The co-founder of Yola Jazz praise. He is also a music minister, a passionate saxophonist. He has been hosted in many TV stations where he played live. In this interview he reveals the secret of his passion and how he discovered his purpose. Arasax, as he is popularly called is a wonder whenever he placed that shiny conical instrument in between his lips. Let’s hang out with him!
THE WELL: CAN WE MEET YOU?
My name is Avindia Aranda popularly known as Arasax, though I refer to myself as SAX PSALMIST due to an inspiration I have always gotten from the writer of Psalms [DAVID] in the bible. I am from Adamawa state Nigeria. My music ministry began since when I was a kid, I go to church more than any other place as a kid, and I have been in the Sunday school choir, then my voice was perfectly soprano, I enjoyed singing with the ladies back then. With time puberty scattered my voice and I didn’t work on it, instead I picked a different “career” which was drumming in the Boys Brigade and virtually played all the drums and letter moved to wind instruments, trumpets to be precise, that was 2003 when I was in JSS one. Then I was just doing it for regimental purposes since it was a requirement for every boy in the brigade. When I came to ABU I got my personal saxophone in 2012, that was my 200level and my family supported me even when I took it home. I was still the band master in BB and I associated myself with Boys Brigade in Kaduna, also with music mentors like Sir Isaac Oluwatobi who started teaching me sax and Mosaix [Moses Bello] and other friends too. The choir trained me to understand that music is a ministry and not inferior to any other arm of ministry, and I understand that music should be backed up with a spirit not just the sound.
THE WELL: Do you think your gift is perfectly helping you achieve your God ordained purpose?
Yes! On several occasions when am just rehearsing even unbelievers would just come to listen though they are not even Christians. My purpose is to reconcile people to God by creating an atmosphere for people to connect to God. This gift of playing instruments has helped greatly in achieving that. A time came when people started telling me that when I started playing they felt ‘something just left them’, that was when I knew God is really interested in what I do. When I play and I see burdens lifted and people gain confidence to approach the Father. At a point I was tired of seeing people just clap, even unbelievers will clap and tell you that you are good but it lies beyond that. It was when I started receiving testimonies like people feeling the change in the atmosphere or burdens lifted that I believe God is really happy with what am doing, at that time I knew both my purpose and my gift are perfectly blended, and I believe I can still grow more and more.
THE WELL: What were the challenges you had to overcome especially at the beginning of the adventure?
As I said earlier, I started this in 200level. I believe you are aware of the demands of pharmacy school then, it was actually a ‘wrong’ time to start, because 200level is the beginning of challenge and exposure to the stress in the school. But if you really have passion for it, you will look for time. I hear people say I really have passion for this or that but I don’t have time now, I have always taken that as a confirmation that they really don’t have passion for it. I had to attain lecture from 8am to 5pm from Monday to Friday, lectures, test and tutorials on Saturdays and Sundays. But since I had passion for what I was doing sometimes I had to stay back in Zaria for a week to practice during break before going home. I practiced for 5 hours during that time. I practiced with my friends like Victor and Steve SAX, sometimes the securities will lock us inside, we had to come and knock before the door will be opened again. I discovered music must be a lifestyle; when you are walking, reading etc. for you to play extremely well you must listen well. My laptop then was filled with music videos of my mentors, so even when I was not playing, I was listening, I was watching. I was analyzing and wondering how they played. It was improving my tonality subconsciously. While I was learning in the beginning I have listened and practice all the old videos from 2015 downward of Kunle Ajayi , Mike Aremu, Jerry Omole which I collected from friends and downloaded myself. In my 300level I had to dodge some classes to attain music school because I saw a need to enroll in the school and I decided to do my IT (industrial attachment) in Zaria just to afford me more time with my instrument and mentors. I had to play sometimes even while there was test or exams.
THE WELL: if you are to start your life all over again what would you do differently?
(Laughs)Well, am actually I’m not regretting any aspect of my life now. The only few regrets I have, I would not count them as regrets; for instance I wish I started music earlier than I did. Maybe at 5 years or from the womb (laughs). But actually I don’t have regrets. I choose to study Pharmacy and I graduated how I wanted. It will still be sax if I am to start all over again.
THE WELL: How do you intend to increase your impact and maximize your influence both in your profession and as a Sax Psalmist?
My plans are directed towards music, my career as a pharmacist, and also my family. Towards music, I planned to own a personal studio. This will help me play whenever I want and as I am led by the Spirit. i believe with the backing of the Spirit my music can go anywhere no matter how “unarranged” it may seem. I also intend to have all sorts of saxophones and other instruments related to it. Now there are various kinds of sax, including rubber and electronic sax. I have seen them already and I know I will get them just the way I got my first sax. We will soon start hosting major programs in major cities in Nigeria and beyond. And people will start looking at music with a different perspective. Toward my career, as you are aware am already a pharmacist. Am now a master’s student in disaster risk management apart from the online courses I offer which are all humanitarian courses by UNICEF and a Harvard University initiative, I will also love to come back and have a master’s degree in pharmacy related field with time. I want to have a good family and bless my parents also.
THE WELL: so when do you intend to settle down as a man [get married]?[Laughs] I don’t want to say anything about that for now, but the truth is the time for it will come.
THE WELL: Your hobby?
My hobby is playing and listening to jazz music, travelling and meeting new people and reading.
THE WELL: Mentors?
My mentor in ministry is King David as I said earlier, but those teaching me are also my mentors, these include my elder brother Kumar Musa Aranda who first inspired me and thought me with trumpet, he was the first. Sir Isaac Oluwatobi, Moses Bello (mosaix), other people who am hoping to meet face to face like Jerry Omole, Mike Aremu and Kunle AJayi. Kenny G and many others. But the man I dream of being in his shoes always is David.
THE WELL: a word to your fans and those who would love to do what you are already doing.
Without my fans maybe people would not even hear me, they shared my songs and videos in the social media and other places, they have been a tremendous blessing to me, helping me minister to more souls. I have more friends now since I started the ministry.
Those looking up to me, I tell you, you can be better than me, and you would be better if you want. It will be a wonderful thing to see my student performing better than me. The ones coming up must be greater if not the body of knowledge will be reducing or even crumble completely. I wish to see anyone I teach or encouraged to be better so that when I’m no more my legacy will be a good one. I have been shown love beyond my expectations. I love you all.
THE WELL; THANKS ARASAX
Thank you very much Well of Excellence
Interviewed by Misal Musa for well of excellence © 2019