Founder of the annual Ankara Festival Texas, Wale Ogundeyi, reveals that the festival was borne out of his love for culture in this chat with Happenings
Olawale Ogundeyi is the organizer of the world famous Ankara Festival Texas.
Also known as Wale Kekere, Ogundeyi played the conga for legendary singer and songwriter, King Sunny Ade, before setting up his band.
Ogundeyi, who hails from Abeokuta, spoke with Happenings on the challenges and motive behind Ankara festival Texas.
For how long were you in King Sunny Ade's musical band?
I was in King Sunny Ade's band for almost 6years, from 2000 to 2005
Were you one of his backup singers or an Instrumentalist?
I was a congalist in the band. I was popularly known as "Wale kekere or Wale Omele then.
Why did you leave?
I left the band because I knew it was time for me to move on to the next level. To go start a new life.
How would you rate Nigerian music?
I thank God for Nigerian music. The Nigerian music industry is growing very fast. Nigerian music is accepted internationally. Let me say worldwide and I know we can still do better.
Let’s talk about the Ankara Festival. What is it about?
Ankara Festival Texas is all about music, fashion show, art exhibition, and comedy. Its mission is to expose those of other cultures to the cultures of Africa and give Africans in the diaspora a taste of home.
What is the motive behind Ankara Festival?
One day, I was having dinner with my wife and friend at my house and he said, “Mr. Victory, Dallas is too boring we need to do something, maybe a yearly event that will bring everybody together. Something like Jean's carnival, pool party.”
I just thought of Ankara, something that has to do with my culture and they both said that's a good idea. That was how it all started.
It was called Ankara night, but we later changed the name to Ankara Festival in 2012.
For how long have you been organizing Ankara festival?
I have been organizing Ankara Festival Texas since 2011. This year's Ankara festival is coming up on the 26th of April.
Do you have people who sponsor the event?
God is supporting me with the help of my wife, families, and friends. I know one day cooperate companies will sponsor it. I have faith.
What has been the challenges so far?
The challenges so far are that a lot of people have come to request for partnership with Ankara Festival Texas.
But they later back out because their intention is that they are coming to make money. When they see that we don't make that much profit after the event, they back out.
One thing people should understand is that Rome was not built in a day. It's going to be good one day.
Let's talk about your musical band?
Yes, I have a musical band here in Texas. The name of my band is Lawale Victory and the Victorious Band. I started my band on March 8th, 2010.
We perform at parties, club and Nigerian restaurants in the Dallas Metroplex.