Sosimi is a top Afrobeat performer who was born in Hackney,
Going back to his school days in Nigeria to find out when he
first took a keen interest in music, he used the school piano
to teach himself to play Fela Kuti’s music. He recalls
his grandfather being a church organist who had a great influence
on his piano-playing. From age 14, Dele also started to play
guitar and was a backing singer in the school band "Hidden
Truth" after picking up a few foundational rudiments from
the music teacher at Igbobi College.
From 1980-1986 Dele was in Fela Kuti’s band Egypt 80.
They toured all over Europe and USA. Dele played keyboards on
many Fela/Egypt 80 hits such as ITT (International Thief Thief),
and Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense.
In the years 1987-1992 Dele was in Femi Kuti’s Jazz Quartet,
they toured Benin Republic, Togo, Ivory Coast and Ghana.
During 1986-1995 Dele toured France, Spain, Austria, Holland,
Belgium, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Denmark, USA, Canada, Ivory
Coast, Togo, Benin Republic and Ghana with Femi Kuti and the
Positive Force [co-founder].
Dele came to be based in Britain at the end of December 1995.
In 1996, he started playing as a resident musician in some of
London's Nigerian venues, initially playing as a duo, then later
on forming Gbedu Resurrection, which he led to several London
venues, such as the Africa Centre, Taylors and The Shrine. He
also played for two of the Nigerian Independence Day Functions
in 1997 and 1998, held at Hammersmith Palais and Lagoonda Nite
Club respectively. Dele's collaborations in this period included
working as lead pianist with The African Jazz Explosion All
Stars, lead by Claude Deppa and also with Lucky Ranku and the
African All Stars.
Top venues in London where Dele has played since 2000 include
the South Bank Halls and Smollensky’s. Dele started 2003
with a bang that can only be attributed to the successful release
of his album Turbulent Times at the beginning of 2002.
Following this, in 2003 Dele and his 14-piece strong Afrobeat
Orchestra stormed and rocked the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London,
the x.trax showcase in Manchester, the Respect
Festival at the Millenium Dome in Greenwich and
the Jazz Café. Another highlight was at London's Africa
Day 2007. Internationally Dele has performed in Holland, Mexico
City, Canada and Norway.
Sosimi now performs in three formats – as the Afrobeat
as a 6-piece group,
called Dele Sosimi’s
other as a minimum 10-piece Afrobeat Orchestra. Some of Dele
Sosimi’s original compositions currently being played
include ‘Gbedu 1’, ‘Big Cat Fat Cat’,
‘Turbulent Tymes’, ‘Di Godfada’ &
‘Phase 2 (What Next?)’. Others include; ‘Wahala
O’, ‘Solid Block’, ‘Stop it Don’t
Do That’, ‘No Place To Be Shy’ and ‘Suru
Dele selected the tracks for the 3-CD compilation entitled Essential
Afrobeat (2004). He was producer and co-writer of Calabash
Volume 1: Afrobeat Poems by Ikwunga, the Afrobeat Poet
(2004). He is a central member of the Wahala Project, whose
single 'Wahala' appears on Puma's 2006 Soccer World Cup
Compilation CD (2006).The tracks 'Turbulent Times' and
'Di Bombs' are on Sound Affects Africa (2006). Another
track, 'Gbedu 1' is included on the compilation Afrobeat
…No Go Die! (2000). Dele's
eagerly awaited second album is Identity (2007), full
of more of Dele's unique style.
Dele says that his children are very interested in his music
and are currently learning different instruments. He goes on
to say “I aspire to be great in what I do and this is
a continuous thing. Also to be a role model to other musicians.”
and “Life throws challenges all the time. The ability
to take on the challenges to the best of your current ability
will make you better prepared for the next ones.”
As a composer, singer
and entertainer Dele has incorporated the piano
into his Afro-groove and is popular for his percussive style
of delivering the block chords first introduced and used tirelessly
by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Dele Sosimi has been dubbed the King
of Afrobeat piano and he works as an educator too.
Any one who has seen Dele on stage with his band will confirm
that he is definitely the talk of the town! His
own web site address is www.delesosimi.org