Thursday, 06 April 2017 20:59

Band EnRoute. Hot and sizzling.

Band EnRoute. Sugar Weddings Exhibition. Band EnRoute. Sugar Weddings Exhibition.

In Lagos right now, Band EnRoute is the hottest band rocking the social scene. The band, led by Isaac Otokpa, plays music for all occasions, from weddings, birthdays, funerals receptions, picnics and other social events, to corporate events, themed events, night clubs and hotels. Their popular catch phrase is: we play everywhere.

Band EnRoute plays a wide variety of music in order to satisfy a broad range of musical interests. They customise their repertoire to fit into your specific needs and they have songs selected for every aspect of your event.

They have a way of keeping your guests entertained, stuck on the dance floor, and asking for more… as they serenade them with a non-stop blend of both local and foreign genre like Ballads, Oldies,

Regardless of the venue, the energy and versatility they bring creates a party experience that will give you and your guests a day to remember.

Last week, City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE had a drink with the band leader, ISAAC OTOKPA. He revealed a lot about the band.


Isaac Otokpa cut his teeth in music with the Chairman of PUNCH Newspapers, Wale Aboderin. He has had a band for a while. At some point, he disbanded the band. Isaac had a friend who wanted to get married. She knew he was into music. She told him she wanted him to come and play at her party. He agreed. So he put his colleagues together and they played after that he started getting other calls. He then went to meet the Chairman, Mr. Aboderin. He explained the situation and asked for his blessing. He gave it, this was in 2009.

That was when he took off. At that time they were having 5 to 6 shows a year but in 2014 things changed.

It jumped from 6 to 18 shows a year. And the story changed. From that 2014 it has been an upward climb.

 How did he get involved in music?

“I have been involved in music since I was in secondary school”, he said. “I came to Lagos to school and get a regular job. The music angle was became that was all I knew how to do. My idea was to do music, make money to fund my schooling. After the schooling get a regular job. I am Idoma from Benue. So my story is I came to Lagos, I started working in a church, played in the band, played for Mike Okri for a while, I was doing that and schooling. I got into OOU to read Mass Communication. I finished school. I started looking for a course in Aviation. I did a lot of trekking. No jobs. About that time, Mr. Wale Aboderin gave me some sound instruments. He was going to buy some new stuff. So he said to me Isaac go and clear out the store. I want to put my new equipments there. I now asked him: where do I put the old equipment?

He just said I dash you. If you want to sell them, sell them, whatever you make is yours. If you want to use them you can use them. Its all yours. So, I kept them somewhere and I was still looking for jobs on the Island and I could not get. I searched for jobs for 5 months. I now said to myself why am I stressing myself? I have sound equipment locked up somewhere.

The equipment was worth like N5 million. But many of were damaged because they have been kept in the store for long. That was how I became a millionaire overnight. That was how I started.

Did you now leave him?

No. I didn’t actually leave him. After I got his blessing and we started, after a year of disbanding the band because they annoyed him over some matters, he decided to reconstitute the back.

He said I know you have your band but can you manage the 2? Both yours and mine? I said yes sir. I can. He now said: don’t try to play smart. I said that won’t happen. We don’t play in the same class. Your class is higher than mine. And I won’t bite the finger that fed me. So I managed his band and I run my band.

That must take a lot from you?

It doesn’t since we do the same thing but at different levels.

How do you draw the line?

When we go for his events, we share cards. We are known as Rapture for him. Every client that comes for rapture events is for him. We don’t mix the two. When we go for Band Enroute event, it is Band Enroute event.

How did you come up with the name Band Enroute?

My life had been a journey and I really had no direction. Things just happened around me to push me along the way. That’s the major reason for the name. So its like this is a journey we are embarking on.

So what kind of music do you play?

We play all sorts of music. We play local music. We play Juju music. We play Reggae. We play Oldskool. We play Blues, American Hip-Hop, Naija Hip-Hop. It depends on the client.

If it’s an Igbo gig, we have those who can sing Igbo songs well.

I don’t sing. I only play the keyboard well. I have 5 singers some can sing Yoruba songs, some can sing Igbo songs. I have other singers I can involve in our school. If the xxx to deliver what the client wants. I always ask the client what he or she wants. I will now say can I add this or that to it.

How do you enrich your knowledge or repertoires of the music of the 50s, 60’s, 70’s?

For that, I can only thank Mr. Wale Aboderin. He knows all those ancient songs. He knows all the hits of the 60s and 70s. He knows who did what he liked really drilled us into learning old foreign songs. And once you know songs, you don’t forget them. He has an intensive library that he forced on us.

Apart from music what else do you do?

Thats all I do. I used to work in church to get paid. After a while I felt I needed to stop getting paid for church work. I am married now.

Do you ever get tired of music? How do you unwind?

I unwind by watching movies, music is what I do. If I want to relax and I don’t want to hear music, I will need a good movie. When I am angry take me to the cinema. Movies does a lot for me.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Benue. But I grew up in Kaduna State. I was there for 12 years. We left in 1992 after the Zango-Kataf riots in 1991. My dad said we should leave that we can’t come and die in Kaduna. So we went back to Benue. I left Makurdi in 1996 to come to Lagos.

What do you make of Nigerian music?

I like inspirational music. I like love songs. I like sensible love song. The rest is for fun.

How do you assess the state of music today? People accuse the young acts of churning out music with no content. Do you agree?

It is not exclusive to Nigerian music. We copied it from abroad. Band Enroute plays at Headies Award every year. We are the official band for Headies since 2012. So we get to mee these artistes and talk to them about their songs. Some of their lyrics make sense. Some don’t, the rhymes are interesting. So you can’t just categorise everything as not having content.

Read 1164 times Last modified on Monday, 26 March 2018 10:35