Lekan Babalola

Award: MOBO Help Musicians Fund

Year: 2020

Genre: Jazz

Instrument/voice type: Percussion

Location: West Midlands

Website: lekanbabalola.com

Lekan Babalola a twice Grammy award-winning Nigerian master percussionist, curator, educator and artistic director.

Babalola was awarded a Grammy in 2006 for his work on Ali Farka Toure's ‘In the Heart of the Moon’. His second Grammy came in 2009 for his work with Cassandra Wilson on her album 'Loverly'.

As a musician, he has also worked with Gasper Lawal, Art Blakey, Ernest Ranglin, Branford Marsalis, Roy Ayers, Kate Luxmore, David Byrne, Joshua Redman, Damon Albarn, Tony Allen, Axelle Red, Pinse Saul, Queen Salawa Abeni and JeanToussaint.

In 2017 he co-founded the annual Birchfield Jazz Festival as a celebratory weekend of free music in Birmingham, UK. Babablola studied filmmaking at Central St Martins and the Northern School Of Film and Television in the 1990's, going on to work on the post-production of Spike Lee's Malcolm X.

In 1995 he founded the IFA-YORUBA CONTEMPORARY ARTS TRUST, a registered charity committed to fostering the development of Yoruba arts and culture. In 2011 he established the AFRICA DIASPORA CONTEMPORARY ARTS COMPANY, a Nigeria-based and registered non-profit, to promote African art and culture in Africa and beyond.
Help Musicians' support shall enable me to document the Journey of the drums an comprehensive historical journey from Yorubaland, Africa to the New World. I will compose original music inspired by research into the drums and percussion patterns of West Africa, Yoruba drumming and Yoruba traditional sacred songs. I will rehearse (at a social distance) in Birmingham with a Birmingham based band and special guests from the African Diaspora. I will document rehearsals and a performance to create a film and also live stream a performance in December 2020.