dance and music were at their best at the Goethe Institut as
the afro salsa playing band, Salvador Sango thrilled audience
to different modern and classical tunes of afro salsa that is
currently making waves in some parts of Europe.
But they all share two things:
their love for music and the dream of spreading their musical
and spiritual message all over the world.
Sotiris Papadopoulos, the leader of
the band was born on September 17, 1956 in Volos, Greece and
has been living in Nigeria for 17 years. He is a physicist
turned to musician and holds a doctorate degree in atomic
physics from Oxford having studied in Germany, England and the
United State of America but he left the academic and research
world for the great love of his life, music. He showed an
interest in music at a comparatively late age, when at 17, he
started singing rock for his first local band, Eternal
Wealth. After highschool he left Greece for Germany to
study Physics. There he picked up the guitar and started
imitating Jimi Hendrix and other rock guitar greats.
During his years in Germany he developed a passion for Latin
and Spanish music and played with various local bands
including a commercial one that made waves in the local
entertainment scene, caribao.
In 1980, Papadopoulos travelled to
Nigeria where he played with Fela Kuti and developed a keen
interest in African rhythm. In the same year, he became
friends with guitarist Paul Shigihara, Charlie Mariano, WDR
big band, who brought him to the reality of serious self
Physics brought him to New York
where he had the opportunity to be close to the jazz scene and
learn from people like Frank Foster, Billy Taylor and Ted
Dunbar at Jazz mobile in Harlem. After his studies and various
jobs in Europe and Asia the dream of music brought him to
Africa when he came to Nigeria in 1988. In the years that
followed he played with numerous bands and local stars as a
leader and as a sideman and guest including Dizzy Gillespie in
Port Harcourt in 1989, as well as the well known band, Spice.
In 2004 he formed Sotiris which later became Salvador Sango,
his artistic pseudonym.
The evening saw the performance of
soul lifting and irresistible afro salsa tunes which forced
many to their feet. The view at the Lagoon front of the Goethe
Institut and the cool breeze added credence to the somewhat
humid and hot weather characteristic of the harmattan
Salvador’s presentations were
heavily laden with Yoruba afro tunes with a mixture of afro
Caribbean tunes. The first musical presentation was rendered
in Yoruba language by one of the band back up boys, Deji
Adetayo. The sonorous music bothers on a nameless male
character that squandered the money he was suppose to use for
education to purchase a bicycle. Also included in this
presentation is another song that revolves around an appeal to
the elders by the members of the band stating their
reassurance of divine protection they enjoy from the gods as a
result of their belief in them whenever they are dealt with at
With the change in tune and the
performance of afro salsa many members of the audience,
mostly, white couples stood up to dance to the irresistible
jazz tunes with occasional interlude of Spanish afro salsa.
Tee Mac, also added colour to the
night with the tunes that reeled out of his clarinet.