Born: March 30 Primary Instrument: Vocal
OLA ONABULE will be performing this summer in Canada at EDMONTON, 25th Anniversary of THE VANCOUVER JAZZ FESTIVAL and VICTORIA JAZZ FESTIVAL. July 2009 saw Ola perform on the main stage of the Festival de Jazz de Montreal for their 30th anniversary festival and also Vanouver Jazz Festival last Summer.
Ola possesses a stunning voice of enormous range and emotional clout. His voice is beautifully clear and appealingly textured, almost classical. During his shows there are moments when he lets fly with a kind of yodelling ululation and a range and elasticity to match his rich tonal qualities. The influences of soul, jazz and African music come together in subtle and sophisticated melodies and time signatures.
Ola began his career on the Elektra Label (Warner) but has since released six albums with the latest recording almost complete, SEVEN SHADES DARKER which will be released on his label, Rugged Ram Records. Ola has spent much of his career concentrating on lyrics with songs that are layered with metaphor and allegory. Ola seemlessly documents the issues of the day with the universal subjects of love and loss. Ola has guested with some of America's finest soul and jazz artists including Diane Reeves, Gladys Knight, Al Jarreau, Patti Labelle, Roberta Flack, Joe Zawinul, Natalie Cole, and Roy Hargrove.
December 2009 saw Ola as the headline artist all over the UK accompanied by the South African Jazz/Opera singer Sibongile Khumalo with band and large choir. The dates included four shows at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and similar venues around the UK. The shows were produced by Serious (producers of the London Jazz Festival).
OLA was also the featured male artist with Grammy winning WDR Big Band at the Cologne Philharmonic Concert Hall in March 2010. The shows will feature Dennis Mackrel as arranger and conductor and China Moses (Dee Dee Bridgewater's daughter) on vocals as well.
AUTUMN 2010, will see Ola perform at Festivals which include SILDA JAZZ in Norway, AALENER JAZZ and INGOLSTADT JAZZ FESTIVALS in Germany, and many other festivals this Autumn to coincide with Ola's new album.
THE GERMAN FILM ORCHESTRA BABELSBERG has just invited OLA to perform at The Nikolaisaal in Potsdam a special show featuring the music and arrangements of Ola Onabule in January 2011.
To describe Ola Onabule as a sweet-voiced singer-songwriter from Lagos would be perfectly true, but it doesn't tell the whole story...instead he has chosen to go his own way, with original material from albums such as In Emergency Brake Silence and The Devoured Man...with a voice that is beautifully clear and appealingly textured, almost classical. There are moments when he lets fly with a kind of yodelling ululation like a more radio-friendly Leon Thomas??...with a range and smoothness that recalls singers such as Luther Vandross and more recent pretenders to the soul-pop crown, such as Frank McComb and Van Hunt. John L Walters,?The Guardian, Tuesday September 4, 2007
The soulful singer Ola Onabule is currently on tour to promote his new album THE DEVOURED MAN.? The cd sees the African born artist in a more political mood than usual, but audiences can still expect the compelling stage performance to which they are accustomed - ROGER TRAPP, THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY, TOP 5 SHOWS - August 07
The UK's answer to Donny Hathaway... - THE BASEMENT, August 07
The Devoured Man... A?collection of beguilingly emotive ? and surprisingly politicised ? songs that recalls Marvin?Gaye?s masterpiece What?s Going On and is a world away from the airbrushed grooves that are supposed to constitute the genre these days. What?s going on indeed? - Rory Ford, EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS - Aug 07
Onabule is a soul singer of the old school with a commanding presence and a grafting work ethic.? His voice has touches of super smoothies George Benson and Al Jarreau as well as the grittier Memphis style and he has a range and elasticity to match his rich tonal qualities. Onabule and his band will be a hot midnight ticket - ROB ADAMS, THE HERALD - August 22 2007
Hs latest conscious soul outing ?The Devoured Man? ... a killer voice, and three-octave range at his disposal, Ola is a class act among many lesser, certainly less intelligent, soul-jazz Joes. - Jazzwise Magazine August 07
... a master of his instrument, a superb storyteller, a gracious human-being - Robert Papaleoni, Co-Executive Producer OLA ONABULE IN CONCERT WCNY TV (PBS) Syracuse, NY, USA
When so much music these days is simply lumped under the tag of urban, the modern homogenised gloop of music and style, it's a great pleausre to come across The Devoured Man.? This is a proper soul album and by that I don't mean that it's retro, it has a very modern and contemporary sound, but rather that this is an album with real sound and something to say....Ola Onabule has a stunning voice of enormous range and emotional clout. He doubtless does smooth, but seems less concerned with smooching up to the laydeez and more about the human condition and its foibles.? There's denial ignorance, arrogance, isolation, foolishness and of course? love and redemption... Proper Music Distribution
WDR Big Band ennobled with good-humored guests... Ola Onabule interprets Hiram's lyrics with great creativity especially the duets with Frank Gravis were brilliant. he pulls out every stop. great improvisation like Al Jarreau in his best days. amazing!! Olaf Weiden
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