Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

ITSOA with Tosin Aribisala

On this episode of In The Spirit of Africa, Joseph Chidiebere Emmanuel is joined by Tosin Aribisala to discuss his latest single The Big Illusion featuring the Grammy award winning Arturo O'Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.

A renaissance force to be reckoned with, the music of composer, vocalist and percussionist Tosin speaks highly of his African origin, coupled with his exploration of jazz, funk, rock, reggae and Latin American music. As a prolific composer, Tosin fluently writes and sings in Yoruba, Pidgin English and English. Over the years, he has drawn inspirations from legendary artists likes Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, Art Blakey, Dennis Chambers, Bob Marley, King Sunny Ade, Manu Dibango, Majek Fashek, Keziah Jones, Sting, Peter Gabriel, and Salif Keita.

Growing up in Nigeria, Tosin's father's vast records collection served as his initial education in music - consciously listening to the diverse records, as well as reading the liner notes. This diversity of musical fabric reflects in his compositions. In his own words, Tosin professes that, "my music is a mixture of African rhythmic textures and some elements of jazz and blues, with lyrics of hope, love and human realities." Possessing infectious groove sensibility and versatility, Tosin has shared his talents with various artists including Femi Kuti, Taj Mahal, Baba Maal, Fatoumata Diawara, Spyro Gyra, Julie Dexter, and many producers. This also includes a recent collaboration with Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, a cross-cultural musical exchange between Africa and Latin America, with phenomenal performances in New York.

In 2017, Tosin received the Best World Music Compositions award from the Maryland State Arts Council. In the same year (2017), Tosin appeared on the Drumeo Channel for instructions on African rhythms for the drum set. In 2016, Tosin appeared at the Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention as a clinician/performer. Tosin has appeared on the MTV’s Realworld Show performing his Drum Monologue. Other appearances include the Voice of America and Fox 5 News with his group.

As a bandleader/producer, Tosin has released 4 albums and several singles, which includes an African-themed remix of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” (2016). His band has performed, both as headliner and opening act, at many festivals and jazz venues across the US and internationally. With big passion for teaching, Tosin continues to inspire both the young and older generations of drummers and music lovers through his teaching programs and workshops. In the same vein, he does not relent in writing new materials for his band. This is evident in his latest album: Afrika Rising under Ropeadope Records (2018).


1. Oro Ajoso

2. Oyinmomo in Da Groove

3. New Moon Dance

4. I Will Be There 4 U

5. The Big Illusion

Chidiebere Joseph Emmanuel, an Alumnus of the ISU Commercial Music Program. He has several years of experience as a musician and also served on the board of the Pocatello Arts Council. He is currently a Master's Student at the Jazz Studies Department of NYU. He produces and hosts his show In The Spirit Of Africa.