Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Ololade Balogun, better known by his stage name "Ayinde Barrister," was undoubtedly a genius Yoruba traditional singer. He was also one of Nigeria's best known musicians. And the news of his untimely death of diabetes related causes at the age of 62 on Thursday at St. Mary's hospital in London was a sad news to many Nigerians who are still mourning the death of the country's frontline nationalist Chief Anthony Enahoro, who moved the bold motion for Nigeria's independence in 1953 from Great Britain. ( The country later attained the independence in 1960 )
Alhaji Agba, as he was fondly called, also served in the Nigerian military and fought during the Nigerian civil war. He began his music career in 1958 as a member of the "Ajisari Ajiwere" group during the holy month of Ramadan. This "Were" genre evolved to become Fuji music which Barrister named after Mount Fuji, the Japanese Mountain of love. He had said Fuji is also a combination of these Yoruba music namely: Sakara, Juju, Apala, Gudugudu and Yoruba praise poems.
Ayinde Barrister excelled as a musician because he was a gifted singer with imagination and great voice. He demonstrated the complexities of lives through his music. He was like an ancient artist who understood his craft very well. His music touched so many lives and a whole range of topics, namely, history, love, marriage, naming ceremony, prayer, truth, happiness, poverty, peace, trials and tribulations, death, chants, myth and magic, corruption and enthronement of democracy, among others. He was one of the rare musicians who could recite Quranic verses to sound like music, sings about societal ills, personal freedom and responsibilities -- and still gave us a far away dimensional of the exigencies world of Yoruba pantheon in a rich musical dialogue and exquisite lyricism filled with awe and power. His deeply philosophical music was filled with urgency and timelessness, we also learned more about Yoruba proverbs, customs and traditions, plus poetry through his music.
Among his best known songs are "Fuji Garbage," "Oke Agba," "Okiki," "Barry at 40," and "Esinmi Rascality." And we can never forget lyrics like "Ara Mecca Njo" that chastised Muslims who believes music has no place in Islam -- "Alomoko Abake Oloyaya," "Ijo Olomo," "Bi Iku Se lagbara to" ( to late Soccer Star Muda Lawal), among others.
It is noteworthy that his vintage music creates a lasting impression in the minds of his fans, even when singing praise of himself or a member of his band like Oyadolu, Tunde Balinga, Alade Tajudeen "Deputy Commander" and the late ace drummer Alhaji Kamoru Akanji Ayansola, also known as "Igi Jegede."
Finally, Ayinde Barrister's death no doubt dealt a great blow to Nigerian music industry and indigenous African music as a whole especially nowadays that African music is fast becoming an imitation of the U.S. Hip Hop music. He was certainly one of the greatest Yoruba musicians of all time. Like Fela Anikulapo Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Victor Olaiya and I.K Dairo. However, one thing that made him unique from these singers I mentioned is the fact that he carried on-and was an embodiment of the great Yoruba traditional music of Habib Oluwa, Yusuf Olatunji, Haruna Ishola, S. Aka, and Ayinla Omowura. His death marked the end of an era. May God grant Sikiru Ayinde Barrister ( Omo Agbajelola Salami ni Ibadan) eternal rest.