KIDS FACE THE MUSIC
On December 1, 2007, Tamilore Kuboye will arrive Nigeria from her UK base. As she heads from the Muritala Mohammed Airport to her father’s Surulere-Lagos home, one thing will be prominent on her mind: how to translate all her talent and ideas into a blossoming music career that’ll do her father Tunde, and her late mother Fran proud. And the young lady, who was crowned the first ever Queen Afrik few years back is not alone on this quest. Her much more underground brother Baba also has is mind on music. Also based in the UK, Baba will join Tami by mid-December for what is now becoming a yearly ritual – spending xmas with their ageing father Tunde Kuboye (of Jazz 38 fame) and building bridges that’ll take them up the ladder of success in the fast-growing Nigerian music scene. To those familiar to Fran and Tunde Kuboye and their decades-old activities with Jazz 38 and the extended family, it will be unsurprising that their kids, despite having enjoyed the best of education in Nigeria and the UK are bowing to the lure of music. The art, it seems, is a family heritage that everyone strives to uphold; even though they are not bound to do so. And for Baba, who spoke to Glitterati beats in London on Sunday November 18, the time has never been more right for the second generation of Kuboyes to pick up their tools and continued where their parents stopped the work. Not that the older Kuboye has retired fully. But, with the death of his wife 10 years ago, with the dearth of Jazz music in Nigeria, and with age not being particularly fair to him, activities at jazz 38 have slowed down. Accompanied by his sister Tamilore, Baba spoke glowingly of their parents’ achievements, insisting that ‘all we’re trying to do is keep up the work, keep the flag flying. But in our own way’. Supporting her brother’s stand, Tami explains ‘we grew up with music around us, playing in the band and all that. So naturally, it’s a legacy we want to continue’. And the Kuboye kids are not just playing lip service to the venture.
Baba has a full album ready, while Tami has recorded songs to show her prowess. Unfortunately, die-hard fans of jazz 38 may be in for a bit of disappointment as Tami and Baba have settled for music of different hue. Baba’s upcoming album is a mix of urbane sounds; predominantly rap and hip hop, although the influence of jazz and afrobeat is unmistakable. For Tami, a soprano, it’s a blend of R&B and Soul with plenty of traditional African rhythm. The siblings are working with producers Femi ‘Nasty’ Oyenuga, Mr Skillz, Kwame Appah, and Seun Anikulapo Kuti who is their blood relation (their late Mother Fran was Fela Anikulapo- Kuti’s cousin) ‘Our father is very interested in what we do. He is very encouraging, he doesn’t even mind running around to make sure we get things right’, says Baba. ‘But at his stage, the last thing we want to do is burden him with our own stuff. That’s why we try to come home occasionally, to understudy the system and gradually introduce our materials’ ‘Mama’, a tribute to their late mother featuring Baba, Tami and another of their sibling, was released recently to commemorate the 10th anniversary of her death. Another video, (for the track ‘make you dance’) directed by Mr Skillz, is expected to debut on TV stations in a few weeks.