Daniel Dzidzonu was born into the sounds of West African percussions and gospel.
His father managed a brass band that performed at church services, weddings and funerals. That exposure led him to a fascination with brass instruments from a very young age.
One day while one of his father’s horn players was cleaning his trumpet, the little Daniel was allowed to have a go at the instrument, which was a huge priviledge. The horn player and his father were blown away by the sound that came out of the four year old’s blowing and realized that he had a natural affinity to the instrument. His father gave him a bugle for his 5th birthday and that’s when he started blowing in the air, imitating traditional Apkesse Bands, whereby voices accompany Ewe drumming , punctuated with bugle interlude solos.
His biggest desire was to play the trumpet. Even though the members of his father’s band sometimes taught him the basics of horn playing, he was not allowed to touch or play with their instruments so he had to wait for many years before he had his first trumpet. After he got one, he learned how to read music from a church member who taught classical trumpet and music theory, using only the church hymn books as material. The rest depended on learning the melodies by heart. As a pastime, he would memorise the melodies of songs he heard on the radio and on TV. He would look for different ways of playing, unknowingly honing his talent and improvisation skills.
At 12 years old, he was already taking music seriously, which earned him the role of the bandleader in his father’s brass band a few years down the line. His solo rendition on Louis Armstrong’s ‘When the saints go marching’ which they performed at weddings is what got him noticed. His playing and sound were distinctively different to that of his seniors.