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Why I shelved medicine for music and poetry – Jumi Fola-Alade

Posted by By FEMI SALAWU on 2007/07/03 | Views: 1912 |

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Why I shelved medicine for music and poetry – Jumi Fola-Alade


She took a detour from active medical practice to carve a niche for herself in the Nigerian musical scene with a debut album entitled: Imole. Jumi Fola-Alade is the exponent of a new innovation, which she calls Spoken Cabaret-poetry in form of music. "A cabaret", she says " is a mixture of different components although you can call me a performing poet.

She took a detour from active medical practice to carve a niche for herself in the Nigerian musical scene with a debut album entitled: Imole. Jumi Fola-Alade is the exponent of a new innovation, which she calls Spoken Cabaret-poetry in form of music. "A cabaret", she says " is a mixture of different components although you can call me a performing poet.

I call it a cabaret because it is more than poetry, there is a mix of humour, metaphors, subtleties, proverbs among other elements."
Imole is a beautiful compilation of poems, beautifully rendered with a rare artistry and sequenced with music and sounds. In this chat with Daily Sun, spoke on how she wrestled her way, fighting her dad’s initial resentment till she made a fan out of him in the end.

Finding fufilment
I have always believed I would do something like this at one point in my life but I didn’t have the exact picture of how it would look. I am not there yet but among things I have done in life, this has given me a deep sense of fulfilment so far. I expect that I will still do more things in life that will give me greater fulfilment.

Putting the album together
My first attempt at producing a work like this was in 2000 when I did one experimental track, we wrote and recorded the musical background for the poetry. Meanwhile, I was also keeping a Nine to Five job at that time and was running my Masters Degree programme, so I couldn’t concentrate and had to abandon it in my archives. Then in 2003, I started working again but was not satisfied with the output till 2005 when I met the right person for the job and we began working on the album Imole and here we are today.

Working with a team
I have a great team including a music producer, a lawyer and an accountant all working together. My professional background really helped me because I am accustomed to the ethics. My producer is also an entertainment lawyer. My accountant has worked with corporate organisations just as the person who did the branding and art direction, is also based in the UK.

Daddy’s influence
My name is Jumi Fola-Alade. I am in my thirties. I am one of six daughters of my parents and my Dad is an Academic who always urge us to give everything we do a touch of excellence in our interaction and academics. He also provided the environment for such, we travelled at very young ages and gave us the idea that we can be leaders in our any endeavour and that our gender was not a limitation. He had always wanted me to be a medical doctor that I am today aside acquiring other degrees. I tried but here I am today doing poetry. My father said he saw the flair in me when I was young but didn’t want to encourage me he is very proud of me.

Surviving school
I attended Corona Primary School, Apapa, International School, University of Ibadan and University of Lagos as well as College of Medicine, Idi-Araba and I did my Masters in Medical Informatics at King’s College, University of London. After my Masters, I had a stint with Health Management before I resigned to do something in the arts. I wouldn’t say I quit Medicine but I just know that this is a definite season in my destiny that I must give my best to what I am doing now.

Abandoning medical practice
This is a very important question, didn’t I find fufilment in Medicine Practice? Well, I would say, I did it as a sense of duty to my dad and I wasn’t looking for any reward or acknowledgement. I was just doing it yet I survived university because the seed of excellence have been sown from our childhood and that drive carried me through. I was an A+ student in school. I had seven distinctions in form four and skipped form five to the university.

How it all started
The first time I noticed was when I wrote a poem at age eight and the words rhymed and my teacher wondered if I copied it from a textbook. I also remember that I was asked to do an impromtu poem on my dad’s retirement and in-between the rendition, I noticed people started crying. Before then, I was totally oblivious of the gift; It was not so much about effort but grace and that was when I really began to take things seriously. I began collating my writings and started typing them on my laptops. Then, I began to publish in several magazines. Infact, it was one of my poems that attracted the lady who now work as my financial adviser.

Spoken cabaret
A cabaret is a mixture or a compound of different components although you can call me a performing poet. But, I call it a cabaret because it is more than poetry, there is a blend of humour, metaphors, subtleties and proverbs among other elements. It didn’t start now, when I was in secondary school, I love to read, although I was a science student, I also offered Literature as an extra subject. I was daddy’s girl because I found interesting those things he used to beg others to do like reading.

Inspiration
The events that have happened in my life have all served as a source of inspiration. Sometimes too tragedies and triumphs serve as sources of inspiration. When I was composing Midnight Prayer, the paper I was writing on was wet with tears. I was schooling in the UK then and things were really tough for me then. In 20 minutes, I had finished writing the poem, it just flowed.

Family influence
I am married to a wonderful man and we have two wonderful kids. Interaction with kids could be so revealing unlike adults who are too self-censored. One day my daughter asked, ‘mummy are we going out next week,’ and I said ‘By the grace of God’. She wouldn’t stop, she said, again ‘mummy, what is this grace of God, is it a yes, no or maybe?’ I had to sit and think very well to answer her. It provoked me to seek answers to what I think I knew and in answering that question, I also gained food for thought.

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