24th December, 2010
By Kayode Aponmade
The name, Christopher AbiodunÂ Ajilore, may not mean so much to many in the Nigerian music industry today, but a mention of Chris Ajilo definitely rings aÂ bell as the former general manager of Performing and Mechanical Rights Society (PMRS), a collecting society, is a force to reckon with in the industry.
Chris Ajilo as he is known worldwide, was born on Thursday, 26 December, 1926 in Lagos although he hails from Ijebu Jesa, Osun State, South West Nigeria.
As a man of many parts, a musician, producer, songwriter and music teacher during his tenure as a staff producer, Artiste and Repertoire Manager of PremierÂ Records, he produced over 200 albums of various artistes which earned him great respect and honour.
Ajilo was leader and founder of West End Cool Cats Orchestra and Cubanos Band respectively. He also led NBC Orchestra and the National Orchestra in 1957 toÂ 1961.
He was Instructor/Performer at the 1977 World Black Arts Festival (FESTAC) and Director of Music, Nigeria Institute of Music and Culture (1977-79), amongÂ others.
Famous with his hit song, Eko O Gba Gbere in the 1960s, Ajilo transcended every inch of the music industry before he finally took a bow in 2007 as theÂ General Manager of PMRS.
The dynamic octogenarian who turns 81 on Sunday, 26 December, in an emotional voice, once disclosed and lamented that he had never been celebrated in hisÂ life time and not recognised by his state since his retirement from music.
But it is noteworthy that Pa Chris Ajilo was the only musician who broke presidential security protocol when he visited the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock,Â Abuja, to see Chief Olusegun Obasanjo without official notification during his tenure as the democratic president of Nigeria.
His creative works are Ilu Eko, New Lagos, Annaâ€™s Trick, Nigeria Calling and Oju Rere with Decca Studios West Africa Limited, between 1955 and 1958. OthersÂ include, Eko O Gba Gbere, O ti lo wa ju, Ode to Murtala, Ori Owo, Ori Lonise, Tete De, Afufu, Only You, Oro re and Emi Mimo, with Philips West AfricaÂ Records.
He loves swimming, walking, reading and playing billiards.