RIDDIM DOCTORS' DEBUT SINGLE “AJAJA.”
Song remake features the late Babatunde Olatunji, “world music pioneer” (CNN)
Two-time GRAMMY-Award winner Sikiru Adepoju, a Nigerian talking drum and other traditional drums master, is unveiling his new collaborative project The Riddim Doctors’ with the album’s vibrant debut single “Ajaja.” the song is available across all digital platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and more.
“Ajaja” is a fresh take on legendary drummer Babatunde Olatunji’s previously produced and released by Mickey Hart of Grateful Dead. The new version features his powerful lead vocals, combined with a careful blend of percussion and musical instruments created to lift the spirit of the listener. The song begins with a performance from Tabla drums king, Zakir Hussain and followed by the pop-styled vocal delivery of Bola Abimbola. The single and forthcoming nine-track album OPE, which means “give thanks.”
Sikiru’s brainchild, The Riddim Doctors is made up of himself and his brother Saminu Adepoju as well as Peter Fujii, Giovanni Hildalgo, Ian Herman, Richard Nagan, Femi Ojetunde and Douglas Val Serrant.
“The Riddim Doctors is a project I started to continue to celebrate African roots music while also giving it new life and blending it with other flavors,” Adepoju said. “‘Ajaja’ is the perfect first song to be released because it embodies the heart of the entire project. ‘Ajaja’ is a calling of the ancestral spirits, appreciating their contributions and presence as we celebrate life for a common good. The hope behind this album is to unite people in celebration of life and goodness.”
MansMark Records exists to honor and celebrate the life of Babatunde Olatunji whose 93rd birthday commemoration is April 7 of this year. Its mission is to celebrate Olatunji’s legacy by using his music to promote love, peace, and elevation of humanity. That is exactly what “Ajaja” does, and MansMark Records is excited for the world to hear this inspiring version of “Ajaja,” especially at this crucial time as the world faces the Coronavirus pandemic. The hope is that the song serves as a healing remedy for the current weak spirit of the global community.
The infectious rhythms weaved into “Ajaja” permeate the entire nine-track album. The groovy project will feature stars including Dave Schools of Widespread Panic, Jeff Chimenti of Rat Dog and Dead & Company, Osam Ezzeldin, Paul Tao El-Shaddai, Joel Smith, Bola Abimbola, Audio Angel (Rashida Clendening), Lindsey Schust, Jay Lane of Rat Dog and Sammy Fayoseh. The forthcoming album will release in spring of 2020.
Sikiru Adepoju (pronounced Seek-ee-roo Ah-deh-po-joo) is a master of the talking drum and many other Yoruba percussion instruments. Born in Eruwa, Nigeria, Sikiru hails from the traditional lineage of Yoruba talking drummers culturally referred to as Ayan which means “one who has descended from drummers lineage,” and began playing under the tutelage of his father Chief Ayanleke Adepoju at the age of six. Along with his brothers Saminu and Lasisi, Sikiru accompanied the family’s talking drum ensemble for several years.
After moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1985 with Orlando Julius Ekemode and The Nigeria All Stars, Sikiru later joined the influential and pioneering Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji and his Drums of Passion. This marked a lengthy period of high productivity from Sikiru which saw him recording and performing throughout the world until a year before Olatunji’s death in 2003. During this period he was introduced to Grateful Dead drummer, Mickey Hart, who has called Sikiru “The Mozart of the talking drum,” and employed him on many of his personal projects including the Grammy award winning albums Planet Drum (1991) and Global Drum Project (2008). He is currently performing with the Mickey Hart Band in support of their album Mysterium Tremendum which features Sikiru’s vocals on the track “Who Stole the Show.”
Sikiru also lead his own group Africa Heartbeat which gave birth to the album “Ijinle Ilu” in 2003. The album captured the attention of world music listeners and DJs with the groups’ ability to draw from the hypnotic rhythms originating in the Juju and Highlife music of the Yoruba region of Nigeria. Adding to his production credits is the debut album of the dynamic group African Showboyz from Ghana. The album titled “Celebrate!” was released in 2013.
Sikiru has shared the stage or recorded with many of music’s finest including The Grateful Dead, Stevie Wonder, Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana, Ornette Coleman, Airto Moreira,
Zakir Hussein, Pharaoh Sanders, Dave Schools, George Porter Jr., Widespread Panic,
The String Cheese Incident, Forgotten Space, Dark Star Orchestra, Terrapin Flyer,
Steve Kimock, Muruga Booker, Flora Purim, Avotcja Jiltonilro, John Santos, Mark Karan,
Scott Guberman, David Gans, David Price, Dorothy Masuka, Herbie Hancock, Randy West, Perry Robinson, Mark Whitecage, Melvin Seals, Jerry Joseph, Joan Baez and many more.
It is his versatility, skill, good humor, and willingness to push the limits of his drumming and his music which has gained Sikiru acceptance and respect among his peers and music listeners of all tastes. Sikiru Adepoju’s unwavering determination to effect a wider audience with his infectious magical drum is what gave birth to his new project the Riddim Doctors.
Sikiru Adepoju’s talking drums could be distinctively heard on “My Child” a track on Youssou Ndour’s latest album “History.”
Richie “Shakin” Nagan
Richie “Shakin’” Nagan is a guitarist, percussionist and singer. He has played guitar and sang with the trio, Who Knows?, which featured free jazz icons Perry Robinson on clarinet, pan flute and ocarina and Mark Whitecage on altos sax and wooden flute. On his 37th birthday he was stage managing Muruga’s Global Village Ceremonial Band, standing behind the keyboard player. The band was playing Muruga’s and Merl Saunder’s tune, “Blues from the Rainforest” when the keyboard player, Ken Kozara, said to him, “Don’t just stand there.” Richie asked, “What should I do?” and Ken handed him some shakers and said, “Play!” Richie started shaking and he has been shaking ever since.
Born in Detroit and grew up in the melting pot of the San Francisco Bay Area. The magical guitarist Peter Fujii is a gumbo of rich and diversed musical style. His exposure to different cultures and various styles of music such as Blues, Jazz, Rock, Latin, African, Classical and the unique style of Oaktown funk made it easy for him to blend and blur musical lines. Peter Fujii hopes that this kind of world fusion will help bring the hearts and minds of people together. Mr. Fujii has been blessed to have worked with Estter Phillips, Pharaoh Sanders, Hank Crawford, Steve Ferrone, David Garribaldi, Hilton Ruiz, Giovanni Hidalgo, Sikiru Adepoju, James Levi, Rusty Allen, Dramatics, Chris Issac, producer Quincy Jones, Bernard Edwards, George Lucas, Thomas Dolby, “Howard the Duck” movie just to name a few. “Victims of the Groove” is his latest project.
FEMI OJETUNDE, also known as FEMDOUBLE is a Nigerian-born music producer, songwriter and entrepreneur. Femi’s love for music and creativity developed very early on as a child and in his own words “music has always been a part of me, as far back as I can remember even before I could speak”. His professional career has spanned over three decades, starting from his country Nigeria and spreading to different counties of the world.
Prior to migrating to the United states, he worked with the best and well known Nigerian artists, few of which includes KING SUNNY ADE, TINA “AFRICAN OYINBO” ONWUDIWE, ONYEKA ONWENU, MIKE OKRI, DELE TAIWO, SHINA PETERS, DELE BAMGBOYE, OLIVER DE COQUE, CHARLIE BOY, SUNNY NNEJI, MANDATORS and the list is not exhaustive.
His excellent work and contribution to the Nigerian music industry was first recognized with the highly prized “music producer of the year”. He became one of the youngest Nigerians to ever receive such award. In quest for more in music and with a desire to be the best, Femi migrated to the United States of America to further develop and enhance his production abilities and creativity. Some of the artists he has worked with include 2PAC, E-40, KRAYZIE BONE, LISA “Left Eye” LOPEZ, CEE-LO GREEN, JENNIFER HUDSON, GINUWINE, BRIELLE, BOBBY LYLE “Jazz Pianist”, TECH N9NE, TQ, B-LEGIT, OUTLAWZ, JUVENILE, C-BO, MAC MALL, SPICE 1, RBL-POSSE, MAC DRE, BIG SKYE, RICHIE RICH, PSD, FEDERATION, KOFO “the Wonderman”, 2FACE IDIBIA, ADANNA DURU (American Idol Season 14- Top 10), SERAYAH (Cast member FOX number 1 show Empire) and Pop Icon DEBBIE GIBSON.
Femi’s music has been featured in numerous TV shows/movies including ANNA NICOLE SMITH SHOW (MTV), THE SHIELD (FX Television Network), DRIVEN. (VH1), BEHIND THE MUSIC (VH1), BOOTYCALL (JAMIE FOX), TRIPPIN, DEAD TONE (7EVENTY 5IVE), NCIS LOS ANGELES (CBS Television Network), THE CHALLENGE (MTV). He has scored a series of documentaries executive produced by QUINCY JONES III, QUINCY JONES, including THUG ANGEL (Life of an outlaw), BEEF 1, BEEF 2, BEEF 3, FRESHEST KIDS, LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT, BEASTS OF NO NATION (Netflix Movie), DEBBIE GIBSON…BOX SET “30 Year Celebration, VICTORIA SECRET (TV COMMERCIAL), NARS (TV COMMERCIAL), STAR TV SERIES featuring QUEEN LATIFAH….FOX TELEVISION and more.
Saminu Adepoju is the junior brother of Sikiru Adepoju. Saminu started playing the talking drums from six years old and joined the family tradition of performing at ceremonies and festivities at nine years old. Saminu Adepoju a Nigeria master drummer with a unique drumming style took over his brother’s position at Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey and The Inter Reformers Band when Sikiru elected not to travel with Ebenezer Obey to the United States on a tour in 1985 based on personal reasons. Saminu recorded several albums and toured with the band throughout Europe, Belgium, Dubai, Canada, Holland, France and United States. He was with the band for a total of thirty three years.
Saminu also performed and recorded with other leading Nigerian Juju and Fuji bands such as Dayo Kujore, Dele Taiwo, Sir Semo Winter and Saheed Osupa. He recorded a total of forty albums among the bands mentioned
Douglas Val Serranti
Douglas Val Serrant the master steel drummer popularly known as Val Serrant is from The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago. He has been playing music since childhood. Mr. Serrant decided to make SteelDrum his main instrument after playing drums for several years. He sings and plays traditional drums plus many other percussion instruments. Val also plays the Kalimba among other instruments. His one -man-band has taken him from the Caribbean to Africa and many other parts of the world.
Val Serrant the educator joined the UC Berkeley music department in 2003 where he taught Caribbean music. He’s also a faculty member at Vox Mundi School of the Voice & Sound.
Val Serrant has performed with the following artists: Avotcja & Modupe, The Journey, Jazzological Music-Octry, Sistas-Wit-Style, The Salt People, and many others.
Ian Herman a master drummer started playing drums in the church at 14 years old in his native country of South Africa. He moved to the United State in 1991, and currently resides in Californian. Mr. Herman is a founding member of the South African defunct group TANANAS which was formed in 1987. The band gained global attention leading them to perform in United State, Australia, France, Japan, Sweden and various other countries around the world. The union of the celebrated performing Trio ended in 1994 following the death of Gito Baloi, who also co-founded the group.
Ian has performed and recorded with several well- known artists such as: Hugh Masekela, Vusi Mahlasela, Ernest Ranglin, Duran Duran, African Showboyz, Abdullah Ibrahim, Paul Simon, Habib Koite, Rene McLean, Miriam Makeba, Noise Khanyile, Mickey Hart, Kalahari Surfers, Soweto String Quartet, Deepak Ram, Hamsa Lila, Paul Hanmer, Ancient Future, Sting, and many more.
Giovanni Hidalgo the legendary Latin jazz percussionist, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico started drumming at five years old. Giovanni was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, His grandfather was a musician, and his father, Jose Manuel Hidalgo “Manengue”, was a renowned conga player. Hidalgo was raised in a household surrounded by drums, bongos, congas, and timbales. For his eighth birthday, he received a conga which was handmade by his father. As a young child he practiced and developed his skills on the conga and on other instruments in his house. Hidalgo would drum a tune with sticks and then play the same tune with his hands.
In 1985, Hidalgo was performing with Eddie Palmieri at the Village Gate in New York City when Dizzy Gillespie walked in and listened to him play. Gillespie was so impressed with Hidalgo that he told him that someday in the future they must get together and play. In 1988 Hidalgo joined Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra. It was his association with United Nation Orchestra that paved way for his collaboration with Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. Airto and Flora introduced Giovanni to Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, and Mr. Hidalgo later became the newest and youngest of Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum project.
Giovanni Hidalgo’s magical style of playing drums has allowed him to travelled around the world with Tito Puente, Carlos Santana, Art Blakey, Dave Valentin, Pacquito D’Rivera and many more. Mr. Hidalgo has recorded with Cameo, Paul Simon, Riddim Doctors, Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum and others. In 1991 Giovanni’s performances on the Planet Drum project rewarded him with a Grammy Award.
Giovanni the master drummer has worked with several musicians such as: Zakir Hussain, Bola Abimbola, Sikiru Adepoju, Muruga Booker, Jack Bruce, Don Byron, Candido Camero, D’Angelo, Paulinho da Costa, Steve Gadd, Sammy Hagar, Kip Hanrahan, Cassius Khan, Airto Moreira, Charlie Palmieri, Hilton Ruiz, Carlos “Patato” Valdes, and many more.
For several years the musical instruments manufacturer Latin Percussion (LP) has been engraving Giovanni Hidalgo’s name on their instruments in an endorsement agreement deal.
In 1992, Hidalgo was hired as an adjunct professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He taught many types of rhythm: Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Reggae, African, and jazz. He held this academic position until 1996.
In May 2010, Hidalgo was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music during the sixteenth consecutive year that faculty members from the school visited Puerto Rico for one of its global outreach programs.