Okeho Creatives: Genres of Yoruba poetry can be modified to suit our faith- Adedayo

Pastor Adedayo Idowu also known as Akewi Korin Igbala is a renowned Gospel Poet from Okeho, Kajola Local Government area of Oyo State. He was born over 6 decades ago. He started his elementary education at First Baptist Primary School, Isia, Okeho before proceeding to Baptist Secondary Modern School, Okeho. Thereafter, he moved to the Baptist College, Iwo, Osun State and later to Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo State where he studied PHE/Yoruba. He underwent his mandatory National Youth Service at Government Teachers College, Birnin Yauri in the then Sokoto state but now in Kebbi State. Afterwards, he studied at the Ondo State University, now Ekiti State University where he bagged his first degree.

The Retired Teacher cum Pastor had a discussion with our correspondent, Kayode Awojobi, on his foray into Gospel Poetry amongst others, excerpts below-

PDC: How did you come about poetry rendition and music?

Adedayo Idowu: Actually right from my childhood, I was really interested in music and oral literature. I had the opportunity to reside with one Baba at Elekuku via Adekunle village during my childhood; he was an herbalist, so whenever he chanted the Ifa panegyric, I used to be carried away with the dictions of the chant. So, when I started schooling, the opportunities to showcase the art of music and poetry came during the end of the session programme. So when I got to higher class in my primary school, I joined the choir of First Baptist Church, Isia, Okeho.

Poetry itself started in my final year in the secondary school, I dropped the rascality in the modern school without anyone preaching to me and I felt the newness of life and the following day, when I got to school, I started preaching and I was made the senior prefect because I was brilliant. Then in secondary school, it was something of pride to have a girlfriend, as the senior prefect, I thought it was uncalled for and I started thinking of how to curb this ungodly behaviour. I listened to a poetry rendered by Olanrewaju Adepoju and I was thrilled, so, I picked up my pen and paper to write a poem on the act of fornication and other juvenile delinquencies in the school then. I could remember I pointed to a student in the poetry who told his parents that he wanted to buy some books, of which he divided DICTIONARY into syllable and this made him to collect the sum of money worth four textbooks.

I rendered the poetry during the literary and debate programme and my teachers were really happy with the poem and this made them to include my poem in the school magazine for that year and my teachers supported me. It was that same year I gained admission to Baptist College, Iwo. 

PDC: You are a poet, musician, song writer. How are you coping with this time consuming arts?

Adedayo Idowu: To the glory of God, I don’t feel it, because I write down the verses as I get inspired and I write anywhere. This is why I usually have a pen and a paper handy. So, I don’t feel the stress at all. I could remember a funny scenario when I was receiving a lecture during my undergraduate days, when the inspiration came; I started writing the poem in my notebook. So, I enjoy writing effortlessly.

PDC: As someone who is well educated, does your level of education has any impact on your creative exploits?

Adedayo Idowu: My education has really impacted my proficiency and development. The activities back then from my primary school, ranging from Literary and Debate and joining the cultural group at the College, all of these had great impact on me.  Having studied PHE/Yoruba at the NCE level and I studied Yoruba Education at the University had really aided my proficiency.

PDC: Who are the poets and musician that influenced your career?

Adedayo Idowu: Chief lanrewaju Adepoju, Olatunbosun Oladapo, Late Adebayo Faleti and  Alabi Ogundepo.

PDC: Various indigenous forms of poetry renowned amongst the Yoruba Ijala, rara, oriki orile and others are gradually fading away. What do you think can be done to revive this culture?

Adedayo Idowu: Well, these arts can be modified to suit our faith. The intonation and the knowledge of all these forms of poetry can be used to influence our religion. In my second album, I could remember I made use of the iyere ifa intonation to sing praises to God. So those who are actually talented should channel it in the right way.

PDC: What are the challenges you’ve faced and still facing since you started your career in poetry and music in general?

Adedayo Idowu: The issue of money is one of the challenges. So as often said, if you lack money, you lack idea. So, coming from a humble background has really affected me but my passion had kept me going. I am emphasizing on money because working towards releasing albums really gulps a lot of money. God has been faithful through the help of some people. My first and second album gave me recognition at radio service of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State, Radio OYO. They did the auditioning for me then and I started as a freelancer.

PDC: How many albums do you have to your credit?

Adedayo Idowu: I released my first album in 1978 and I have released up to 21 albums. There are other albums that I released for community consumption. I didn’t count them with those 21, but I have like 10 albums for community consumption and my albums are combination of poetry and music, in total, it is about 31 albums.

PDC: Within the creative circles, how have you projected Okeho through your arts?

Adedayo Idowu: Okeho… I am projecting Okeho through my arts and for many interview that I have done in the past, I always made it known in those interview that I am from Okeho. During the centenary celebration of return to origin of Okeho, I released a special album during the celebration too. In my albums, I used the onko dialects that we speak here, just to identify myself with the town. So, I am always proud of my nativity. When there was political uproar that is affecting our community here, I released an album then and when we were without a king for 14 years, I released an album then as well to talk on the matter.

PDC: Are you currently working on any poetry or song?

Adedayo Idowu: There is one that ought to be launched but was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but I am still working on another album.

PDC: Is any of your children taking after you?

Adedayo Idowu: Yes… my first son, though he is not into poetry, but he sings also, he is a graduate of music from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. The second born is also interested in this arts and she knows almost my entire album, she read linguistic and African studies also in OAU. The last born also plays keyboard, although he studied Computer Science. So, I can say that they all took after me.

PDC: What is your word of encouragement to those looking up to you?

Adedayo Idowu: They need to be dogged. No pain, no gain. They should imbibe the dignity of labour as we value that in Yoruba land and Africa as a whole. They should desist from the love of money. So, parents should train their children to fear God.  

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