Veteran Islington singer and composer unleashes his life force
Having composed music since he was old enough to know how to, Juwon Ogungbe is finally showcasing some of the highlights of a career spanning several decades with the release of his debut album.
The Highbury resident has performed for audiences across the world and composed for prestigious theatre companies, festivals and other events.
Mr Ogungbe, 50, of Pyrland Road, has finally put his classical voice and eclectic sound into his first album, Life Force Music, which he performed with his band at the Rhum Jungle in Exmouth Market, Finsbury, on Thursday.
The album has gained critical acclaim from the New York Times and crosses a wide range of genres, with yoruba-soul, pan-African, Latin-infused reggae and soul sounds, alongside western, classical and operatic influences.
Mr Ogungbe, who was born in Islington and lived in Nigeria between the ages of 10 and 19, said: “I could always hear tunes in my head from a very young age. Something was always there, even before I could present them.
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“I started writing my own songs as soon as I could and I was in a school pop band during my teens.
“I draw on whatever is exciting in a particular piece of music, I want to understand the inner workings of it.
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“I compose such a wide range of music and have the ability to sing jazz, African and popular music.”
His career highlights so far include composing for the Royal Shakespeare Company on a production which was later taken to Broadway and writing the music for a 1,000-strong performance at the South Bank Centre, as well as performing in a number of operas as a classical singer.
Next week, he will sing with classically trained African singers from several nations to launch a new World Service Breakfast Programme to herald the Olympics and next month more than 300 singers will perform music written by him for the city of Coventry’s contribution to London 2012.
LLife Force Music is available on iTunes and at all events and via www.juwonogungbe.co.uk.