What if I told you I was a social event and night party freak? I had a soldier uncle whose obsession for good music was second to none. With his four-legged Panasonic Record player which looked like a modern-day student fridge, my uncle would provide music entertainment to the neighborhood for 24 hours whenever he came home on a break as he was then being moved across all Army Barracks nationwide.
Ayinla Omowura, Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, Yusuf Olatunji among other evergreen musicians must have made fortunes from my uncle who had all their song released as albums in his kitty. Trust me, it was in the early 80s when power supply was relatively stable. There was even few appliances in our homes to consume electricity unlike in this modern era. Music was part of us and every musician was a Star.
Wakeel Adekunle Akanfe was my most beloved cousin who took me to live with him in Lagos in 1994. He was a hardworking tough guy who ‘ruled empires of socialites’ before he died at his prime in October, 2015. He took me to Apapa Quays where I was a dockworker for two years. Akanfe introduced me to the world of Fuji music and through him, I got familiar with music characters such as Lateef Ilori, Musibau Alani (Omokekere), Shaura, Dare Ayinde (Omo’ga, Mushin), Sir Shina Akanni (Fuji Scorpido), Toyin Adio (Mr. Performer) among others.
Inside Apapa Terminal, I was exposed to many bad ways but I chose only a few and these included; addiction to Fuji music (I was a regular face at Faslak Hotel Apapa where K1 used to perform every Thursday), night party, crazy haircuts, wearing of neck chains, purchase of expensive but inappropriate clothing materials, reckless spending on guests. I hated consumption of hard drugs before opening up containers for loading/offloading operations and I would not take any Wharf rat for a friend.
Meanwhile, we had enough to rent a decent room apartment but preferred the shanties in the slums of Ijora-Badia. Life was fun from Ijora 7up to Gaskiya College Road to Amukoko Round About. Our ‘Abete’ was notorious for harboring all cadre of thieves, gamblers, drug addicts and sex workers who would offer their services to ‘trusted’ customers at different occasions only to come with records and claim their accumulated charges at the end of each month.
There were occasions when argument would ensue as a result of attempts by either of the customers to present correct account of number of times they both met before the pay day.
Whether you tagged them repugnant or found their activities repulsive, the characters in Ijora-Rail line and environs (Safejo Road, Matiminu Street, Sari-Iganmu Road, Brewery and Costain) at that time cared less. In their domain you would see giant rats that preferred to swim in the canal or stagnant waters as well as mosquitoes that were as big as mature cockroaches. Hausa traditional wrestling (Dambe) was a big attraction as you would not know whether it was a sporting activity or an exhibition of charms and magic.
I remember informing you that I was a party/freak and distance or paucity of fund was never a problem. I could borrow cash from anyone to attend social funds mainly because of music and dance. Then came a day I was to attend a ‘Freedom’ ceremony in Ibadan. A never-do-well tailor disappointed me as he ran away ostensibly because he did not complete my dress – a white guinea brocade fabric chosen as uniform for the event by the celebrant.
I put that disappointment behind me and hit the road for a trip to Ibadan at about 7pm. At Ojota Inter-State Terminus, I saw beautiful shirt made of flower design in the hand of a tall guy who hawked knitted fabric and I bought same for a ridiculous price. I found my new shirt so irresistible that I had to remove the one on me and put it on inside the commercial bus.
With a sun glass put on the forehead, a gold chain dangling on my neck and my new colorful shirt on a straight black Wrangler Jean trousers which matched my pair of Reebok Snickers, I was sure of a ‘cynosure of all eyes’ status at the occasion. The Lagos-Ibadan Express Road was devoid of the ubiquity of Worship Centres-induced traffic snarl at that time and I got to my destination at about 10pm.
I arrived to the wargalore, ace of virtually everyone at the venue as most them adorned the white Guinea Brocade uniform and dancing to the energy-sapping lyrics of Obesere Omorapala… “Iwo oojo’gede Obesere Commander… Aijo’gede ti je, o je ma’jelo ko si nnkan… Omorapala gbaasi… O je ma’jelo ko si nnkan!”… And later the local DJ changed the music supply to Kwam 1’s Fuji Collection… “Olokun mu yenye, Orin mi Ayinde Ade… Ojo a da’joo’jo, t’afefe nse’gi oko weruuweru… Igi’nu oko n’leri… …n o ba toro’gun wa’ye o… Eeh eeh! N o ba toro’gun… Emi a joooooooooo!
Immediately people sighted me, I emerged the VIP they had been expecting and it became a hugging galore. We danced and hugged simultaneously until some of them began to notice a weird coloration of the white garments they were putting on. Who could have been splashed us with color paints? They wondered. Before we knew it, about ten people had been badly affected with ‘color transmission’.
We were all jolted by the development and the DJ had to put off the music supply to enable us unravel the mystery of magical Kampala on the people. Suddenly, one saucy lady came towards me and started shouting; “Wasiu, Iwo ni! Iwo ni joor! Aso buruku re lo ba gbogbo aso wa je!”. As a matter of fact, my new shirt was fake… It could have been that it was tied and dyed in an emulsion paint or something.
The observation was true… I was the culprit! The dance floor was immediately vacated and began to seek solution to the broadening stains I had stamped on their individual white attires. It didn’t take long before most of them started heaping despicable hisses at me ceaselessly. I left the party unannounced and without taking any food or drinks. I removed the ‘shirt of shame’ immediately after my escape from possible mob action and threw it away into a nearby drainage.
I was later told the party could not continue. I didn’t come to Ibadan until about six months after the ugly incident.
Wasiu Olawale Sadare, Journalist and Media Consultant writes from Ibadan, Oyo state
VIDEO: Ace Gospel Singer, Tope Alabi Shocks Fans With Dancing Skills
Far famed Nigerian gospel singer, Tope Aalabi has surprised her numerous fans, followers and admirers by showing them her dancing skills.
The gospel singer who has recorded tremendous success in her career, and pride as a role model by her fans in a video obtained by Mega Icon Magazine through a social media platform – Facebook shows her dancing in a not-so-casual manner as she can be seen dancing Naira Marley’s newly created ‘Gbese” dance.
Dauda Epo Akara: 15 Years After | By Waheed Ganiyu
On February 18, 2005, the Awurebe exponent, Alhaji Dauda Akanmu Kolawole fondly called ‘Epo Akara’ breathed his last at the age of 62. His exit marked the end of musi-cultural era, the era of a generation of musicians whose roots are deep in the urban social fabric and heritage of the Yoruba people of Southwestern Nigeria.
Like Fuji, Awurebe genre evolved from ‘were’, which was a means of entertaining the muslim faithful in the holy month of Ramadan. His band name was formerly, ‘Dauda Epo Akara and His Ajisari Group, an indicative of the fact that he was playing ‘were’. He reportedly rebranded the group and adopted Awurebe group after returning from pilgrimage to Mecca in 1974.
Some of Epo Akara’s contemporaries in the early days of his music career were: Gani Kuti, Lawuyi Oke Eleta, Sakariyawu Ladoye(who later switched to drumming), Isiaka Ogidan, and Tunde Ayefele. Gani Kuti began his ‘were’ exploit at Boundary Area of Ajegunle, Lagos, before relocating to Ibadan. However, Epo Akara pioneered the brand, Awurebe and others followed suit. Unlike Fuji that it’s creator remains a subject of debate and controversy, Awurebe’s lordship has always been attributed to Epo Akara without dissention. Even the acclaimed Fuji progenitor, Late Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister had at different times consistently traced Awurebe origin to Dauda Akanmu. For instance, in Barrister’s LP, ‘E sinmi Rascality’, released in 1982, while appreciating the leadership of each genre of Nigerian music, he sang:’olorun naa lo s’ola Awurebe fun Dauda mi Akanmu o…abata ta kete bi eni o b’odo tan, isi gaju’. Also, in ‘Fertilizer'(1985), Barrister confirmed Epo Akara’s authority: ‘Dauda Akanmu o, Epo Akara ni’lu Ibadan lo l’awurebe o’.
Epo Akara’s style was rooted in a blend of folksy traditional art and philosophy. Awurebe is the fusion of Apala, Sakara, Woro and even Dadakuada from Kwara state. It is the perfect blend of these various musical cultures that have given the genre a uniquely definitive identity.
Epo Akara’s music was not only about praise-singing, but also to comment on issues of national significance. He deployed his prowess to promote or condemn government policies and programmes. When the then Head of State, General Murtala Muhammed created additional seven(7) states on February 3, 1976, the Awurebe icon waxed an album, ‘Ipinle Tuntun'(Vol.7) to commend the military regime. ‘Ipinle ti e fun wa o ma dun mo wa o e. Ibadan pelu Oyo o, omo iya sa ni wa’. ‘we are delighted with the newly- created states, Ibadan and Oyo have become one’.
Alhaji Epo Akara’s love for Ibadan was unquantifiable. He lived there throughout his life; even when other notable musicians believed that their trade could only thrive in Lagos. He never hid his love for the largest city in West Africa. In ‘Ori mi dara’ (vol.6), he praised Ibadan as the base of the wealthy and the noble. ‘ilu Olowo Ibadan, ilu oloye ti wa ni, ori mi dara ni’badan na bi mi o e’. Also in another album, ‘Is Gaju’, he sang: ‘eeyan t’ori e ba ti daru o, lo le f’omo ‘badan sere o’. In all his LPs, he always celebrated the ascension of successive Olubadan to the throne.
One of the arch-rivals of Dauda Epo Akara was another Ibadan- based Awurebe star, Yisau Osupa Anabi. It was alleged that when Epo Akara travelled to Abidjan, Cote D’Ivore for a musical engagement in the late 70s, Osupa Anabi hurriedly released an album, alleging that Epo Akara had been arrested and jailed for drug trafficking. The record, according to a reliable source recorded high volume of sales to the extent that Epo Akara fans became jittery and devastated.
According to a surviving member of Epo Akara’s band, Pa Sakariyawu Ishola: ‘ Osupa Anabi released the album barely three days after our arrival at Abidjan. And our boss, being a talented musician and master of his trade did a rejoinder through his album ‘Abidjan Special’ to dispel the unfounded rumour’. Osupa Anabi had sung:’ijekuje ti e n je, imu ki mu ti e n mu o…ta lo ran yin lona ibe un’. Meanwhile Epo Akara in Abidjan Special replied: ‘ko ri fun o bi ero re si mi o e…awa o r’ewon ni’lu Abidjan o. Baba n gbo o, be n bu wa leyin ba o gbo,baba n gbo’. He also promoted the abundance of Ankara fabric in Abidjan, ‘ankara yebeyebe o wa l’abdijan’.
Dauda Epo Akara played the role of a peacemaker in the highly celebrated Barrister-Kollington feud in the early 80s. While the rift was tough and resulting to the Fuji musicians splitting into two factions of the warring Fuji gladiators, the Awurebe maestro dropped ‘Ija o pe’ in 1982 where he mentioned and appealed to the feuding musicians to seathe their swords. ‘Ibo la kii ‘yan de o, ta o fi máa ba ‘ra wa ja, Kolawole, ija o pe e’. The rift between Barrister and Kollington was subsequently settled with the intervention of the then Deputy Governor of Lagos state, Alhaji Rafiu Jafojo.
One sad moment that remained indelible in his lifetime was the loss of two of his band members, Omoboade and Dauda in an auto crash at Alapako Area of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in 1975. The tragic occurrence occurred when Epo Akara band was returning from a musical outing in Lagos. According to one of his wives: ‘Alhaji didn’t like anyone playing or singing the lyrics of ‘Ijamba Moto’ in his presence as he would start crying’. It was gathered that Alhaji Dauda Epo Akara recorded the tribute track of ‘Ijamba Moto’ LP thrice, as he could not hold his tears in the two previous recording sessions.
In a chat with one of the Awurebe king protégé, Sule Epo Akara, whose stage name is ‘Oyinmiyinmi’, he referred to his late boss as a talented musician with humane personality. ‘Ha! Oga mi Akanmu Baba Tawa, Akanmu omo ta piti, iya e gbe e. Olorin ti o see f’owo ro seyin ni. He gladly encouraged me to establish my own band. ‘Alagbe ma je n tan o, o ti to da duro’. Sule Epo had fourteen albums to his name.
Benson Idonije, a prominent music critic said: ‘Epo Akara released over 80 albums and was also on the road performing at prestigious engagements. But it is sad that a musician of his stature did not enjoy international recognition and exposure’. Honestly, what the Awurebe maestro left behind doesn’t commensurate with his fame and works. He has just an uncompleted single-storey building along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. This writer believes that Oyo State Government under the leadership of our amiable governor, His Excellency, Engineer Seyi Makinde could out of his usual magnanimity, post-humously honour this Oyo state music ambassador by renovating his house. For example, the immediate past administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state, renovated the Itoko residence of late Apala legend, Ayinla Omowura, as his effigy has been erected on his grave.
But why has it been difficult for the children of these music icons to step in to their fathers’ shoes? For instance, Musiliu Haruna Ishola resurrected Apala with ‘resurrection’ in 1991 and after his hit album ‘soyoyo’, in 2002, his popularity has dwindled. Ayinla Omowura’s younger brother, Dauda Anigilaje and his son, Akeem fell by the way side before their deaths in 2005 and 2016 respectively. Perhaps, Omowura’s shoe was too big for them. The grandson of the sakara legend, Yusuf Olatunji, Abideen Ajasa Olatunji is trying his best in Abeokuta to keep Baba Legba’s legacy alive.
It is apparent that every individual has his or her endowment.
Mrs Baliqees Jejelola Aduke, an executive member of Epo Akara Fans Club affirmed that four of Dauda Epo Akara’s children are singing Awurebe: ‘yes, four of Alhaji’s children are singing. They are Alhaja Tawa, Ramoni, Sarafa and Suliyat’. Asked which of them possesses the trait of Epo Akara’s musical dexterity: ‘they are all superb with good voices and the shoulder-shrugging dance style of their father’, she replied.
Born in Ibadan in 1943, Dauda Akanmu Epo Akara started as an ‘Ajiwere’ (Ramadan early call) singer. He was discovered and signed up by Omo Aje Records under the astute management of the current Olubadan of Ibadanland, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso 1.
Waheed Ganiyu, Journalist and Media Consultant writes from Ibadan, Oyo state
US based ToppyK holds Asa Day, harps on value re-orientation
ToppyK International has announced its intention to hold a cultural event tagged ‘Asa Day’ in the United States of America geared towards cultural revival and value re-orientation abroad.
The event billed for Friday 17 July 2020 will hold at Sacred Heart Church, 537 Grove Street, Irvington, U.S . Also, there would be exposition as well as an award ceremony.
According to a statement signed by its Chief Executive Officer, Alhaja Kudirat Temitope popularly known as ‘Queen of New Jersey’, and made available to Mega Icon Magazine, “the event is going to be loud. Let’s showcase our talents and the beauty of our cultural heritage. All tribes are invited. Let’s come together as one and show the world how great we are.
“ToppyK International is an international organization that is registered in United states that deals basically with fashion and entertainment promotion for less than a decade.
“Asa day programme is all about the exhibition of the values of the cultural heritage of Africa, dealing with Nigeria as a prominent and influential country in the continent
She stressed that the Asa Day programme is aimed at bringing together all the major tribes in Nigeria – Yoruba, Hausa and Ibo and exploring our cultural backgrounds in music, dance and fashion among others.
“It is to further achieve the unification of Africans in the United states, Nigerians in particular, and by extension translate these to further enhancements of the potential of individuals to better the lots of our present abode, the United states and by extension on home countries,” Temitope said.
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