Adunni & Nefretiti
Adunni & Nefretiti is a multiple award winning all female singing group established in 2006 by Ms. Orobiyi Motunrayo Abiodun (aka Adunni) based in Lagos, Nigeria.
They bring to their performances a passion for the rich catalog of raw and undiluted African music. The group’s vision is to project the culture of Africa in its totality through music. Adunni & Nefretiti has performed on large and small stages throughout Africa, Europe and the U.S.
In a 2015 interview in “Labisi,” Linda Ikeji’s blog, Seyi Eretan spoke in depth with Adunni about the origins of her group. Here are excerpts:
About Adunni and the group
Well, my beginning was very simple and being the first child in a family of five, the journey was not smooth. I had my primary and secondary school education at Ayetoro, Ogun State. I worked before I was admitted into the University of Lagos to study Theatre Arts at the department of Creative Arts and while in the university system I still worked to support myself and my family.
As a professional performing artist,, I have worked with a lot of noble, humble and experienced music and theatre directors home and abroad.
Choice of ‘Nefertiti’
It all started after my NYSC program when my first recording album did not come out the way I wanted. So we agreed to go online in search of a unique name that carries the characteristics and attributes of women who portray the African culture. We came across Queen Nephertiti of Egypt.
Adunni means pleasant to have while Nefertiti means the beautiful one has come. The combination of these two powerful names serves as a driving force which brings out the aesthetic and artistic value of talented women in us through music.
Uniqueness of the music
My type of music is folkloric. It is spiritual. Irrespective of tribe and language, it is about morals in all forms especially to heal the ills of the society. Few years back my type of music was perceived as primitive but lately, it has come to stay.
What makes my genre of music unique and classy is the fact that we maintain original lyrics and tone of the music which is known as characterisation. I do my music on a more traditional identity. Even when it has some western influence, which cannot be totally avoided, I ensure that the African identity in my tone of delivery and in my appearance is strictly adhered to.
Her choice of genre of music
I will never do what will not attract people from other parts of the world especially the West. They are desperately in search of what is new and different entirely from what they are familiar with; they will ask questions and are ever ready to go the extra mile to love and adopt it.
Certainly, everyone cannot tongue-twist. We all have our strong point in all areas of life, discovering it is another thing and that is where many people have lost it. Some lost it for life while some are lucky to trace it back.
Starting out was rough; there was no money and steady platform but thanks to God I have experimented me as a person on different platforms. Since childhood, I love me, I know who I am, I searched and God helped me to see where there is a vacuum in the music industry.
With no shame or intimidation, I was attracted and attached to the opportunity. Without wasting time, I grabbed it quickly even when many said to my face and showed me by their actions that I am local and uncivilized as I was a graduate. I never felt offended because I have come to realize that people like that are distracters. They are the ladder provided for me to climb to my glorious and divine destination. So I re-packaged folk songs that women of virtue like late Comfort Omoge, Onyeka Onwenu, Stella Monye, Lijadu sisters, late Miriam Makeba, Angelique Kidjo and even late Pa Hubert Ogunde and many more have created. I realized it was fading out gradually all in the name of sophistication. If not quickly tapped into, it may take eternity and extra hard work to bring back.
With no regret, total fulfillment and satisfaction, I have and will continue to imbibe the positive spirit of high self-esteem and dignity into my team.
In terms of grouping, some are married, some are in school and some are on a part-time basis. So if there is urgency need, auditions will be carried out to recruit new members.
Today, I am glad and bold to say that we are highly appreciated because we are real, original, educated and unashamed of our source, tradition and culture. Adunni & Nefertiti is still the only recognised folk song ambassador that is appealing to everybody in the society without language or ethnic barrier in the country and the Diaspora.
No intimidation from hip hop
Threatened? Read my lips, NO WAY! Music world is broad and it is a God-given talent industry. Let generations after generations keep digging into the different genres, they can never finish exploiting it.
There is no big deal. Music is practical; just give us microphone and leave the rest for the audience to judge. It is a free world and not a do or die affair. There are no two ways about it; you either have it or not.