The man whom former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart calls "the Mozart of the talking drum," Sikiru Adepoju (Seek-ee-roo Ah-deh-poh-joo), first came to the focus of the American music scene through his involvement with Hart in the Grammy Award winning Planet Drum project. His technical mastery of the talking drum and various indigenous percussion instruments (dundun, gudugudu, gome, omele, sekere, etc.) have gained acceptance and respect among music listeners of all tastes. Yet, it is his unique spirit, discipline, and commitment to the moment that have gained him respect among his musical peers, and have contributed to his ability to engage and draw in audiences, body & mind, all the over globe.
Born in Eruwa, Western Nigeria, Sikiru grew up in a "talking drum family" where he began his tutelage of the instrument at his father's side, at the age of six years old. He then went on to tour and record several albums with renowned Nigerian Juju artist Chief Ebenezer Obey and his Inter-Reformers Band. Obey, who called his personal style the miliki (enjoyment) sound, began where noted juju entertainer I.K. Diaro left off. Obey drew in such Western elements as multiple guitars and a Hawaiian steel guitar soloist, adding them to the traditional rhythmic foundation.
Through his work with Obey, and subsequent work as a studio musician in Nigeria, the young Sikiru quickly won himself appreciation as a leading force on the talking drum throughout his homeland. In 1985, rising afrobeat artist, and nephew of I.K. Dairo, O.J. Ekemode, approached Sikiru to join his band. Sikiru agreed & later the same year Ekemode brought Sikiru and several other musicians from Nigeria to the United States to record and tour.
After he moved to the Bay Area in 1985, Sikiru, soon met world-renowned percussionist and leading African music artist Babatunde Olatunji. Shortly after meeting Olatunji, Sikiru joined his Drums of Passion ensemble and began a 17 year period of productivity with the group, recording & touring extensively throughout the world, until a year before Olatunji's death in 2003.
While a member of Olatunji's Drums of Passion, Sikiru recorded with Stevie Wonder, & Carlos Santana, and performed with the Grateful Dead, where he met Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. It was after meeting Hart that Sikiru also joined Hart's Planet Drum ensemble to record & tour. In 1991 the group's debut release "Planet Drum" hit #1 on the Billboard World Music Chart, remaining there for 26 weeks, and went on to receive a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album. In 2002 Sikiru joined Mickey Hart's Bembe Orisha (party to the spirits), where he continues to tour & perform.
In 2003 Sikiru joined Trinidad born steel pan wizard Val Serrant to create Afrika Heartbeat. Afrika Heartbeat melds the musical influences of Yoruba culture across the African Diaspora with a foundation in Nigerian Juju music and Highlife.