Tuesday, February 11, 2020 1:08 am
…I think it is safe to imagine Ayinde simply as the Chinua Achebe of Fuji music
By Odolaye Aremu
Watching an episode of one of the Turkish series on Netflix, and watching the Muazzin do the Adhan or the call to prayer got me thinking about the Late Fuji exponẹtẹ himself – Alhaji Sikiru Adeyimika Olanbiwọninu Ayinde Balogun Agbajelọla Barrister.
The beautiful ululation of the Muazzin is simply that of Barrister in his lifetime. Though I was never much of a fan, it is nevertheless undeniable that the man was a musical genius. The sonority of his voice alone took Fuji music out of a dead-end unto the mainstream. And his ability to weave words and philosophies into relatable and meaningful lyrics was simply amazing. The man was a griot’s griot. A captivating storyteller.
I actually thought Barrister would live well into full age, and at the end of his career start writing Yoruba books with the same panache with which he composed music. For the man simply had a writer’s way with words. To say he was a vivid lyricist was an understatement. To put his ability into proper perspective, I think it is safe to imagine Ayinde simply as the Chinua Achebe of Fuji music. Not Wole Soyinka. Because few folks get the very technical Wole at first reading, Chinua was the down to earth writer that simply speaks and translate everyone’s imagination in to-to.
I remember listening to Aiye, his 1980 album. The side B of it, where he brilliantly narrated his trip to Magic Kingdom in the company of his then friend, Alhaji Buhari Ọlọtọ. Barry captivated my imagination with his resoundingly fluid, cinematic account of the fun place. It was surreal that three years later, he was part of the federal government’s 15-men and women technical delegation to Orlando, Florida to study the workings of the then Magic Kingdom – with the aim to report back ways to better, or uplift our own Apapa Amusement Park to credible standard.
I found the place profoundly familiar. I was struck with a more than heavy sense of de javu. It seemed as if I had been there once before in another life. It however struck me days later that not only was I never been there before, it was the near perfect musical account of Ayinde that brought everything too close to home for me.
I collected my travel allowance like everyone else and pocketed it. To this day I still wonder with certain incredulity, that – perchance each delegate had only listened to Barrister’s record beforehand? Perhaps the journey with all the expenses accrued to it would have been needless to say the least.
“Èmi náà rí mammy-water, mo r’ẹ́ja ńlá. Erinmi nbẹ nnu òkun, mo tún r’ọ́kọ̀ tó dànù, a ṣ’ókè nbẹ nisalẹ odò! Ẹja ńlá ńlá nbẹ nisalẹ odò! Wọn tó gìrìpá ọmọ adamọ lootọ…”
Àkọ̀ ápò l’eégún nkọ’wó! Èdùmàrè ó níí jẹ n’joyè Misita Aríìgbínmáhe! Mo fi sùúrù gbowó ìjọba. Èmi náà tí jẹ témi n’nu násáná keèkì nu’un. Walahi kini taa nwi yí sì dùn bàjẹ́. Kò sì há mi lọ́fun, bẹẹni n ò yàgbẹ́ ọ̀rìn! Àjẹgbémì ni mo jẹ were bíi kàlòkàlò!