Ben Okafor Interview

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1- Tell us bit about the album? 

The album ‘Diverted Traffic’ is the result of my embracing the fact that I cannot be myself and at the same time insist on being accepted by the music industry. I think that there are wider truths about all of us that cannot be encapsulated by tight definitions and easy categories, and the music industry often demands that we be constrained by narrow artistic expressions.

2 – Who have you worked with on the album?

Early albums worked with Producer Bob Lamb, Birmingham, UK (UB40)

More recent albums (Coffee with Lazarus & Diverted Traffic) produced by Harvey Jones, US (Donna Lewis & others) ;Mark Stevens, Northampton (BBC TV & various artists)

3 – Story behind the single ‘I Will Be Back’?

‘I Will be Back’, a track on that album, is born of interactions I have had with others where I have worked really hard to help them to understand the complexities of injustice – particularly those who have been born into privilege without being aware of it. Sometimes such audiences gain clarity about the state of our world community, but at the same time they feel threatened by this, and so opt for an understanding that constrains a vast number of people, including those like me. Meanwhile, in the wider world, wars are raging and injustice is rampant, and I feel the need to go away and regroup. These things are urgent, because we are running out of time….

4 – Any name acts you have toured with / supported?

Desmond Tutu , David Grant, Bruce Cockburn, Van Morrison, Cliff Richard

“Make Poverty History” rally Gleneagles

Billy Bragg, Eddy Izzard, Bianca Jagger


5 – Biggest gigs and highlights of your career to date?

Make Poverty History, Gleneagles Summit

Glastonbury Festival

Bristol River Folk Festival

Cambridge Folk Festival

Tafewa Balewa Square, Lagos

National Stadium, Lagos

National Theatre, Lagos

World Music Festival, Copenhagen

Playing to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Archbishop Rowan Williams and hundreds of Bishops from around the world at the Lambeth Conference 2008 at Lambeth Palace

Performing a Nelson Mandela speech at the launch in Westminster Abbey of the Make Poverty History Campaign. Other contributors on that occasion included Bonnie Greer, Jools Holland and Pete Postlethwaite

Presentation about children and war at a Commonwealth leaders summit in London in the presence of HM the Queen and Prince Philip.


6 – Where is the best place to find you online?

See full discography on www.benokafor.com

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