Arts & Entertainment

Musician Siji Performs at Montclair Art Museum

Credits: Natalie Heard Hackett
Credits: Natalie Heard Hackett
Credits: Natalie Heard Hackett
Credits: Natalie Heard Hackett

MONTCLAIR, NJ – The Montclair Art Museum’s African American Cultural Committee presented a musical performance and film screening by singer, songwriter, producer and filmmaker Siji on Thursday.


As part of the eigth annual African American Film Forum, films are displayed by independent African American filmmakers who bring to the big screen a look at the African Diaspora through a variety of entertaining and provocative genres. 


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Siji's performance was a clever mix of cultural history through the documentary film Elder’s Corner and musical expression. Siji explained that his musical style was influenced by music from his native country of Nigeria. In his self-produced documentary, Siji speaks of how he came to America in search of creating a music career. The film is shown in clips and between clips, Siji performs and then speaks about the history of these Nigerian music legends and his own musical journey.


Born in the United Kingdom to Nigerian parents, he spent much of his early childhood in Lagos and London for coming to the United States to further pursue his musical ambitions. Siji’s journey took him back to his homeland of Nigeria where he went on a pursuit to find the veteran musicians that he grew up listening to.  When he found them, Siji wanted to know where they went and what happened to them.


They, in turn, began teaching him much more than he thought he knew about music. Having grown up in London, Nigerian and America, Siji’s musical influences were an infusion of cultures that played out in his music. His music fuses elements of soul, jazz, highlife and fuses traditional Yoruba rhythms drawn from his rich ancestral background. Siji has created four albums.


Siji spoke of Nigeria as, “intense, exciting, grueling, electrifying." He described his documentary as identifying key moments in Nigeria's history that helped to shape the nation, which has been under self rule for 50 years.


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