Gerald Eze, often called Ogbu-Oja, is a first-class graduate of music from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. He demonstrates an excellent understanding of Igbo traditional music especially in theorizing and performing Oja and Ubo-aka music. Gerald promotes Oja and Ubo-aka music by exploring them in novel textures and styles, thereby breaking the bounds of culture and instrumentation.
A winner of the Christopher Kolade Prize for Musical Excellence, Gerald demonstrates mastery in his appreciation, teaching and performance of music. In 2016, Gerald was the only music ambassador from Nigeria in the troupe that represented Nigeria in the Asian-African and China-Africa Youth Festival held in Beijing and Guangzhou respectively.
Gerald, the Ogbu-oja, in his unique and historic performance of Oja in hip-hop music was a significant feature of Headies Award, 2015. Gerald is committed to expressing the place of indigenous Igbo thoughts, ideas and arts in modern society through his music and teachings; thus he presents some aspects of Igbo music as Classical music.
As an ethnomusicologist, Gerald writes about his culture and the music of the Igbo in a tone marked with activism and passion. For Gerald, his studies on the musical experiences around him is an affair he should share with the larger society, particularly in performance. And so he engages the Nigerian society alongside his band, the Ichoku Ensemble, with his musical concert, “Uwa Mgbede”.
This unique approach, as artfully crafted by Gerald, both sustains the essence of indigenous Igbo music and also fits into the modern society where it stays not only as a cultural symbol but also as a gestalt, integrating the purposes of edification, education, and entertainment.
Though Gerald is a “lecturer” at the Department of Music, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, he can best be described as a “Minstrel”.
On 5th September 2021, Gerald and his Ichoku Ensemble will perform at the Closing Ceremony of the 3rd Anniversary of Tales of Nigerians tagged “Cruise and Mental Health”.