For Dr Yomi Oyekanmi, a reputable Pretoria physician, author, preacher and philanthropist, music is second nature. Although he has spent some thirty years in medical practice, the sound of good music ignites an intrinsic passion in him. His musical philosophy is encapsulated in these words of his:

When good music touches your body, you pay attention. When it touches your soul, you nod your head. But when it touches your spirit, you lose self control and restraint. Now, that is GRAND-MAL-DAVIDIC-MUSICOGENIC EPILEPSY.

When he discovered some young members of his church (Christ Apostolic Church Pretoria) with musical talent, he deployed his time and resources to groom them into the The Trinity Band – a band that is fast becoming a household name in the South Africa gospel music circuit.

Veteran Gospel music artist, Evangelist (Dr) Bola Are, put off her numerous international engagements and put her reputation on the line to feature the rather young Trinity Band in a unique collaboration. The result of the project Songs of Zion (Orin Sioni), produced by  Dr Yomi Oyekanmi, is breath-taking.

Dr Bola Are

About Dr Bola Are

Bola Are (born October 1, 1954) is a Nigerian gospel singer and former President of the Gospel Musicians Association of Nigeria.

She established Bola & Her Spiritual Singers in 1973, and her debut album entitled Baba Kuse was released in August 1977. In July 1985, she obtained a Doctorate degree in Music at St. John’s University, Missouri USA.

Dr Are has released 72 gospel albums to date; all inspired by an evangelistic motive. To her, music is a calling from God. She once said:

 “If you don’t have the call, do not go near gospel music. You must be called by God before you come into the industry. Not all those who have the call are meant to lead a gospel band. Some are called but they must be in the church choir. Some like me are called to lead a group like a band. Some are called to be instrumentalists within a group or choir. It is important to understand what God needs from you.”

How was the idea of the collaboration with Trinity Band conceived? Dr Yomi tells it all in this exclusive interview with NewsPlus.

Enjoy.

INTERVIEW

Dr Yomi Oyekanmi (Founder/Producer, Trinity Band)

NewsPlus
Dr Bola Are has been in the Gospel music business for over four decades and she has never collaborated with anyone. How did you manage to get her to collaborate on Songs of Zion with your group that is still rather young?

Dr Yomi
I think it’s grace because we do not qualify in any way; it was God that brought us together and persuaded her to come along with us. She put everything at risk to come here, her reputation and everything she has achieved. At one time we had difficulty. I was almost ready to cancel the whole operation but she still came, despite me saying we should let it go , and persuaded us that it is more than what we were thinking according to the revelation she received. In fact, she left the entire production in our hands including the Yoruba songs written by me and Seun as well as the South African songs we used. She left everything in our hands and just followed us through.

NewsPlus
Yes, that is grace but beyond grace there has to have been something that she had seen, like the quality of the work you’ve done, which made her feel confident…

Dr Yomi
(Laughs) Yes, yes, but look, we are always reluctant to take credit. We thank God, however, that is true. What I usually told the boys at the beginning, when we started the band, was that people want to see what you have done, they don’t rely on what you are saying. We’ve done three albums but have only released one, even the albums we did not release have been put up on our website so people can go there – at www.trinity.band – to listen to them; so when I was at our mother’s house in Nigeria she wanted to know what we had done. So I logged in and played some songs. She was surprised because she thought that I, being a medical doctor, would not have any idea on what music is about but the minute she listened to it she saw that the standard was very high.

NewsPlus
That brings me to a very pertinent question: You being a medical doctor with a very busy medical practice, where do you find the time to do all of this? What ignited your interest in music to this extent because, as far as I know, Trinity band is actually Yomi’s band…?

Dr Yomi
Look, not having time is a relative thing; there is not one person who is too busy–even the president. Eighty percent of our time is wasted every blessed day. Take a look at each thing you do every day on a cogent level and allocate the time that it took and you’ll see that it is not more than twenty percent of the day. So, people hide behind the excuse “there’s no time” in order not to find time; if something matters to you you’ll find time for it. That’s number one. Number two: music comes to me naturally. I grew up in the village and was exposed to all types of music and I used to be a critic of music until my brother told me to try make my own before I continue to criticize that of others and that is what brought about the whole thing. When I first saw the boys, I noticed that they had talent but it was raw and scattered/uncoordinated, so I said to them “I know you did not come to South Africa to waste your time so why don’t we do something?” and I knew I would be spending my money but that was not what mattered to me, it was never, and still isn’t, about money.
The first album we did was the cheapest at around R47 000 (about 3 500 USD) All the proceeds was shared among the boys; I did not touch a cent. The second album cost R58 000 (about 4 200 USD) to produce and has not been released; the third album cost R67 000 (about 4 900 USD) yet we did not put it up for sale –you can listen to it on the internet for free but it can’t be downloaded.

Scenes from Songs of Zion

The latest album, Songs of Zion, cost us R141 000 (about 10 000USD) because it was the first time we ever shot a music video and I was lucky to get a great filming team that only took a token from me. What they charged me for the video was not even full price and knowing what I wanted to do, they too came to the party. All this was what made the album a success.

NewsPlus
There are a lot of things that you do for free, for instance: you find the time to go on TV to anchor some programmes free of charge. What is your motivation?

Dr Yomi
To whom much is given, much is expected and when I say much, I’m not just talking about money. God has been good to me in everything. What most people struggle for I don’t struggle to get. My struggle is to maintain what I have not so much as acquiring it. Anything I kneel down to ask God for, God does it in miraculous ways. For example, I have two cars this year which I did not buy. That is why I always ask myself “What can I give out there?” Plus God does not owe you anything, he doesn’t. Whatever you give you receive in multiple folds so I think I owe God so much that I give back whenever I get the opportunity to do so. But, there is a selfish end to my giving and that is that I do not want my children to struggle for anything, and when God goes ahead of you, when you have done enough for God, then things become easy no matter the circumstances; like when I hear that the economy is falling, I do not feel concerned because I know the economy of my house will not fall. I want my children to inherit part of that, so yes, that is my selfish aim.

NewsPlus
It’s not selfish because you are sowing on fertile ground from which your children are bound to reap plentifully. Let’s talk about the quality of this production. I know you travelled out of Pretoria several times in order to get the quality it has, but what exactly did it take to get it right?

Dr Yomi
Hmm… well, I have a type A personality so to me only the very best is good enough; which is reflected in the band’s slogan; “99% is a failure.” This sometimes caused conflict between me and the boys in the beginning because some things they saw as good enough, I would not accept. In fact, at some stages they even reported me to the pastors. That was until they realised where I was going – my mindset – so when the first album was released, upon seeing the acceptance it received, they started to notice why I had been so strict, even in the way they play and how people react to it. It was not unusual for me to send them back to practice just because of one out of tune guitar strum and continue to do so until they got it right. Everybody is now used to it and it has become our standard and slogan so we go for the best every time. I always tell the boys that where they cannot go, their work and reputation must go and speak on their behalf. That is what drives us.

NewsPlus
What about the financial aspect, I know most of it is for good but definitely an enterprise like this has to have returns; what are the prospects and what are you expecting back?

Dr Yomi
You are correct when you say there will always be a return. God doesn’t owe anyone. I always tease the boys by saying that we will soon be listening to Trinity band sooner or later, so we are waiting for the day that the band becomes globally recognised and by then you will not be chasing money but money will be chasing you. You see, most people don’t know how to invest, we like quick money, you sow in the morning and want to harvest in the afternoon. It doesn’t work that way. It takes years for the kolanut tree to yield but when it does you benefit from it forever. It doesn’t die. For example, Elvis Presley is still getting paid every year because of the timeless work he did.

NewsPlus
Support from the home front – all of this takes you away from home. Your wife, being into event planning and things like that, did she play a part in the growth of the band?

Dr Yomi: It’s not easy to do anything without the support of the family or at least their understanding. Even if they may not be able to support you physically or financially, their understanding when you can’t be with them when you need   to be, is one of the best forms of support one can receive, which I really appreciate. Honestly, when we were about cancelling the last project, my wife was the one that stood up to say that we cannot cancel it that it must be seen to the end even though it was a big inconvenience to the family.

NewsPlus
Do you have any plans to go into large scale show business? I mean I wouldn’t be surprised if you retired from medical practice to fully focus on show business.

Dr Yomi
(Laughs) Well, very soon I’ll be celebrating my 30th year as a medical doctor, so yes, I am looking to exit the field but I do not see this as something that will lure me away from medicine. If it does, fine. For now we’re just enjoying ourselves doing what we love to do. I would rather invest in music than any other industry. We have received some promises, someone has promised to give us our very own music studio worth R250 000 (about 18 000 USD) and part of the building which we are looking for will also have rooms to shoot videos, create graphic designs, printing, etc.
Since my wife came on board, we have received a lot more interest from other Nigerian bands, especially after the video started airing because of the quality. The blending of the different sounds (types of music), the Nigerian sound mixed with the South African sound with a pinch of the Ibo flute and Yoruba drum, as well as other aspects, is what makes Trinity Band’s music unique.

NewsPlus
How old is Trinity Band now?

Dr Yomi
We started the band in 2009. We have produced four albums and we have people on board who are well educated as well as those who did not attend school at all so we have to compensate everyone and meet in the middle. With me being older than most of the crew, some of whom are young enough to be my children, and the experience gap between me and some of the crew members, it is only reasonable that I bring myself to their level so no one feels left out or inadequate. Yes education matters, but in some cases we need to forget about education and focus on what really matters at that stage in order to be productive.

NewsPlus
If people want to get their hands on the latest album, how should they go about it, where can they get it?

Dr Yomi
At this point in time it is only available through the Trinity band or/and myself unless you are in Nigeria where it is being selectively distributed by some people through my wife. It is only R100 and we guarantee satisfaction.

NewsPlus
Is piracy a concern to you?

Dr Yomi
Honestly, if people want to sell pirated copies of our albums, let them go ahead. All of our music is already on the internet to be listened to for free. Plus you rarely do get money from selling albums; the last time money was made off selling albums was in the early ‘80s in Michael Jackson’s era. What you actually make is a great reputation; you build your name so you can be hired for events and concerts. So, with them pirating our albums they are only helping us by making us even more popular.

NewsPlus
What’s the message in Songs of Zion?

Dr Yomi
It’s essentially an acknowledgment of God’s power to take away your problems, pain, and sorrow if you believe in, surrender to, and depend on Him.

NewsPlus
Congratulations on everything you’ve achieved thus far and we wish you all the best.

Dr Yomi
Thank You. God bless.

Watch the video here : www.trinity.band

To order your copies, please call:

Amos: +27 83 961 9047
Seun. +27 74 317 2785

Pastor Olumide Emmanuel, Motivational Speaker, Founder and Overseer Calvary Bible Church
After eleven years in the classroom and over 20 years behind the microphone (and on
By Nicholas Ekata: Well I can't claim I wasn't aware since it was all explained
Beware of spectators: They are the best initiators The best motivators The best educators The
What if: The labour of our heroes is buried in the past; They fought for

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here