Posted by News Express | 14 January 2023 | 566 times
An innovator of sorts, the late Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister made his impact in the nation’s music industry. He is credited with being the creator of Fuji music which is now very popular among Yoruba language speakers. In this interview with OLAOLU OLADIPO of Saturday Telegraph, his son, Samsideen Balogun, took us into his life and times. Excerpts:
Everybody knew your father as an accomplished musician who created the Fuji music genre; as a son what kind of father was the late Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Balogun popularly known as Ayinde Barrister?
I will say that he was a good father to us, his children. As a professional, he was a great musician who did very well to establish himself. He was a man loved by everyone that came in contact with him. I love his music as a fan and I loved him as a father.
Growing up, what were the things you saw about him that you will forever remember about him?
Well, fortunately, I grew up with him. He raised me as a son. I can say that having him as a father was a privilege. I’m sure they’re so many people who would’ve loved to have him as a father. He was a caring father who paid so much premium on education. He wanted all of us to acquire education which he believed was a sure way to quality life in future.
What kind of man was he to his wives?
He was loved by all of them. They all loved him so much even in death. I am sure that they all miss him.
What was his typical day like?
Typically, he woke up around 9:30 in the morning and the next thing he’d do was to pick up his intercom to inform everyone that he was awake and ready to see us. Like a proper Muslim, he woke up around 5:30 am to say his early morning devotion before going back to sleep. He usually asked for his early morning breakfast when he woke up and his favourite meal in the morning was pap and Akara (bean cake). After then, they’d bring him daily newspapers to read before attending to many guests who would have gathered around to see him.
As children, when did you see him in the morning?
He was always available immediately when he woke up. He asked for all of us when he woke up. He was available to all of us at that time.
Most Nigerians of his era were known to be very disciplined, was he a disciplinarian?
Normally for him, he left such to our eldest brother to do for him whenever we misbehaved. At times when he felt the need to do so himself, he would do it thoroughly so that you’ll know that you had done so badly for him to beat you. He would still find a way to bring you close after that to talk to you not to do whatever you had done. He had some set rules of dos and don’ts that we all knew and anyone of us who went against those rules would be disciplined by him or our eldest brother.
Apart from not condoning his children not going to school, what other things do you think your father didn’t like his children to do?
He was someone who wouldn’t condone any form of stain on his name by his children. He was someone who valued his name so much and he usually admonished us to be of good conduct at all times. He wanted us to always behave well in the society or environment that we found ourselves in. He made us cultivate the habit of respecting anyone we met irrespective of age or social status. He was very religious and fervent in Islamic tenets and he made sure that we all imbibed the same attributes. He made sure that we all got conversant with the Holy Quran as Muslims. He just wanted us to be good people to all those that we came across.
What were the other things he did whenever he woke up in the morning?
He had a lot of people who always came around to visit him in the house. We entertained a lot of visitors on a daily basis at home when my father was alive. He loved to travel so much. He loved visiting the United States of America so much. He once joked that he would have loved to have been born in the U.S. Anytime he was home and not having any form of engagement, he hosted so many visitors at home.
Was he always rehearsing at home?
I never saw him do that. He was always good at his game because he knew what he wanted. I can say that there are so many of his records that have not been released. He was sent to the world to be a musician. The gift of music was so natural to him. He never did any form of rehearsals whenever he wanted to wax an album. He went to a hotel for a day or two whenever he felt there was the need for him to conduct rehearsals but he didn’t do it at home. He did it to avoid any form of distraction from people.
So, home was strictly home to him?
Was there any time you went to rehearsals with him?
Could you tell us the one that you remember most, that had remained indelible in your memory?
I remember when he wanted to record an album called ‘Reality’. He was in the studio for another record entirely but when he left and was on his way home, he got a call that got him angry. He had to return and began to sing about issues relating to family ties which most probably was the reason he got angry. The album later became an instant hit as it sold like hot cake.
Everybody knows that he was very fervent in Islam, how deep was he in the faith and what were his contributions to the Islamic religion?
If God had permitted him, he wanted to be a cleric and not a musician. He actually wanted to be an Islamic scholar. He was to be a preacher like the famous Alhaji Muyideen Ajani Bello. He was very versed in Islamic knowledge and learning. He loved religion so much and he never joked with the Quran. This formed the basis or if you like the foundation of his music.
Was there any title that was awarded to him owing to his love for Islam?
He was given several titles by leaders in Islamic faith. Too numerous that I can’t remember.
I remember he was honoured by the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, who gave him the ‘Sarkin Waka’ of Kano title. How did he come about it?
The title is that of the official singer to the Emir of Kano.
Did he ever tell you the circumstances that led to his being awarded the title?
No, he didn’t tell me but what I learnt was that the title was facilitated by a female fan who was close to the late Emir who though a Northerner was a fan of my father. He sang her praises in the subsequent album that he waxed after he got the title.
Was there any form of relationship between him and the late Emir?
Well, I don’t really know much about that but I assume there could have been some form of relationship between the two.
What was the relationship between him and his band members?
Very cordial, it was like that of a father to children. They never saw him as their boss but as father. They have been loyal to him alive and in death. He treated us (his children) like his band members. Whenever I went with him for shows, he usually asked me to stay with the band boys and not with him. He said he wanted me to feel whatever they were feeling. His band boys were so happy with that and it gave me the opportunity to get feedback from them. He made amends for any complaints from his boys. That could possibly be the reason for telling me to stay with them.
He was a friend and contemporary to Alhaji Kollington Ayinla, what did you see of their friendship?
This is a matter I can’t even hazard a guess into. From what I saw and with what General Kollington said, it was just a kind of business rivalry between the two. He (Ayinla) said there was nothing too serious between them but to me, that kind of rivalry was too costly.
Did he ever have the opportunity of telling you the relationship that existed between the two of them?
My father won’t discuss such issues with us. He would tell us to forget about it.
What kind of relationship existed between your father and Chief Ebenezer Obey?
Chief Ebenezer Obey was like a father to him. He accorded him (Obey) so much respect. Chief Obey was like a mentor and a guide to his career. It was Chief Obey who encouraged him to venture into music. He loved Chief Obey as a father and Chief Obey loved him as a son.
Did he ever discuss with you any show that he loved or regretted taking part in?
For him, he kept his mind open believing that shows could end up positive or otherwise. He took whatever happened in his stride. One thing is that he didn’t regret whatever he did.
How did he relate with younger Fuji musicians?
He had a father and son relationship with them. He embraced and prayed for whoever came along. He did all he could to encourage them individually. Being the originator of that genre of music he did so to keep the genre alive.
Where were you when he passed on and what were your immediate reactions?
It was a terrible day for me. I was in the office that day. I wanted to see the news on television about 12 noon that day. I insisted that I would love to watch the news and the first thing I saw as breaking news was the announcement of the death of my father. I fainted and was only revived by colleagues who rushed me to the hospital. I spoke to him in his hospital bed and he promised to return home to sing again.
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