Review from Elegba Folklore Society

Posted on August 5, 2014

We are pleased to announce that Toby Foyeh & Orchestra Africa will be headlining “Opening Night” for this year’s 24th Annual Down Home Family Reunion.

Toby Foyeh started playing and performing music from an early age in Nigeria paying his dues through school bands in Ibadan and Lagos, as well as while studying in the United States. A band he formed with some high school friends went on to tour America as Hugh Masekela’s Ojah band. Although basically a self taught musician, he studied music at Berklee College of Music, Boston and Howard University, Washington DC where he also got a Film Directing Degree.

Three successful CD/Album releases to date include “Here I Come” in Nigeria, “Jalolo” 1999/2001 and “Lagos Ilu Eko” 2006 releases which are available in America, Canada and Europe. He performed extensively on Nigerian Television where his music videos are very popular. With his band Orchestra Africa, he has performed in the United Kingdom, Europe, United States, Canada,Japan and Africa. Orchestra Africa’s music dubbed as “AFRIJAM Music” arises from old traditional Africa juxtaposed with modern influences – high technology, advanced communications and international travel in a global market. Afrijam is a unique new music created from a fusion of Nigerian music styles – Highlife, Afrobeat and traditional Yoruba music with Rock, Pop, and Jazz .

Toby Foyeh has produced, recorded and co-produced a variety of other artists with varying musical styles including African, Jazz and Soul. One such project with keyboard player Roy Carter (ex-Heatwave) produced a dance hit for UK group Covergirl, while other musical collaborations include projects with Jake Sollo (ex-Osibisa), Saul Malinga (Ipi Tombi South African Music and Dance Troupe), Orlando Julius Ekemode, etc.

The Nigerian Public and other neighbouring West African countries are very familiar with his music especially the hit singles “I’m on Fire” and “Ore Mi” as well as the promo videos for these releases. The band has recently been featured on FOX Early Morning News and BET Jazz Scene, national and local cable channels as well as Television Stations in Malta and Japan.

Toby Foyeh composes, arranges, produces the band’s music, and sings with his backing female singer-dancers. Orchestra Africa features traditional African instruments such as Gangan (Yoruba Talking Drum), Bata drums, Assorted Percussion Instruments, Flute, Guitars, Keyboards, Synthesizers, male lead and female lead and chorus vocals. The band’s percussion breaks sometimes feel like a Drum Orchestra from the polyrhythms and counter rhythms played by the percussionists. The main featured instruments – Guitar and Flute played by multi-instrumentalist Toby Foyeh serve as highlights for individual songs. The lead Guitar is treated with the calculated virtuosity, speed and technique of a skilled jazz guitarist interpreting the traditional and contemporary music of Africa. The female singer-dancers in African costumes add a spice of traditional Africa in their call and response style of chorus singing, with improvised African dances.

The band’s constant world wide tours has taken them to Japan where they performed at the FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL 2006, Canada – Montreal Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz Festival (three times), Malta Jazz Festival, Bahamas Jazz Festival, Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, Curacao Jazz Festival, Grenada Spice Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival, Syracuse Jazz Festival, DC Jazz Festival, Calgary Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Medicine Hat Jazz Festival,City Stages Birmingham Al, Riverfest Little Rock, Ar, Jubilee City Fest Montgomery Al, Pensacola Springfest Fl, numerous Universities in the US and Britain, Performing Arts Centers including Kennedy Center and Cerritos Center Ca. etc. etc.

The artist has received numerous awards for his contribution to African Music and wishes to continue to take this unique music round the globe.