"One of the best things to have happened to contemporary music in Nigeria...a rare creator of rich sounds and a gifted performer" - (The Punch)
"Beautiful Nubia and his Roots Renaissance Band have helped to strengthen our belief that there is hope for genuine modern Nigerian and African music" - (The Guardian)
Beautiful Nubia and the Roots Renaissance Band is Nigeria’s foremost contemporary folk and roots music group. Formed and fronted by songwriter and poet Segun Akinlolu (aka Beautiful Nubia), the group’s songs and albums have achieved cult status among their loyal and growing fans spread across the world.
Beautiful Nubia’s songs are built on rich folkloric traditions and native wisdom but his message is universal in thrust and theme: value life, respect nature and learn to live in peace with others. The music speaks for the voiceless and champions the dream of a balanced society where individuals are truly free and equal. It preaches love and tolerance but also urges people to stand and defend their rights when trampled upon anywhere in the world.
Born in Ibadan in 1968, Segun started writing songs at a very young age. He drew his early influence from the traditional culture which was prevalent in the form of oral poetry, theatre, music and folklore. In 1994, with enough resources to produce a demo, his timing unfortunately coincided with the final departure of major record labels from Nigeria. In response, he established EniObanke, a music production and marketing company under which his first album was released in 1997. All subsequent recordings have been released on this label and the company recently commenced the first ever folk and roots music festival in Nigeria, the EniObanke Music Festival (EMUfest), which has become a platform for celebrating legendary artists and showcasing emerging talent.
In 1998, the artist invited several young musicians in Lagos to form a backing band to which he gave the name ‘The Roots Renaissance Band’. Throughout the years, Beautiful Nubia has remained the songwriter, arranger and bandleader contributing acoustic/rhythm guitar, lead vocals and percussion. The band is still mostly made up the original members.
Reward came in 2002 with the release of the ground-breaking third album Jangbalajugbu. It is estimated that more than 50 million Nigerians wake up each day to “Owuro L’Ojo (How D’You Do?)”, one of the hit tracks in the album. To date, Jangbalajugbu has sold in excess of a million copies (not including the large numbers sold in the open market by pirates). Since then, the band has released five more albums, all of which, except the most recent, were recorded with vintage analog equipment at the historic Afrodisia (Decca) Studios in Lagos. Awilele (2004) is a no-holds-barred celebration of the artist's political views, Fere (2006) earned BN the sobriquet "Nigeria's King of Melody" and Kilòkilò (2007) and Irinajo (2009) both confirm what can be described as the Beautiful Nubia style and his stubborn refusal to be pigeon-holed. The albums, deeply political, have cemented his reputation in Nigeria and beyond as an advocate for social justice. It is the combination of enjoyable entertainment and provocative thoughtfulness that has come to define BN’s style. Sun No Dey Sleep (2011) and Oriojori-Eternal Spirits (2012), the latest albums, continue that tradition.
The music has garnered excellent reviews in leading african/world music publications. It has been nominated for music awards and topped international/world charts on community, grassroots and campus radio stations in Canada, the US, across Europe and Africa.
Oriojori-Eternal Spirits (2012); Sun No Dey Sleep (2011); Irinajo (2009); Kilòkilò (2007); Fere (2006); Awilele (2004); Jangbalajugbu (2002); Fire On The Roof (2001); Voice From Heaven (1999); Seven Lifes (1997)
Waiting For The Bones (poetry, 1997); Thinking Big (poetry, 2000); On A Cold Evening (poetry cd, 2000); The King's Messenger (2004); Where Rivers Sing A Song (poetry cd, 2004); Citadel Blues (Fiction, 2004); Like A Tale At Night (poetry cd, 2006)
"Beautiful Nubia and his Roots Renaissance Band have helped to strengthen our belief that there is hope for genuine modern Nigerian and African music"
- The Guardian (2008)
"One of the best things to have happened to contemporary music in Nigeria...a rare creator of rich sounds and a gifted performer.” - The Punch (2005)
“A calm and literate presence, spreads a good aura, thoughtful lyrics and a smart band” - fRoots (2010)
"Nigeria's King of Melody!” - National Mirror (2006)
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