Adebayo Taiwo Oluseyi popularly known as “Bembe Aladisa” once ruled the music scene with his debut album “E wa fun mi ni visa” which rented and hijacked the social scene. The agile, creative, energetic musician is now back to the music scene after a long vacation with a bang.
He tells the story of how government forces, operating under different names intimidated him and his new album which would rock the entertainment scene very soon. Excerpts
Your journey into the music world?
Unlike other Artistes that started music from their mother’s womb. I started my music career in the church as a juvenile choir and while I was growing I use to listen to Fela Anikulapo and Bob Marley, I see these people as freedom fighter, then I never knew what they were singing, because I grew up in the Barracks, as a Barrack boy, the only language I understood then was pidgin english, but musically, they penetrates my soul, I responded to their lyrics, their musical instrumentation.
Through all these, I knew these people were saying no to something’s and they were saying the fact, since then, I have chosen to be an activist who doesn’t like oppression and that’s me naturally.
How did you get your inspiration for “E wa fun mini visa”?
Let me tell you one thing, the inspiration for “Ewa fun mi ni visa” is still there and if we are not careful, it would continue to be there, it is what we are seeing and experiencing every day.
We need not to deceive ourselves, in Nigeria today, how many families can afford three square meal in a day, how many families eat balanced diet, how many families can afford good qualitative education, the fact is that, what we are seeing is what inspired me, what is around us is what I sing, I can’t say we are okay while we are hungry.
The Bible says in Proverb29:2, “when the wicked are on throne the people will start mourning, when the righteous are in authority, the people will be happy”, the question is that, Are we happy or we are sad in Nigeria? If I am seeing happiness, I would sing in that line, but if I am experiencing sadness, I am going to sing what I am seeing, I cannot pretend.
Based on the speculations then, is it true that you were denied visa at the US and UK embassies?
Our people failed to understand that “Ewa fun mi ni visa” is a slogan (chorus), the main message was not in any way related to visa issue at all. Although, I later heard that I was denied visa, in fact, I had never applied for visa, some invitations I got was through the music.
Your role model?
I love Fela Anikulapo because, he is a blunt person, though some people criticize him because he smokes, but that should be regarded as a personal habit, love him with the message of his music, which is very powerful, he preaches freedom.
After the release of the aforementioned track, you seem to be reticent, more so disappear from the music scene, what has being wrong with you since all these while?
I believe, there is time for everything, I never ran away from the music scene. I am married and I have to put everything together to take good care of my family.
Though, there was a time the former president, General Olusegun Obasanjo was abusing Idris Abdulkareem and I based on the release of my track “Ewa fun mi ni visa” where he called me bastard. He was furious about the development, that how on earth would an Egba Indigene be singing against his government, I was very aggressive then, I responded, believing that one should be free to express his/her feelings, Baba Obasanjo was very mad at me.
I was harassed, intimidated and arrested on several occasions by the police and other law enforcement agents asking me about my main motive of accusing the government, so when it became unbearable, I have to find my way, but now I am really back to the music scene.
Were you fulfilled with the release of “E wa fun mi ni visa” in terms of fame and smiling to your bank account?
I was fulfilled in terms of fame but smiling to my bank account is nothing to write home about. After it was banned on airwaves, it was also pirated in Asia, United Kingdom, even everywhere, but I got the fame, I hope in not too distance future, money would soon follow.
How soon are we expecting another album from Bembe Aladisa?
Very soon. I just finished the audio of my new album preparing for the video.
How would you describe the present situation in Nigeria?
The compound is gradually taking new shapes, but we see rugged and worried faces living in the compound, it is a message. If Abuja continue to look beautiful, what about the people, are they well fed; do you see smiles on their faces?
What would that be to the people we are leading? The common man needs some basic amenities, Nigerians are suffering, poverty, hunger and unemployment are prominent in our Country, our leaders must be alive to their responsibilities.
Any message for Nigerians?
In my new album “Naija Youth Prayer”, I am appealing to our youths that we should keep on praying, after the prayer, if it entails work which could be peaceful, violent or revolution, I think we should encourage that. Nigeria is blessed with ample of natures’ gift, why are we suffering?, I strongly believe Nigeria would be great again, but the question now is, is it in my own time?
My message is that Nigerians should keep praying and watching!
‘Juju music is still active’, says Toye Ajagun’
Far-famed veteran musician, Uncle Toye Ajagun has revealed that Juju music in Nigeria is not dead, maintaining that it is still potent and meaningful as it was in the past decades.
The Juju maestro insisted that the advent of Fuji has not overshadowed Juju music in the country describing it as “a mistake and wrong assumption if we say Fuji has swallowed Juju music.”
Ajagun stated this while featuring on a radio show in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital on Monday
Speaking further, the ‘Magbe-Magbe’ creator tackled the self acclaimed Fuji lord, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, popularly known as K1 and others like him who have infused different strings into their musical arrangements saying that they have deviated from the ‘standards.’
He said the introduction of string instruments by these fuji musicians is a total departure from the standard laid down by the creator of fuji music, late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.
According to him, “Wasiu Ayinde Marshall knows that Juju music in Nigeria is not dead. He still gives us our due respect. I listened to one of his recently released albums where he praised me, King Sunny Ade, Idowu Animashaun, Ebenezer Obey and others”.
The juju singer also disclosed that his own style of music is aimed at promoting peace and love among his followers and listeners in the country.
“I use my music to promote peace; I do not use it to cause acrimony among people”.
Justifying his style of music, the Egba-born musician explained that the album he released in 1976 was targeted at restoring the frosty relationship between two top juju musicians of that time, Admiral Dele Abiodun and Emperor Pick Peter.
He charged the present-day musicians and youths to work and pray hard and not to allow frivolities to deprive them of their glorious future. He specifically advised them not to allow current enjoyment to deprive them of the better things waiting ahead of them in the future.
Ajagun, however assured his numerous fans to expect him in the studio soon as plans are in top gear for the release of his next album.
Ayinde Barrister Was Unstoppable | By Tunde Busari
Another reason Ayinla Omowura’s star could not eclipse that of Ayinde Barrister, if Omowura had lived beyond May 6, 1980 till December 16, 2010 when Barrister passed away, rests on the flexible body and template of Barrister’s fuji music.
Again, nobody can and should disparage Omowura by placing him at the back of Barrister on the queue of our indigenous musicians. Barrister would not throw such insult at Omowura because he acknowledged and respected his prodigy and seniority in the house of Agodo, where music resides.
That was why he could not seriously take him up beyond a feeble reference in his AWA O JA, a vynl he released in 1979, shortly before his Fuji Londoners band collapsed. The title of the album-AWA O JA- is even self-explanatory on Barrister’s reverence for Omowura who had just hit him with a thunderous punch in his elpee, dismissively comparing him with all sorts of little living things.
And when Omowura died nay tragically and Barrister entered studio to record his tribute, he came out with a joker which made his fuji an all-conquering genre. If Barrister was not a soldier and musician, he would have made a brilliant career in academics. He was in love with research and vigorous musical engagement. That’s the secret of his many timeless releases-be it studio records or stage performances.
He sneaked into the hearts of the allegedly livid fans of Omowura and discovered their need in his tribute. He sneaked out and laid his song on the percussion supplied by his new band members which was ably anchored by his lead Apala talking drummer of the old Fuji Londoners, Kamoru Ayansola. What did Barrister sing? He flirted with Omowura’s template without really copying his lyrics; he picked only his sound, singing:
Iku wole ola
Iku wole ola
Abiri ti ku
Abiri rorun o
Ayinla omo yusufu…
I learnt that the track was magical as it melted the high voltage anger in the heart of Omowura’s fans and warmed Barrister into their hearts with an appreciable number of them becoming fuji converts and sharing patronage between him and Ayinla Kollington who was an acclaimed protégé of Omowura.
In his subtle but aggressive expedition, eight years after Omowura’s exit Barrister experimented with Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s Afro and produced FUJI GARBAGE and FUJI GARBAGE Series II, the latter in particular catapulted him to the level he probably did not imagine it could take him.
With his perfect use of piano and steel guitar, blend with fast tempo from apala, sakara, omele, agogo, sekere, igba and drum set, Barrister successfully pulled fans of juju and Afro genres at home and abroad to his fuji as evidently revealed by Sir Sina Peters in an interview in which he sensationally revealed how Barrister stole the show at a party where he performed alongside a top juju act at the TBS, Lagos.
SSP went ahead to confess that Barrister’s fuji profoundly influenced his invention of Afro-juju, the new genre which separated him from the conventional juju played by KSA, Ebenezer Obey, Dele Abiodun, Segun Adewale and few others.
Three years before FUJI GARBAGE and five years after the demise of Omowura, Barrister felt the need to bring his fuji to the Egun sub-ethnic group in the westernmost part of Yorubaland. He waxed an album titled SUPERIORITY and devoted a track which brought the best of Egun sound from Barrister. He sang:
Ruru fun wa kajo haha
Won binu wani
O ru fun mi gangan
Eleven years after Omowura’s death, Barrister also was determined to impress and capture two other major ethnic groups in Nigeria, namely Hausa and Ibo. He released FUJI NEW WAVES precisely in 1991 using his intro to woo those people in their respective tongues. When General Ibrahim Babangida paid a state visit to the former Oyo State, Barrister was at the Liberty Stadium where a grand reception was organized for the Head of State, Commander-In-Chief. He sang:
Ya jonmon Hausawa…
Sabudi Anabi Mohamma
Yomuhirawa waka fuji
My postulation here is that with hard work and continuous update of his fuji with different styles and instruments, for instance, Barrister would be relevant, and even soar higher were Omowura alive. In that context, in fact, Omowura would need to do what Musiliu Haruna Isola is doing to Apala, by infusing piano and guitar into the genre, to escape fuji’s onslaught.
If Omowura still relied on his ‘25 tanshi 40’ which he sang in his last elpee, I guess, his music might not make appeal beyond his catchment zone. He might not be a favourite of the political elite of the Second and Third Republic who seemed to be in race to get Barrister’s fuji at their occasions including campaign rallies.
For instance, at the Social Democratic Party (SDP) campaign for its Presidential Candidate, late MKO Abiola in Osogbo Stadium, Barrister was on stage, sharing the show with KSA.
I think, where Omowura ended it was a comfortable spot to remain an enigma he is, and when the Mainframe film is out of location and editing room, I have no doubt in my mind, based on conviction, that it is going to do more promotion to the legendary of Omowura because of the brain behind it.
But Tunde Kelani must be reminded that Omowura was never a standing musician. May God repose the souls of Omowura and Omo Agbaje. Amen
Ayinla Omowura Vs Ayinde Barrister: His Atheistic Declaration | By Tunde Busari
While dissecting the campaigns of Napoleon, a renowned philosopher of war, Carl van Clausewitz wrote: “We do claim that direct annihilation of the enemy’s forces must always be the dominant consideration.. once a major victory is achieved there must be no talk of rest, of breathing space…but only of the pursuit, going for the enemy again, seizing his capital, attacking his reserves and anything else that might give his country aid and comfort.”
The summary of Clausewitz postulation is that enemy must be fought totally and crushed in totality. That must have been the mindset of the late, Apala maestro, Alhaji Ayinla Omowura towards Dr Sikiru Ayinde Barrister when Omowura was hit by realization that he needed to fight Barrister and kill what he dubbed fuji music at infancy. How?
It is an unwritten ethics that two warring musicians must restrict themselves to the use of innuendo and metaphor to get at each other and satisfy their respective promoters and fans. But Omowura shattered the law and fired a direct salvo at Barrister to unmask any veil from the target of his hot lead. In his elpee released in 1979, the overly confident Omowura sang:
Ki o ma se je n gbo o
Pe mo ji e lorin lo
Ko je je bee
Oro apara niii
Omowura’s non-conformist choice was deliberate to splash a mud onto the face of Barrister’s identity and reduce him to a weeping boy in the community of music lovers. On the strength of the school of Clausewitz, Omowura needed to be pardoned because he had measured the astronomic rise of Barrister and felt the danger it could and indeed would constitute to his fame and stability.
He had seen the then 30-year-old Barrister leading his full band to a musical tour in the UK in 1978. He had heard about his exploits in that tour, at least the one which Barrister narrated in his ‘London Special’, a vynl, released on his return to Nigeria. He had observed how social and political elites were outdoing one another to have Barrister performed at their functions before and after the general elections which ushered in the Second Republic on October 1, 1979 and returned the soldiers to the barracks after 13 uninterrupted years in power.
Most importantly, Omowura had remembered the effect which his voluntary engaging Barrister for naming ceremony for his baby in 1974 had on his fans base.
Relying on Dr Festus Adedayo in his famous book titled AYINLA OMOWURA: LIFE AND TIMES OF AN APALA LEGEND published in 2020, a copy of which he autographed for me on May 1, 2020, Barrister’s acceptance was noticeably on ascendancy as early as 1974.
On page 127, he wrote: “The relationship between Omowura and Barrister was really very close until 1974 when the former invited him to sing at the naming ceremony of one of the children given birth to by one of his wives, which held in Mushin. By then, it was gathered that Barrister had climbed up in musical reckoning as well as such, when Omowura invited him to come and sing for his guests at the naming ceremony, which he gladly accepted, there was no way that Barrister’s fast growing acceptance in the musical world wouldn’t be at cross-purposes with Omowura’s who saw himself as the numero uno among Yoruba musicians…It was gathered that at this time in 1974, Barrister had got to challenge the favoured and highly reckoned musical top class like Ebenezer Obey and Sunny Ade at the duo’s musical dens in Yaba, Lagos State.”
If the same author could turn round seven months later and write: “If Omowura had not died, there would never have been the Barrister who supervised over the traditional Yoruba African music stratosphere of the 80s to 2010 like a wild wind,” then I should show understanding that every mortal can slip at one time or the other.
But with the above reference, Omowura could obviously not have obstructed Barrister’s invasion of the indigenous musical space because Barrister had already depleted Omowura’s fans at Omowura’s party due to his classy performance which magnetised Omowura’s fans on dance floor. What later became Alhaji Chief Sikiru Ayinde Barrister Fans Club paradoxically started from the balkanization of Omowura fans in Mushin, a situation which set the tone for the rivalry and fight which Omowura fought to the finish in May 6, 1980.
Islam, Christianity and African Traditional Religion recognise the paramountcy of a supreme being and influence of destiny in man’s journey on the surface of the earth. Every believer in God, therefore, should and must recognize that whatever he will or won’t become in life is inscribed on the sheet of his or her destiny.
Yes, Omowura’s prodigious body of lyrical compositions are incontrovertible. They are even more evident in the ongoing Tunde Kelani publicised production in Abeokuta. Yet, Omowura did not create, neither did he write Barrister’s destiny. So, Dr Adedayo’s claim, ko je je be, oro apara niiiiii
Tweets by @megaiconmagg
Subscribe to our Newsletter
MegaIcon Magazine Facebook Page
Politics1 week ago
2023: Ex -Osun governor, Akande promises to consult Yoruba leaders over Tinubu’s presidency
Politics1 week ago
LEADERSHIP TUSSLE: Lagos PDP Endorses Makinde As S’ West Leader
Metro1 week ago
58- year-old pastor prosecuted for defiling a 7-year-old minor in Ibadan
Politics1 week ago
Oyo: Council boss allegedly attack PDP chieftain in Ogbomoso