I was rounding off in newsroom last night when a brother with whom I share feelings for songs of Dr Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, sent me a Sakara song, which sounds like that by Yusuf Olatunji but which is not Olatunji’s.
We analysed the song during which I brought in Barrister to his amazement anyway. He would always want such discussion with me perhaps based on his acknowledgement of my cult-like attention for Barrister’s voice, lyrics, percussion and style. I established a strong connection between Barrister and the audio he sent and by extension Sakara genre.
My little understanding of evolution of Barrister and fuji music rates Sakara as the soul upon which fuji leaned after Barrister had moved his music away from Ajisari, the genre of which he debuted in 1966 under African Song label owned by the late Alhaji Bolarinwa Abioro, the Yewa man who also produced the then Sunny Ade and His Golden Spot Band..
Barrister realized so early the limited scope of Ajisari which was and still is music exclusively made by and for Islamic faithful during the month of Ramadan only. In order to expand his fan base beyond mosques, he reverted to his love for SAka, a top Sakara crooner in the class of Yusuf Olatunji (Aka and Olatunji incidentally passed away months apart in1978). He was quoted as being a lover of Aka since he was a teenager, housing Aka’s songs in his memory few days after release of those songs to market.
His first live performance at a house warming held in Bariga, Lagos in the first quarter of the 70s saw Barrister playing Sakara to the consternation of older guests who could not believe a young man in early 20s could be so profound in a genre dominated by older generation of musicians.
Barrister sang: “Won lalayinde ti kere ju o
Won ni ko le sere Sakara yi”
He sang the above excerpt to clear the air on doubt in the guests who attended the party only to witness a fumbling Barrister. However, he caught them unawares. In fact, he took them aback. The success recorded at that show opened door of live performances to him and his small band in a journey of no return. The band never returned to the starting point. Barrister put on his pant and set to swim in the same water with his mentor, SAka, Olatunji and other big fishes of Sakara.
But because he knew it won’t be easy, he slept and woke up with his drawing board, religiously researching, especially into Juju genre which was on its way to submerge Sakara, Apala and other genres, having effectively pushed the hitherto famous High-life to the rear at social parties. Gifted with brilliance and magnetic ear for details, Barrister found it convenient to adapt guitar arrangement of juju and turn it to fuji percussion, making juju fans to feel juju flavor in fuji. In other words, he stole capacity from juju to build fuji music.
This principle informed his unprecedented definition of fuji music in his elpee titled FUJI RAGGAE II in 1979. He asks: “Who can tell me the meaning of fuji sound?” His back-up vocalists reply pointedly that a man who decides to show off his proficiency in English Language before his unlettered in-law must prepare to translate the language for their comprehension.
“Fuji sound is combination of music, consisting Sakara, Apala, Juju, Afro, Gudugudu, Aro, possibly High-life,” he responds. With that subjective definition, Barrister formally created a distinctive musical brand emerging the pace-setter and compass which would show direction to which that genre goes in indigenous music industry and beyond.
One may be tempted to argue that his definition was a fraud and permission to steal from other brands of music for his own survival. The argument can, however, be punctured looking into origin of some of those sounds from which Barrister tapped. Sakara, for instance, combined Hausa goje with rounded drums, which I learnt are not of Yoruba too, blended with Yoruba folklore. Juju too is fusion of High-life with Yoruba traditional songs. So, Barrister was in order, hence his successful drive of fuji music, always recording first among hundreds of fuji musicians till death took him away December 2010.
Essentially, Barrister was not complacent despite global recognition he had earned. He kept researching with a view to ensuring a permanent place for fuji through wining more fans of others genres. Were he alive, he would have studied the youthful Hip-Hop and picked important elements of the genre without losing fuji identity.
Also, to pay tribute to a late musician in studio, he would lay his song on a popular track of the recipient and render it perfectly and inspiringly. He did this to Yusuf Olatunji (FUJI RAGGAE II, 1979), Ayinla Omowura (AYE, 1980), Bobby Benson (NIGERIA,1983), Haruna Isola (MILITARY, 1984) I.K. Dairo (INFERNO, 1996) and attracted patronage of fans of those musicians.
On a final note, when you are hardworking, focused and innovative, top seat is assured for you. But in a society as ours, where arithmetical law is freely raped in broad daylight, tons of luck are required to reach destination.
Barrister was hardworking, focused, innovative and lucky to have come at a right time when another person had not come up with definition of fuji sound. Unfortunately, he died young. But that was his wish, his consistent wish to share attributes with Prophet Muhammed. Is he not sharing it, in terms of immortality with his elpees still selling and songs daily on air home and abroad?
Good morning, and happy birthday to Deji Badru, our very big boy. Happy birthday too to Idris Okusajo. Congratulations!
Banky W, wife announce delivery of baby boy
Popular Nigerian singer and songwriter, Olubankole Wellington popularly known as Banky W, and wife, Adesua Etomi have announced the delivery of their first child, a baby boy.
The couple, who took to their Instagram pages to share photos of their maternity shoot in celebration of Adesua’s birthday, today, February 22.
It will be recalled that the couple got married in November 2017 at a destination white wedding in Cape Town, South Africa after they shut down Lagos with their star-studded traditional wedding.
In her post, Adesua disclosed that their bundle of joy arrived four weeks ago.
“You have a track record of keeping your word. Ọlọrun Agbaye o, you are mighty.
“4 weeks ago I received the best birthday gift ever. Our Son,” Adesua said in her post.
Also, Banky W while announcing the birth of their baby boy paid tributes to his wife describing her as beautiful and strong.
He also appreciated God for turning their tears into triumph and for making everything beautiful in his time.
The post read, “Happy birthday to my lady, my love and Purpose Partner,
My world, my wife and Baby Mama.
I didn’t think it was possible for you to be more beautiful than you already were… but I was wrong.
“Because you’re not just beautiful, you’re strong.
“You’re grace and favour personified, and you’re so much more.
Words cannot properly express how grateful I am for you, how much I love you, or what we’ve been through.
I’m thankful that you’re mine
“And that God made everything beautiful in His time
“He turned our tears into triumph, and our loss into laughter
“He’s changed our lives forever, here’s to the next (and best) chapter
Nothing I can say or do can top what He gave us
“My baby had a baby and he’s everything we prayed for
“Happy birthday “Mama Zaiah”
I love you SCATTER”, the post concluded.
‘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
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