Ifé: The gem from the East – Interview

Her focus on folklore and tradition sets her music apart, celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Eastern Nigeria.

Ifé, meaning ”light” (pronounced e-fay) has prepared for the traditional music scene, honing a soulful voice, compelling lyrics and appealing stage performances.

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Ifé Recycling folklore into contemporary alternative sound and afro-soul.

The multi-talented singer, songwriter from Anambra state, South-East Nigeria centres her music on African culture and heritage, researching traditional Igbo folk songs and interpreting them using alternative music and Pop. She calls it ”African soul and alternative music. Recycling folklore into contemporary alternative sound and afro-soul.’’

Iféchukwu Michael studied Music and Performing Arts, she plays Igbo traditional thumb piano, guitar, piano and other available percussion instruments. Starting a professional career in 2018.

Ifé has a major distribution deal with The Orchard – the distribution company of Sony Music Group. Recently, she was featured on BBC News (Igbo Segment) where she reiterated her choice of music as a profession.

Eyes of a Lagos Boy: Tell us about your last show in Onitsha (Eastern Nigeria)

Ifé: My last show titled ‘Ifé and You’, a concert that took place on the 23 February. It was a massive turn out of fans. First of its kind in the city of Onitsha. Many did not believe a secular artist could have such a live music outing, but we made it happen. And the people were asking for more.

What is traditional music to you?

It is my root, the beginning of my essence and that which I want the world to hear with the fusion of my mother tongue, culture, heritage and language for longevity.

Who are the artists you’ll like to work with and why?

I would like to work with Brymo, Asa, Angélique Kidjo, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Fatoumata Diawara, Femi Anikulapo Kuti, Sona Jobarteh and others because of their fusion and art.

Recently, you were in Lagos, what prompted your visit?

I came for interviews at TV and radio stations. I also had a performance at Nike Art Gallery where a culture exchange was hosted. I performed alongside the American consulate band.

Are you with any Recording Label?

None currently, it has been an independent effort. I have an EP of six tracks titled Dark light and Released songs prior to the EP.

Why the Oxymoron Dark Light in your last project?

Dark represents black Africa. Light portrays the greatness of the continent. The beauty of African art and how powerful we are as a people and the reason why we should come together and stand as one. The uniqueness of Africa. Against all odds and after despite all we as a people have been through we are still marching on with the conviction that Africa is the future

Can you tell us about your deal with a distribution company?

‘The Orchard’, which is a distribution arm of Sony Music distributes my content globally. We signed the deal in late 2019 and we kicked off with the release of Dark Light.

What do you think can increase the appreciation of traditional music by the mainstream?

I feel it is the onus of media houses to push traditional music same way they do for the mainstream; the fact is that we are already recycling the music and making some of the songs contemporary so they could appeal to all ages.

What should fans be expecting from you?

I will be releasing a song come May and I would love to keep everything on low for now.

-Interview by Bolaji Alonge

Bolaji Alonge is an actor, photographer and journalist from Lagos, Nigeria with more than a decade of experience in documenting history, looking for beauty where it is least expected. In May 2017, Bolaji organized his “Eyes of a Lagos Boy” photo exhibition at Freedom Park in Lagos.

His second solo exhibition “Urban Culture – Historical Continuity” was held at One Draw Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos in November 2018. In February 2019, Bolaji showcased his work at Baza Studio in New York. A third solo exhibition, “Black & White” was hosted at Quintessence, Lagos in July 2019.

In October 2019, he held the Afrobeat – The Legacy photo exhibition on Femi Kuti during Felabration.

A music journalist, Alonge is a regular at the Shrine, a grove of deep rhythms for those addicted to freedom. He has been documenting Femi for years and is a dedicated “shrine rat” himself.

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