Dr. Jonovan Thomarcas Cooper
Jonovan Cooper, a native of Windsor, NC USA, started playing music while in Kindergarten where his mother introduced him to the keyboard. Using the keyboard (organ) that she bought for him, he practiced and began making appearances in his local church playing and singing. He later began taking piano lessons and when he became old enough, he joined his school band. That’s when he picked up the saxophone, which became his instrument of choice. Despite an accident in the 8th grade that almost ended his career before it even started, he kept pursuing his dreams of playing professionally. He played throughout high school, studied Jazz at North Carolina Central University, Music Education at Norfolk State University and Saxophone at The American Conservatory. He thus acquired his BM, MM and DMA degrees and even studied Business Administration at American Intercontinental University where he received his MBA.
Jonovan was a member of the US Navy where he was stationed in the Atlantic Fleet Band in Norfolk, VA. There he lived for about six years also playing in local bands including “Right On,” a seventies show band well known throughout the US and countries around the world and his own jazz quintet. He also volunteered in the music ministry at his local church, “Calvary Revival Church” in Norfolk.
Later Jonovan moved to Orangeburg, SC after being hired as an Assistant Professor of Music Industry at South Carolina State University. There he also served as assistant band director and director of the university jazz ensembles (both vocal jazz and instrumental jazz ensembles). He taught there for four years before leaving for Ethiopia in 2008. After his initial move, Jonovan somehow found himself sailing around the world playing on cruise ships for Princess Cruises where he managed to see six of the seven continents within a time span of less than two years.
Jonovan Cooper - Anchihoye For His Majesty
Finally in 2011, Jonovan settled in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he taught music at a local international school and at a seminary school in the city. He also kept a heavy performance schedule throughout the city while taking care to learn the local music and giving it its due respect. He was so intrigued by Ethiopian music from the beginning that he made it a point to learn and write new compositions solely around the modes and rhythms of the country. Now Jonovan ministers through music at Beza International Church where he directs the music department. He also is an assistant professor of music at Yared School of Music, Addis Ababa University and teaches at Jazzamba School of Music.
While in Addis Jonovan has performed with several musicians and singers including Mulatu Astatke, Kalkidan Tilahun (Lily), Samuel Tesfamichael, and Dawit Getachew. In spite of all the teaching and music directing, Jonovan still manages to study the music of Ethiopia and has managed to record his first project under his own name, “Suite Abyssinia", which features various rhythms and modes of Ethiopia. He currently lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with his wife and children.
In the words of Jonovan,
“Music should move people spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I choose, therefore, to strive to always affect people in a positive manner acknowledging my spiritual inspirations in my compositions and performances. I dare not claim to have some power to move people, however, people are moved when I perform. That, my friends, is not me but the God in me. My philosophy as a musician is to tell a story that the audience can relate to. Through this philosophy, I am able to be innovative and entertaining simultaneously."
Jonovan Cooper - 01 - ደስታ የኔ ነው (Joy is Mine) (8:42)
Jonovan Cooper - 02 - ተነሱና አመስግኑት (Get Up & Praise Him!) (11:23)
Jonovan Cooper - 03 - ብርሃናዊ መጋርጃ (Curtain of Light) (8:03)
Jonovan Cooper - 04 - 150 በጉራጊኛ… (150 With Guragegna…) (9:36)
Jonovan Cooper - 05 - አንቺሆዬ ለልኡሉ (Anchihoye For His Majesty) (7:27)
Jonovan Cooper - 06 - አማን ይሁን (Let There Be Peace) (6:12)
Jonovan Cooper - 07 - እንቁ የሆነ (Priceless) (6:41)
Jonovan Cooper - 08 - ኢትዮ ገነት (Ethio-Heaven) (9:16)