The Musical journey and Life of Olúdáisí David Àìná

Nigerian musicologist, composer, organist and scholar

Olúdáisí David Àìná is a Nigerian musicologist, composer, organist and scholar from the Yoruba ethnic group in southwest Nigeria. He was born into the family of Chief Giwa Àìná Akindele Agun and Mrs Felicia Iyalode Àìná on 9th of September 1963 in Akure, the western part of Nigeria. Chief Giwa Àìná Akindele Agun, his father, was a craftsman, beaded crown maker, builder, and a farmer. He was also a local councilor in Àkúrẹ́ of Ondo province in the defunct Western region of Nigeria for many years during the colonial era. He died in 1977 at the age of 93 just before David entered secondary school. Mrs. Felicia Iyalode Àìná, his mother, was a trader in food items. She died in 1986 at age of 62.

Education

David Àìná attended Ado Grammar School, Ado Ekiti for his secondary education. Subsequently, he proceeded to study music at the Lagos State College of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and the University of Lagos, Akoka, majoring in piano accompaniment, conducting, theory and composition.

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Throughout his years of studies, he was an outstanding student that he used to assist the lecturers in Choral classes, rehearsals and concert.

Journey into Music

David never had any serious musical background and prior to his secondary school, he never had any reasonable encounter with music. However, he used to follow his cousin to a Christ Apostolic Church for choir practice on certain occasions. Though that aroused his interests in a way but not to the fullest. The most profound of David’s pre-secondary school musical experience was when he learned how to play the harmonica (mouth organ) in less than 24 hours.

David Àìná had his first lessons in music when in form one (first year) at Ado Grammar School, Ado Ekiti. Immediately he resumed at Ado Grammar School, Àìná discovered music was on the time table and was so excited about it. He started learning how to play the harmonium on his own. Harmonium is an organ like keyboard instrument that makes sound by blowing air into free reeds.

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One Sunday in his class 2, the school was about to have its Evensong (evening service of the Anglicans), by the time the opening hymn was announced, there was nobody to play the organ, as their music teacher was not in sight. With much trepidation, David Àìná went to the Organ and played for the school. Later that year, the senior music teacher, Mr Túndé Faremi, discovered him through his young assistant, Mr Akin Osunniyi. Afterward, the school gave him a prize as the best student in music. 

Judges at chorale Competition L-R: Revd. Yemi Akinpelu, Sir ‘Emeka Nwokedi and Mr David Àìná

Getting into Form 3, David Àìná was appointed by the principal as the School Organist, first in the history of the school. David’s position was elevated to those of prefects in the school. So in third year (Form 3), he was a prefect along with those in fifth year (Form 5). That was a great privilege for David Àìná as a student and he remained the Organist of the school till he graduated. Being the Organist trusted the leadership of the school choir on him. He assisted the music teacher to organize rehearsals, teach some parts and of course accompany the choir.

Music Composition
David Olúdáisí and Professor Laz Ekwueme

David, as a student, used to try his hands in creating some tunes on the Organ to make his own composition. Consequently, he became a student composer. The most successful trial in composition in his form 4 (year 4) was a song he wrote for his school outgoing students. David’s teacher was very impressed that he ordered him to conduct the song. David’s parents were oblivious of all of these.

After his secondary education, David decided to study music in the higher educational institution. David Àìná’s mother couldn’t be bothered about his choice, all she wanted was David’s success whatsoever field he chose. However, his elder brother, who stood in as his father vehemently opposed David’s choice of music as course of study. This was even right from his secondary school days when he noticed it in his results. Eventually, David went ahead and studied music to the professional level.

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Of course, after secondary school, David went further to study under some great musicians and Organists like Kweku Acqua Harrison, Joseph Olubobokun, J. G. K. Johnson, Emeka Nwokedi, Joshua Uzuigwe, Tunji Vidal and Laz Ekwueme.

David Àìná particularly learned the art of Choral conducting under Kweku Acqua Harrison, Emeka Nwokedi and Laz Ekwueme. Furthermore, his compositional skills and style were developed by active and passive studying great composers such as Kweku Acqua Harrison, Laz Ekwueme, N. Z. Nayo, Ayọ̀ Bankole and Fela Sowande.

Career

Olúdáisí David Àìná has over the years worked with many educational and religious organizations as well as individuals to uplift the standard of art music in Nigeria.  He was the sole accompanist for all voice students during his days in Lagos State College of Education and Obafemi Awolowo University. In particular, he inherited and led a standard campus Choral group known as Ife Chorus.

L-R: Seun Owoaje, David Àìná, Ayo Oluranti and Ayo Ajayi

He served as the sole examiner for music practical with West African Examinations Council for many years. David Àìná was also a resource person during the workshop on development of music education in Nigeria organized by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council and the UNICEF in 1996. He has attended conferences within and outside Nigeria.

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Apart from teaching music in several secondary schools, which include Iponri Estate High school, Aunty Ayo International school, Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Thomas Adewumi International College and Sapati International School, Ilorin, he was the accompanist and assistant director of the Lagos City Chorale between 1988 and 1995 and the Laz Ekwueme Chorale between 1991 and 2007. He later established his own Choral group known as Heritage in 1994. The group that has now metamorphosed into Odídẹrẹ́ Chorus.

In 1989, David Àìná joined the services of All Saints’ Anglican Church, Yaba as the Assistant Organist and went ahead to become the Director of Music in March 1995, a position he still holds till date. He currently teaches music at the Department of Theatre Arts and Music, Lagos State University, Ojo, Nigeria.

AS A Composer
David Oludaisi Aina

David Àìná is indeed a prolific composer, he is principally well respected and experienced in the choral music niche. Many of his choral works have been performed extensively in Nigeria and abroad. He is reputed to have composed seven school anthems including those of Hallmark University and Lagos State University. He has over one hundred (100) other compositions, some of which are:

  • Una hear me so
  • Ẹ jẹ ka jọ yọ
  • This Wedding
  • Ìdáhùn rẹ
  • Ekorin Ayo
  • Tìrẹ ni Olúwa
  • Èkó
  • Whepe Baba mi ton
  • Orí lelejo
  • Ọba Aláṣẹ
  • Ayé Le
  • Jésù Ló L’ayọ̀ Mi
  • Aleluya Sí Ọ Olúwa
  • Standing ín the Rain for Soprano and piano
  • Bí koko bá fẹ́ ni l’efe for Tenor and piano
  • Banuso: Duet for Tenor and bass
  • Hopeful Days for the Organ
  • Ẹ̀bà Tútù for Flute and piano
  • Șaworo Nìlù u Wa for Ìyá Ìlù and piano
  • Communion Setting for the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion
  • Responses in B flat
  • Yaba Responses
  • Many Hymn tunes and chants.
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He also has a number of papers to his credit, including a documentary titled “The art of Fuji music”.

Award and Honours

Olúdáisí David Àìná has won many laurels for various schools at competitions in his days as a secondary school teacher. He has received many awards through the years and he’s still counting. The most cherished was the one he got in his Form 2 at Ado Grammar School, Ado Ekiti, because that was what solidified his resolve to become a musician.

In October 2014, he specially featured with the Columbus Highlife Ensemble in a series of concerts organized by the Ohio State University, Columbus, USA to raise funds for the fight against Ebola virus.

Personal Life
David Àìná and His Lovely wife

Olúdáisí David Àìná is happily married to his lovely wife, Olubunmi and blessed with wonderful children.

Conclusion Olúdáisí David Àìná is a simple man of great conviviality, loving and humble in every way, and a great team player who believes he still has so much to learn.

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