The musical journey of Lekan Babalola, a Grammy award-winning jazz percussionist, started from his father’s church — where he was inspired to follow his heart.

Here are ten things you didn’t know about the 56-year old musician.

Grew up in a religious setting

Lekan Babalola went to church every day after school where he developed his drumming skills.

His father was his greatest influence

His father was very serious with music which he played in the church. He took after his father by imitating what he did.

First performed in a band at the age of 6 called “Street Kid”

He put a street band together playing percussions with junk like tins and plastic. He gathered kids on his street to play with him and paid them with sweets which his mother gave him money to buy. Taking after his father who played music in the church.

Wanted to be an automobile engineer

Babalola received a scholarship to Chelsea College of Aeronautics and Automobile engineering in the United Kingdom. He wanted to be an automobile or aeronautic engineer with thoughts of also becoming a pilot.

Studied filmmaking

After realising his dream was to be a musician he dropped the engineering program. He later enrolled at the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design where he studied filmmaking. He proceeded to the Northern Film School where he completed his master’s degree

Played on about 10 tracks on his first Grammy-winning album

The album was ‘Heart of the Moon’ by Malian guitarist, Ali Farka Touré. The Grammy was awarded in 2006.

Worked with Cassandra Wilson on her Grammy-nominated album “Lovely”

Babalola spent weeks at her house in Upstate New York writing music.

Music brought him and his wife together

Lekan says his wife, Kate Luxmoore, is a greater musician than him. They currently have 3 children together.

Founded Eko Brass Band

The goal of the brass band is to celebrate Nigerian composers and at the same time playing original music



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