Osman Okey is a multinational, multilingual, multi-talented, percussionist, singer songwriter born in Enugu State in Nigeria to a former touring musician turned civil servant, late Iloegbunam Ibekaku Pius Ekpelibe and late Ijeoma Rose Ekpelibe (Nee Madu), a philanthropist nurse and community leader.
He hails from a small village called OZOM in Mgbagbu Owa – Ezeagu Local Government Area in the eastern part of Nigeria where songs, chants, percussion and music is a way of life. From an early age, he would play the ‘Ekwe’ a two tone Igbo log drum. He became deeply immersed in traditional African rhythms due to his mother’s active involvement in women’s traditional Igbo dance troupes and his uncle’s OZO chieftaincy title.
He was fascinated at the fact that the ‘Ekwe’ was played – non-stop – for the ‘OZO’ during every meal until the OZO indicated he had finished. Even as a child, Osman would insist on playing for his uncle during every meal whenever he visited the village.
Osman’s journey around the world started with studying Computer Engineering in Turkey where he also studied and competitively performed the highly intricate and energetic Turkish folklore dance called Kafkas originating from Anatolia, Turkey. His fascination for travel and different cultures took him to New Zealand where he naturalized – hence the nickname – Black KIWI. He joined a West African percussion group called ZohZoh ensemble performing Kpanlogo, Agbadza, Gahu, highly spiritual “Otu”, Kinka, Achi Agbeko etc. He toured and played in numerous festivals one of which is still one of New Zealand’s coolest afro-Caribbean-Latin music festival, Jambalaya.
While still living in New Zealand, Osman formed a ska/reggae band – Earthtone Rockers – with a group of talented kiwi artists. He wrote and performed a repertoire of original songs and reggae covers including Naughty Delilah, Gone for a while, Earthtone Skank etc. based on his travels and life experiences.
In 2006, he migrated to Canada where he joined the West African traditional dance ensemble called IjoVudu led by Sani Abu (Founder and CEO). He studied the Djembe playing West African rhythms such as Sosone, Sunu, Guinea Fare, Djibon, Kakilambe, Yankadi, Sinte, Tiriba, Koukou, Djole and Makroo – Dance of the Forest.
Osman has also assisted and collaborated with several master drummers here in Toronto such as Amara Kante, Amadou Kienou and Mohammed Djarby.
To further diversify his musical portfolio, he drew from all the cultures he been in contact with in over 20 years and formed MoptiDrums. MoptiDrums provides the following services: Beginner and Intermediate drum
lessons, hospital and senior homes drum circles, weddings, naming ceremonies, company team building exercises, festivals etc. MoptiDrums is a subsidiary of OZOM-INC also founded by Osman
Osman brings elements of all his travels around the world (Nigeria, Turkey, U.K., New Zealand, Brazil
and Canada) to his music and mixes. This includes percussion.
His Safari Nites events also promote these genre (Afrobeat, Afrohouse, Tribal house, DnB Ragga Jungle)
While studying and living in Turkey he commuted to and from the U.K. on school holidays visiting the SOHO and East London clubs. These commutes led to his immersion in the punk rock and DnB culture.
In New Zealand, he saw an opportunity based on the lack of African or World music in the downtown clubs and created the SAHARA NIGHTS series at a Cuban club called Descarga Cubana on busy K-arangahape Road, Auckland. As a result of the success of SAHARA Nights, he has since been promoting the combination of electronic music and drums.
In Canada he continued with this vision with the birth of the SAFARI NITES – series which began on May 23 2019. This is an AFRO-CENTRIC art (Masks and other artifacts), tribal music – world grooves, spoken word and African
delicacies to match the mood.
Email: email@example.com Phone: 647 568 5563
IG: @osman, @greeneyedlionos, @safarinites
FB: @osmanokey, @osman, @Green Eyed Lion, @safarinites