The man who gave us Fuji Music
What we call Fuji music today can be traced to only one man- Sikiru Ololade Ayinde Balogun. In the 1960s, after becoming successful with wéré music, he decided to go to the studio. Wéré music is also called ajísààrì music, it is performed to wake Muslim faithfuls for the midnight breaking of fast during Ramadan.
He said in an interview that himself and King Sunny Ade entered the studio the same day and his first album, E jé ká gbó t'Olóhun (1966) started a new trend in Nigerian Popular Music. Although he gives credit to predecessors such as Kawu Aminu, Alhaji Jolly Lawa and Saka Olaigbade, he took wéré out of the confines of Ramadan and transformed it forever.
Young Ayinde was just doing his thing but he gave the name Fuji to his kind of song. One of his prodigies, Wasiu Ayinde said Fuji is derived from 'fújà' or 'fàájì' but the man himself said he first heard the word 'Fuji' from Mount Fuji in Japan and that it means love in the Japanese language. He still maintained the name wéré until he released 'Aláyìndé ń kíyín' in 1974. If that is innovative, he even beat his own innovation by creating a distinct sound he called Fuji Garbage(1988) and New Fuji Garbage(1993).
He worked briefly as a typist with Nigerian Breweries and as an Army Clerk with The Nigerian Army during the Nigerian Civil War. He eventually entered music full time when he formed 'Supreme Fuji Commanders' (sounds like a Soldier Musician, right?)
Most of the Popular Fuji exponents started from his band, Perhaps Wasiu Ayinde is the most successful of all Barrister's proteges. His fame is worldwide as he has an Honorary Doctorate from a University in the United States.
What is amazing about him is his ability to amend himself and show that he is a man for many seasons. He moved with trends in his dressing and lived his life to the full. As he grew, he gave away his love of denim for flowing agbadas, befitting of an elder. His love for his mother, Alhaja Odere Sifau is obvious as she is a trope in his songs. He has sang about almost every significant event in his life and all the rumours attached to them. He bridged the gap between myth and reality and set the tone of musicians responding to rumours of their death. When he visited Orlando, the album he waxed about his experiences increased the visit of tourists.
Between 1965 and 2010 when he went to join the ancestors, he released over 70 studio albums. Even when he had health challenges, he sat and sang with so much energy. His captivating storytelling ability and the syncretism of his art is significant. He also shows himself as a true Islamic Faithful, staying faithful to the Ramadan roots of Fuji. He often chants Islamic verses in tracks. That perhaps account for the popularity of Fuji music among Muslims. For University people and alákòwés who are secretly Fuji music fans, this typist started the art. Alhaji Àgbà, omo agbájélolá ní Ayeye, we salute.