Etuk Ubong, a musician and instrumentalist is the main man at The Truth. This Urban Pub located in Akerele Street, Surulere may be new, but its growing. It’s gradually becoming the go-to place for people who crave for conscious music.
We had a conversation with Etuk about his career and what new experience he has for the people of Surulere. Here is what he has to say.
Please introduce yourself
My name is Etuk Ubong
I am a Nigerian, a concerned Nigerian, and a concerned human being. I am from Akwa Ibom State. I am also a musician that deals with the consciousness of the mind. That is what my music reflects.
Tell us about your work and your history- How did you start?
Well! I started playing at the age of fourteen (14). I started playing professional about that time. The first band I played for is Dr. Victor Olaiya, that’s the Highlife master himself. So I played in his band for a couple of years as a sideman- as the first trumpet player. I played in his band for a while then I played in other bands around locally and internationally.
Played for was Femi Kuti’s Band and it was a great experience. So, from there, I got the inspiration that someday I am going to have my own space; my own music. Motivation also came from seeing Fela building his own shrine back then. So, I decided that I am going to have my own space when I have the chance. Had the name for my own space- this is like years back, which I called the truth. The vision had been there some time ago and I started working through that vision until I’m able to achieve it. It is like a reality now.
What is your brand of music called?
It is called Earth music, like the earth in which we humans live in.
What is the difference between earth music and other types of Music?
The difference is like the rhythms. My music reflects a whole lot of African music like African sounds because I try to draw my rhythms from the local music of traditional Akwa Ibom culture. Also, I think the music has an influence of Afro Beats as well. Therefore, it reflects so much more about what is happening in our environment from today and also the future. That is the difference between earth music and other types. Most importantly, it is at a very high level, the tempo-wise. It is very groovy so the youths can really vibe on it. It is extremely vibrant.
Where have you performed before?
I have performed around the globe. I have performed in the UK. I have headlined a whole lot of festivals around the country and outside the country. I have headlined a whole lot of festivals in the country which includes Lagos International Jazz Festival, Lagos Jazz Series.
Also, I played in the Bayelsa Jazz Festival as a sideman, alongside Femi Kuti. Those are like the few festivals I can remember. The Abuja Jazz Festival, I headlined that twice with myself, Yemi Alade, Timi Dakolo, and few others. In the UK, I have played at the Green Chile festival, it was a success. I have also played a couple of gigs in festivals around, I have played at the London Jazz festival that was last year.
Who is your favorite musician and why?
Wow! For now, my favorite musician is Fela Kuti. In addition, I also love listening to a whole lot of African Music. I also like to listen to myself. I used to be a crazy Jazz fanatic but when I discovered my sound, I realized I needed to have my own voice. Fela Kuti and Victor Olaiya are the two most important people that helped me find my voice. So, as I improved, I realized that I needed to listen to myself more. Obviously, listing to great minds is almost the only way to be able to define my own sound and have my own voice as well.
Seun Kuti has been nominated for the Grammys. What do you have to say about that?
I’m so happy for him. So is like his latest album “Black Times”, the record company put in that album for a consideration to be nominated for the Grammys. I think Seun Kuti has done a very great job.
I was able to feature with him at the Waton Garden Party in the UK sometime this year. Asides from that, he’s been like dominating the Global scene entirely. He makes sure he preaches a whole lot about music, about humanity and fighting for justice and all of these things. His father began a powerful legacy. Seun has been able to put up that legacy and make sure it doesn’t die. I think he deserves anything good that comes his way.
Where do you get your Inspiration?
Basically, I get my inspiration naturally from the things happening around me. It is not too personal. I try to be the voice of the people, the voice of the truth in my own opinion and how I feel about it. It is not personal for me.
Tell us about The Truth and what you do here?
The Truth is a sacred music venue opened to all human race, regardless of culture, colors. The poor, the rich, everybody can come here; to dialogue in optimism, hoping that we can make something useful. Everybody has got something to contribute to make our society a better place. If we can make ourselves better humans, then we can make our society better. Furthermore, we can make the world a fulfilling place for us to live and for our kids and children’s children.
What event do you do at The Truth – what days?
We open The Truth from Monday to Sunday…..
On Saturdays, we invite bands to come and feature……..
I do my Sunday shows, like my Sunday Jumps here from 7 pm to 11 pm. But it is opened from 12 pm.
If you are made the minister for Information and culture, what will you do to improve music, especially live music and live performances in Nigeria?
I will bring back Festac 77 to the country. Also, I will make sure it works.
What do you like about Surulere?
Surulere is like the heartbeat of Lagos, lol. Everything happens here. Ikeja shouldn’t be the capital of Lagos. They should bring it to Surulere, lol. That my own opinion anyways.