Aduke speaks for the masses with a new video “Hear the Voice”
Using the streets as her backdrop, Nigerian musician Ayobamidele Aladekomo, popularly known as Aduke used her latest song, “Hear the Voice” as a plea to the government to listen to the masses.
As nationwide protests dubbed Occupy Nigeria erupted in January over the removal of oil subsidies, Aduke felt the time was right to release the song, which she wrote long before thousands took to the streets.
The video for the song, which went viral on the internet as an unofficial anthem for activist movement Occupy Nigeria was filmed during the protests but Aduke says, her lyrics are applicable to any situation.
“I did the song without imagining the event, you know I tried as much as possible to conceal my art so that the song can exist without the video, if you take the song away from the video, it still captures what we are talking about but the song is not really stuck on Occupy Nigeria, it is the voice that has been kept inside for a very long time that just needed to come out at that particular point in time,” she said in an interview with Reuters.
Nigerians’ anger over the subsidy cut, which more than doubled the price of a litre of petrol united poor market traders and middle class motorists alike.
Aduke joins a pedigree of Nigerian musicians who use their talents to push for political and social change. The late Afro Beat icon, Fela Kuti, whose son, Seun Kuti was at the forefront of several protests in January is one of the better known Nigerian musical activists.
“I am speaking for those who don’t have enough voice to speak for themselves, I am speaking the mind of a lot of people that nobody knows because I have seen people that live in abject poverty, and when I say abject poverty, I mean abject poverty; people that feed from the bin literally, people that live o the bins, people that when it rains they cannot sleep because they have to spend nights getting the water out of their houses,” she said.
A graduate of History and Strategic studies from the University of Lagos, Aduke is also an actress, a dancer and writes poetry but she says music is her passion.
Aduke says her style of music can be classified as neo-soul/afro jazz and that she started to express herself through song at an early age.
Growing up in Africa’s most populous nation, she says her material is inspired by the experiences of ordinary Nigerians and their resilience in tough times.
“In spite of all these things I see around me, the people in these situations find a way to live each day they don’t give up, they don’t just sleep, most of them don’t even wait for the government, everybody has found a way to block the loop holes, what they are expecting from the government that is not coming in, they find a way to provide it for themselves. Like the roads are not fixed so people put their garbage on the road to level the street, they’ve found a way one way or the other because the government is not doing as much as they are supposed to do so that’s enough inspiration for me,” Aduke said.
Economists say the fuel subsidy encouraged corruption and the wasteful use of fuel. The government had estimated it would save millions in 2012 by eliminating it.
But Nigerians have always fought against its removal because they consider cheap petrol their sole benefit from living in a major crude oil producer which loses billions of dollars to corruption.
Aduke is currently working on the video of her latest single, “Made in Lagos” which addresses rural-urban migration.