Saxophonists have been an integral part of the African music scene, with the timbres of their chosen instrument often at the center of layered compositions. In this interview with Tosin Clegg, Peter Adeshile, AKA Kakaki Jesu, a top-selling saxophonist and UK-based Nigerian talks about his rhythmically interesting album, love and exposure to Jazz, the Saxophone and his deep passion for music
What’s behind the name ‘Kakaki Jesu’
Istarted my music career playing the trumpet. I was the best in my community, I was therefore popularly known as Kakaki, which means Trumpet.
I was a member of the Boys Brigade
In this club, we were expected to learn how to play as many instruments as possible. I started with the drums and then moved to the Trumpet due to the influence of my mentor, a senior officer of Boys Brigade, Mr. Debo Norma-Williams. I had seen him play exceptionally well. I approached him to teach me and he gladly did.
What attracted and influenced me to the Saxophone
When I arrived in the UK, I continued playing the Trumpet, but as I began to go around playing at church engagements, I was always asked if I could play the Saxophone as well. Then, one day, we were in choir practice in church and I picked up a Saxophone that was bought by the church. One of the ladies in choir practice (Susan Odushola) said ‘Brother Peter, it would be really nice for you and the church if you can learn to play the saxophone.’ Then I came to Lagos on holidays and asked a friend of mine, Biodun Adeoye, who was the baritone and saxophone player for Femi Kuti, to teach me how to play and here we are today. Saxophonists I listen to include Fela Kuti, Kirk Whalum, Ron Brown, Rick Braun and Charlie Parker.
The life of a Musician is filled with women
I am very disciplined, because I love my wife. The only woman I need to manage is my Yetunde.
I kind of leave the home front management and organisation to Yetunde
She does a fantastic job managing the home, even with her busy schedule. All I do is to tell her where and when my engagements are and she manages the rest around my schedule.
Whenever I’m not travelling
I rehearse a lot and listen to productions by other musicians. That’s also family time. We tend to go to Southend beach when the weather is good or to have a meal out.
The Industry of today
The industry seems to be picking up even in the recession; people always need good music.
I’m working on my second album
That’s at the moment and it is titled ‘Afro according to the Gospel’. I practice my music with the Saxophone, Trumpet and Keyboard.
About my own music
Yes, I like the music I do. I will not sell to people, what I do not like. I don’t do sound engineering but I have a little knowledge of it. And sound needs a good Sound Engineer.
I do Contemporary Gospel
My music is unique and original, although I’m not yet signed to any music label. My marketing company is currently CD Babies.
Choice of producers
Sheun Oke is my producer because he is well advanced in contemporary music. Why gospel and not R’N’B or soul music is because I love the Lord and maybe because I grew up in the Christian environment.
Setting myself apart in the music scene
My uniqueness is using afro and African high life style in my music. The biggest I have performed was at The Redeemed Christian Church of God Festival of Life in London and Freedom Arena in London, as well.
My new album
There’s going to be about 8 tracks and the first one is “Accept Christ” in full Afro format.
What inspired the songs
As a Christian, I look at what is going on in the Diaspora. It seems like the end time and time to accept Christ.
If I were to be 18 again
I would focus more on music than academics. It seems I have gone round in a full circle and ended up a musician.
My biggest fear
The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. I fear God.
Artiste I would love to meet
That would be Kirk Whalum. In my opinion, Amazing Grace by Kirk Whalum is the best song ever recorded.
I’m disciplined, focused and respectful
And I would never travel without My Saxophone. And if one artiste were to perform at my party, I guess that would have to be Kirk Whalumm
I would love to ban drugs and alcohol
Majorly because, it’s what has landed a lot of musicians in trouble.
The journey has just begun
The production of my second album is what I’m fully focused on now.
Lesson from my life as an artiste
You need to have a vision of where you are going and remain focused. A lot of people miss it without a combination of these two things.
I would like to use this platform to encourage more African musicians to focus more on African style of music. We all seem to be forgetting our rich African culture.