By Sariah Lake
Photo by Ore Oluyen
‘Rhythm’ is Essex’s newest society, and it will focus on honing and showcasing the university’s musical talent. Founded by Juwaerat ‘Keji’ Ayanda, the society looks to create community and resources for musicians on campus.
On Thursday, December 7th, Rhythm hosted one of their weekly open mic nights, where members and newcomers alike are welcome to participate and/or enjoy a night of music. For this night, execs gave the attendees a challenge to perform in a genre or style of music they are typically inexperienced or unfamiliar in to encourage musical exploration.
Many rose to the challenge with Daniel Abel-Ajala (pictured above) opening the night with his saxophone covers.
“I’ve been looking for an avenue to showcase my talent for a while.” He stated, sharing that this society has given him the opportunity to share his music in a room of other talented and passionate individuals. He hopes to grow with this society at the start of his journey to become a major artist or saxophonist, inspired musically by Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong.
Sahai Spencer was another performer of the evening, who is a newcomer to the society.
“My experience here has been good; it’s building my confidence in performing in front of people.” She commented, adding that she can’t wait to see what the society holds in the future. Sahai is a 19-year-old ‘Criminology with Sociology’ student, who enjoys music as a hobby and has experience in choir singing and writing her own work.
First time attendee, Ini Babalola, was able to use this night as an opportunity to showcase his original beats to a crowd. Describing himself as a “big music fan”, he expressed his enjoyment and gratitude for being able to participate in the night.
Many others participated as well, such as Jonothan Dwyer with his R&B infused cover of Billie Eilish’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Be You Anymore’ and David Philmoore ‘DJ Dollarvibe’ with an original mashup. The night was a diverse musical experience with a supportive atmosphere, building up performers and engaging the listeners equally.
Execs were enthused with the night and the society hopes to continue to host this space for Essex students with musical interests and aspirations to develop musically. Founder, Keji, created this to replicate the musical community she experienced in college, stating how much she was able to learn and share with her peers in that time. The society offers an environment where those who make music can seek advice, feedback, and knowledge from likeminded and supportive students.
“It’s about creating a safe space for everyone where we can all see our potential and reach it as well.” She added, enforcing that she wants everyone to feel comfortable at Rhythm.
The society hosts ‘members only sessions’ on Mondays at 7-9pm and ‘open mic sessions’ (open to non-members as well) on Thursdays at 7-9pm as well. A showcase is planned for the end of the year surrounding the theme ‘music through time’.
Keji herself is a musician, defining herself as a soulful artist influenced by Afro style.
Keji is supported by her vice president, Josephine Quaye, who added that they hope to create a very inclusive society. Josephine herself dabbles in making her own original songs and grew up participating in talent shows and performances at church.
The current executive members are: Juwaerat Ayanda ‘Keji’ (President), Josephine Quaye (Vice President), Ngutor Fateh (Treasurer), Nicole Bowden (Social Media Officer), David Philmoore (Head of Tech), Amaugo Orji (Creative Secretary), Serena Osarinmwian (Welfare Officer) and Tayo Stockton (Events Officer).
Overall, the society looks to push inclusivity and warmth amongst individuals with musical interests or aspirations, with social media officer Nicole Bowden saying the kindness of members is her favourite part of the society. If this sort of environment interests you, become involved with ‘Rhythm Essex’ by purchasing the membership at Essex SU and following their Instagram page (@the.rhythm.society) to keep up to date!
Photo by Ore Oluyen