…a posthumous birthday celebration of the renowned Fuji icon @ 72
While alive, he was known as the father of Fuji. He literately modernised a traditional music, called “were” added his own flavours and to call it “Fuji”…He is the Fuji creator. That was his gift and legacy.
Legendary Fuji music icon, Alhaji (Dr.) Sikiru Ayinde Salami Balogun (MFR), popularly known variously as Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Alhaji Agba or Mr. Fuji, seems larger in death than while alive. The prolific music star would have been 72 years on earth on Sunday 9th February. The man fondly called Barry Wonder by his teeming fans around the world transited into the world beyond on December 16, 2010 at St. Mary Hospital London, after a protracted illness.
But in the days between February 7 and 16, his families, friends, associates, and most particularly, his fans all went out to celebrate the 72nd birthday of the legendary entertainer.
His palatial home, The Fuji Chambers, in Isolo area of Lagos wore festive looks, as new paintings adorned the building. Also, on display there were different banners, congratulating the Fuji Super Star post-humorously.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihrsknF5DlU
In London (UK), the family, friends and fans observed special prayers for the departed legend at IPG Mosque, London while socials followed at an event centre in London.
His main fans base, the veteran Ayinde Barrister Fans Club and the posthumous Legacy Fans Club (ABLE) were all out, excitedly in various coloured branded T-Shirts and uniform dresses celebrating the birthday of the celebrated musician. Both in Lagos (his musical base) and Ibadan (his home town), musical shows were organized to mark the day.
Elder Dayo Odeyemi, his longtime Public Relations man was short of words, when contacted. He said he could “only pray for the fans and friends, (who have) not allowed Ayinde Barrister to die and be forgotten.”
Ayinde Olaribigbe, one of the organizers of the posthumous birthday event, told FEFERITY MAGAZINE in an interview that “Alhaji Agba deserves everything being done to keep his memory alive.”
“He had contributed his part to the social-cultural development of the country, created the fuji music genre out of loose musical folklore of our ancestors, modernized it, carried to Europe, American, North and West Africans. Indeed, he had tried his best”, he said.
Also, his longtime adviser and one of the Chief Patrons, Chief Adisa Osi Efa, rolled back the years, bringing out monumental pictures of the Fuji icon at various stages of his musical development.
His immediate family also appeared to have gotten over the shock and gloom occasioned by the loss of their head at the time of his transition. They now joined in joyous celebration of the bread winner. February 9 especially witnessed high-toned musical tunes blasting forth from the late musician’s compound in Isolo area of Lagos. Various songs of the late Alhaji Agba were being played while wives and children all feel happy.
His fans base appeared to be growing phenomenally since his demise in year 2010. Ahmed, a sales officer with Lati Alagbada Records in Oshodi area of Lagos told FEFERITY that “no musician can compared to Alhaji Agba’s records sales figure now. Since his death, retailers keep bombarding us with orders for his old records. It’s simply overwhelming”.
An on-air personality programme, OLUDASILE FUJI ON FM hosted an event, ‘72 Legends for Ayinde Barrister @ 72’ at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan on February 16. There were also special prayers in his Felele area, Ibadan (Oyo State) country home.
Alhaji Yussuf Ninalowo has been selling musical records in Agege, Lagos since the early 70s. He deals essentially in Yoruba music. We visited his shop pretending to be looking for one of the old records of the departed musician.
“Is it Ayinde Barrister’s record you are looking for like this?”, he asked rhetorically.
He continued: “You have to book in advance. If I bring any numbers, in a day they are sold out. The problem is the marketer who is releasing them to the market in bits. We have told them to produce large quantity, that they will be sold”.
Born on February 9, 1948 to an Ibadan indigene father and an Isale Eko mother, Ayinde Barrister, as a Fuji Musician, recorded well over 120 long playing albums and another 20 short playing albums, in a career spanning almost his entire life from age 10.
A deeply religious man who was well versed in Quranic recitations, Alhaji Barrister started by singing the Islamic Were music in 1957. He was singing Were music between 1967 to 1966, before he fused the Ramadan-themed music with other musical genres around then (Highlife, Juju, Afro, Apala, Sakara) to form the Fuji genre. He claimed he named the genre after Mount Fuji in Japan after a visit to the Ikeja airport and saw the mighty and beautiful mountain in a poster banner.
He died on December 16, 2010 at the age of 62. He lived all his entire life in Lagos, leaving behind a large family of several wives and children.
Afolayan Adebiyi writes from Lagos, Nigeria
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