Hitting the Right Notes Without a Tenor Horn

Tosan Arugha plays the saxophone almost note perfect — but he plays it differently from how you might expect. The 31-year-old has been dubbed the human saxophone because he makes a sound remarkably similar to the woodwind instrument using just his mouth. Through coordinated blowing similar to whistling, Arugha thrills audiences with renditions of popular Afrobeats songs from Nigerian performers such as Teni Entertainer and Burna Boy. The unusual talent has made his Instagram videos an instant hit, with thousands reposting them on the social media site. He has also received cash donations from fans impressed with his mouth saxophone skills. Arugha’s story is, however, tinged with tragedy. In 2010, he survived a bomb blast in Nigeria’s oil-rich but volatile Delta region.  He sustained injuries, including burns to his face, but said music kept him going during the hospital stay. A graduate of Delta State Polytechnic, southeast Nigeria, Arugha says he is currently perfecting his talent by rehearsing songs and practicing to get better.


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