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In addition to having a pretanatural sensibility for percussion in post-modern improvisational music, Lekan Babalola is a curator at heart. Founder of the Ifa-Yoruba Contemporary Arts Trust, his singular passion has been to elucidate and bring full forward the culture and arts of the Yoruba, encompassing the wide range of its expression in Africa and the diaspora.
Babalola started his career playing in the Yoruba-Christian church owned by his father, Olayiwola Babalola. As his skills as a master percussionist grew, he was invited to join Gasperlawal in 1980. His career continued with performances with the likes of Fela Kuti, Ernest Ranglin, Roy Ayers, Tony Allen, Branford Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Pinse Saul, Queen Salawa, Abeni, Axelle Red, Kllb Band, Bola Are, Jean Toussaint, Tessa Souter.
His album with Mr Bongo, Songs of Icon, is an unique recording that draws it’s musical influences and inspiration from Santeria, an Afrocuban version of IFA. The album is a double CD featuring originals and remixes of most of the songs by the top names in the broken beat/ leftfield scene, thus targeting the 'world music' and dance markets. Remixers include Mark de Clive Lowe, Afronaut, Misa Negra, IG Culture and Le Pico.
Babalola's 2nd single Asokere was remixed by IG Culture and became HMV's 'Broken Beat Single Of The Week' and was an anthem on the underground scene. It featured on Africanism Vol 3 released through Defected in the UK and also appeared on Gilles Peterson's 'In Africa' compilation released in 2005.
Lekan is currently touring and working extensively with Blue Note Records recording artist Cassandra Wilson
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