Tosin's Muse (BLOG)

Connected to the Universe 

Lately, It's been one scenario of serendipity to another for me in the arts community, as I have been walking into some good old friends that I have shared the stage or studio with at some time or the other in the past. We had lost contacts but never lost the psyche connection. Some have been looking for me without my knowledge, and then we suddenly connected by divine intervention, such as randomly stopping by a coffee shop instead of going home and then the next person in line happens to be that bassist you last performed with in 2005 or a guitarist you last gigged with in 2010, and never saw or talked to ever since. The interesting thing is one thing always leads to another. Walking into an ongoing studio production by a veteran producer and being randomly asked to join the production and create on the spot is nothing but magical - giving birth to a completely new project. It's all about being in the moment, and ever-ready to flow. Being connected to the universe and holding on to the purpose of life and music make all things come together in the right direction at the right time.    

New Videos on the Way 

Precious People!

Tosin was recently in Lagos, Nigeria for some recordings, which included video shoots. This project was carried out as part of Tosin's desire to create new music with Lagos-based musicians, to capture the raw energy of the ever-bubbling and vibrant city. Some of the musicians on the project were veterans in the game, while majority of them were newbies but super talented. The collaboration between the old and the new is always great, and a testimony that a society is always complete when there is great harmony between older generation, middle-ground generation, and the new. The music covered were Tosin's new compositions, one of which was dedicated to his late father, who recently passed in 2017. The song is titled Bekun Pe - a mid-tempo funky tune, with some South-African guitar feel, catchy horns, and a wicked conga solo by the veteran Samson Olawale. The videos of the Lagos Live Sessions will be dropping soon. Stay tuned. 

Cell-Free Half-Day 

We live in the age of constant attachment to the small electronic gadget called cellphone. I sometimes find it annoying being on my phone all the time, checking all sorts of things from text messages to emails, social media apps and other apps just for the fun of it. But recently I developed the habit of leaving the phone at home or in the car while I go about running some errands and appointments. One Saturday morning, I left the phone at home. Not only did I accomplish all my tasks on time, I was able to drive completely hands-free, and I walked with full attention to where I was going, with more awareness of my surroundings. It does feel strange not to have your cellphone on you, but it was also very liberating, and the world did not turn upside down. The truth is, we once lived at a time when there were no cellphones, talk less of smartphones with all the possibilities they offer. Yet, life went on smoothly. My new habit is somewhat a reliving of the past, and I am loving it. 

Collabo Situations 

When we encounter the unplanned for, it is said to be a serendipity. In making some things work out in art, I try not to always hold on to some rules or theories on how things must be. I just allow things to take shape and unfold mysteriously. This usually leads to a happy ending for me. Since the beginning of 2017, I have been getting calls for collaborations from different artists on different levels; some for vocals, some for joint songwriting, joint music workshop, and some for joint live performance features. I never fully had these ideas in mind prior to the new year, but when the pattern keeps repeating itself, I just let it be and accept the new artistic reality for me. The fact of the matter is to keep an open mind, and be willing and able to take wheel when art calls for a new shift in paradigm. This will allow us to evolve and get refreshed and relevant, rather than getting stuck in a particular mode of operation. I am having some musical bliss at this point in my career. 

Cheers! 

Drummer's Health 

Lack of good food and proper diet can make the drummer weak. Legs may shake while drumming. This usually leads to ilukulu (bad grooves). It is essential to rest well. This will help to balance energy, as drumming is physically demanding. What happens when a drummer doesn't rest well is that his/her limbs, brain and groove may begin to rapala (drag). 
Therefore, a drummer must be of sound mind and physically fit. Eat one (or two) boiled egg in the morning along with whole grain oatmeal or cereal. Eat some solid food (with carbs) in the afternoon, and some soup or vegetables in the evening. Drink a lot of water from time to time. And it shall be well. That way, the drum will never beat the drummer. Shine your eyes! 

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Communal Spirit 

I support communal spirit in cultures that still believe in people living together as one, sharing and caring for one another. Religions, race(ism), political agendas and greed divide people and families. If you don't share my religious faith, then you are doomed. What nonsense! Some clergymen/women across different faiths, traditional rulers and political leaders are guilty of this divisive schemes out of ignorance and lower consciousness of their surroundings and beyond.

My experience when growing up was seeing people as one - a world where Muslims & Christians inter-celebrated Christmas & Eid al-Fitr, and even inter-married and lived happily. And that's simply because we care about our humanity first, not about our differences. A neighbor can correct or scold your child if they were caught misbehaving in your absence. If your car is stuck on the highway in the middle of the night and in the middle of nowhere, and then suddenly a "good Samaritan" appears to help, would you care about his/her beliefs compared to yours or his/her humanity at that given point in time? Would the rich care if their children shared the same playground as the poor?

The rain does not fall on one man's roof alone. The sun shines for all. We breathe the same air. So, what's our wahala (problem)? Abeg, I rest my muse for now! And mind my groove business for ALL to dance to.

Alter Ego 

To the trained musician, almost every sound of music is viewed with some level of critical eye. To the lay person, the technical aspect of music is far from his/her grasp. People just want to enjoy the sound of music. And good or "poor" music is subjective to the taste of the listener. 
This critical angle can diminish such practitioner's enjoyment of a piece of music, unlike the lay person who listens with excitement. If everyone listens with a critical/technical mind, hardly will there be many fans of music or pure enjoyment of music for the fun of it. 
Balance is paramount in dealing with different sides of life. Thus, some alter ego can be a wonderful approach to musical consumption by the music practitioner, listening like a lay person; foregoing the musician's mindset for a minute. Quite a number of musicians have not been able to release their own works because of this hard critical view, even when the music is sounding very good to everyone else. What a pity! When you attend a concert with such folks, be prepared to hear some unnecessary rants. What a pity! I have been guilty at some point too. But I found redemption (song) :-). I rest my thoughts. - Tosin's Thinking Corner. 
 

No to Self 

  
There's no such thing as "self-taught" or "self-made"; for nothing comes out of a vacuum. The saying that "I am because you are" and "No man/woman is an island" make a lot of sense in this regard. We may be tempted to say we achieved some things on our own, but pre-existing forces (supernatural and natural) and current human resources through cultures and economics make some things possible by influencing and/or inspiring our thoughts and actions indirectly or directly. I rest my thoughts. - from Tosin's Thinking Corner.

Beware of Braggarts 

  

You wanna know why I don't allow anyone other than the musicians and engineers I am working with into the studio whether I am recording or rehearsing? I will tell you the reason. I have encountered some musicians who were never part of a production or band, but just because they were privileged to gain access into the studio at the time an artist is working they go about bragging about their input in the recording process of some successful musicians, and these braggarts also complain bitterly about not getting credits for their so-called inputs. Some even claimed that they produced certain artists but it went unrecognized.  

M question is, do they have some evidence, like written agreement, charts with their names on it as the arranger, audio recording with their voice or playing on it, photographs or a witness/es to these claims? No, they can't produce such evidence. They probably don't have any close association with the said artist. And I am sure if the artists they brag about were not successful, these "bad mouthers" won't be talking.  

Beware of who you invite to your recording sessions or rehearsals; or those who even invite themselves. I have a strict policy on that. And I have seen some artists do the same. You can't even go near the door if you are not part of the production crew. Let the braggarts keep their ideas to themselves or make their own album with it. But, on another note, let them talk for the sake of speech freedom. It might be a good promo. :) 
 

Hands of Possibilities 

In playing music on a musical instrument, it's not about having the best musical instrument or the most expensive, especially if it's not economically feasible for the artist. It's about making the best of music with whatever you have, whatever you can afford, whatever you are presented at a venue. The music, the skills, the touch, the ideas, the expressions are all inside of us. Remember that manufacturers of musical instruments will always tell you that you need the latest gear to sound good. That's just their own kind of expression. You just need to sincerely know when it's necessary for you to upgrade your gear. Possibilities always abound in the hands of those who believe. - Tosin's thinking corner.