Abdul Ganiyi Alimi Abiola, better known by his stage name Awoko Sheu is a fast-rising Islamic music artiste. He released his latest album ‘Oba Igba’ (The King of the Moment) in October 2018 to great acclaim.
The release has 5-track melodious tunes: Nibo Laye Nlo? Oba Igba, Dhikir, Oro Iku (A Tribute to Sheikh Mustapha Zuglool) and Appreciation.
Youthful Awoko Sheu, who trained at Daru Dawa Wal-Irshad, Isolo is presently the Chairman of Professional Islamic Musician Association Of Nigeria (PISMAN) Ijoko Lemode zone, Ogun State chapter.
Among awards he has to his name are: Most Outstanding Musician, presented to him by Zumratu Soliheen, Ado-Ekiti branch, Ekiti state and Most Diligent Fellow, Hasbunallahu Organization.
In this interview with Top Media Nigeria‘s Ridwan Adeola, Awoko Sheu speak on the ISMAN-PISMAN feud, Islamic musicians’ theatre-like videos, among other issues.
TMN: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Awoko Sheu: Thanks a lot. My name is Abdul Ganiyi Alimi Abiola popularly known as Awoko Imole Baramo.
TMN: How would you describe your type of Islamic music?
Awoko Sheu: I am dynamic. I am an Adhakir, a musician and I am also good in Waka music (a popular Islamic-oriented Yoruba musical genre). I am blessed with all. So, fair to call me the ‘total package’.
TMN: At what age did you develop interest in music?
Awoko Sheu: I developed interest in music when I was a kid at Madrasah (a college for Islamic instruction). I was 7 years old at that time.
TMN: Interesting! You mean you developed interest in Islamic music at the age of 7?
Awoko Sheu: Yes. Because then, I do lead the band.
TMN: Where do you derive your inspiration?
Awoko Sheu: It’s just God-given wallahi.
TMN: Is there anything like music in Islam?
Awoko Sheu: Yes there is. Because during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), there were many poet-singers back then.
TMN: Can you mention one?
Awoko Sheu: Hassan ibn Thabit. In fact, Muhammad (SAW) was so happy with Hassan that he ordered to establish and construct for him a mimbar-pulpit for him to stand upon when he delivered his poetry.
TMN: How many albums have you made?
Awoko Sheu: Three albums. First one ‘Ire Ayomi’, second was ‘Ise Loogun Ise’ and third, ‘Oba Igba’ – the latest.
TMN: Who is your role model in the industry?
Awoko Sheu: All the stars are my role model.
TMN: Which of the stars?
Awoko Sheu: The Islamic stars: Alhaji Ibrahim Labaika, Alhaji Qamorudeen Ayeloyun, Alhaji Ahmad Alawiye, Alhaji Saoti Arewa and the likes.
TMN: Which of your songs is your favourite?
Awoko Sheu: Ise Loogun Ise.
TMN: Why ‘Ise Loogun Ise’?’
Awoko Sheu: It is full of rhythm and advice for everyone just like ‘Oba Igba’.
TMN: Are Islamic singers truly role model for Muslims?
Awoko Sheu: That’s a big question. Not all of us I’d say.
TMN: What’s your take then?
Awoko Sheu: Yoruba adage says: “Ti a ba de ibi iru ka fo ni” (When we get to the tail, we should skip it). Allah will guide us all to His path (amin).
TMN: What do you think can be done to correct the unpleasant image?
Awoko Sheu: The Islamic scholars of our time should not rest by propagating Islam with the word of Allah to their followers at all time.
TMN: You are a graduate of Mass Communication. You are currently pursuing a degree in the university. Is acquiring a formal education certificate really necessary for you?
Awoko Sheu: Yes it is, because nobody knows what tomorrow holds.
TMN: Islamic music videos seem to be more of Theatre Arts nowadays. Why?
Awoko Sheu: That’s where the problem lies. They think doing that will promote Islamic music but it is not promoting it at all, rather it is the other way round. When you see another man’s wife holding tightly another man’s husband, it is not islamical at all.
TMN: You are one of the not-many talented Islamic artistes who are well-groomed when it comes to Arabic knowledge, how helpful has that been to you?
Awoko Sheu: It is helpful in so many ways when it comes to music, because the difference is always clear. The differentiation is incomparable. Music of nowadays need more knowledge Arabic-wise. (Islamic) music has upgraded you know.
TMN: Any end in sight for the Islamic Musicians Association of Nigeria (ISMAN) – PISMAN animosity?
Awoko Sheu: Lillahi il Kamal, Allah is The Most Complete.
TMN: How soon will the discord wind up?
Awoko Sheu: We now have two Islamic organizations in Nigeria, duly registered under the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). That’s just the reality on ground.
What I’m certain about is that ISMAN and PISMAN are one body because they are both propagating Islam through music.
TMN: Which artiste would you like to feature in your next album?
Awoko Sheu: Alhaja Mistura Aderounmu (Temini Success), Alhaja Mariam Akiki and Alhaji Abdul Kabir Alayande (Ere Asalatu).
TMN: Why the trio?
Awoko Sheu: One of them I mean. However, featuring the three outstanding acts at once is a possibility if that is God’s plan anyway.
TMN: Alright. If Alhaja Mistura, why her? If Alhaja Akiki, why the choice? And if ‘Ere Asalatu’, why him?
Awoko Sheu: (Smile) For Alhaja Mistura, she is ‘hot’ in the arena. Alhaja Akiki is so kind and ‘Ere Asalatu’ is one-in-a-million in the music industry. Working with him will boost one’s career.
TMN: What are your targets this new year?
Awoko Sheu: Man proposes, God disposes. I’m planning to move my new album (Oba Igba) to the highest level with a promoter soon. It might even be sooner than I expect. Thereafter, I will collaborate with the stars In Shaa Allah.
TMN: Thank you for your time.
Awoko Sheu: It’s my pleasure.
Feel tracks from ‘Oba Igba’ below:
WATCH VIDEO: Awoko Sheu’s Second Album, Ise Loogun Ise
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