Barrister: A Year After

•The late Barrister

•The late Barrister

It is exactly one year today that fuji music icon, Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Ololade Balogun known worldwide as Ayinde Barrister, died at a London hospital after a protracted ailment. In today’s edition, P.M. Entertainment chronicles the life and times of the music legend.

•The late Barrister

Born in Ayeye area of the ancient city of Ibadan, the capital of the then Western Region now Oyo state, Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister was one of Nigeria’s best known singer/songwriters.

He played an essential role in the evolution of the music genre, leading a 25-piece band, the Supreme Fuji Commanders and later, Africa Musical International Ambassadors.

He was also one of the leading purveyors of fuji music, an exciting, amplified dance music combining juju, apala and traditional Yoruba blues that he introduced in the late 1970s.

Barrister sang most of his life. By the age of ten, he had mastered a complex, Yoruba vocal style that was traditionally performed during the holy month of Ramadan. Although he briefly attended a Muslim school and Yaba Polytechnic in 1961, financial difficulties prevented him from continuing. Leaving school, he found employment as a stenographer and during the civil war that swept through Nigeria between 1967 and 1970, he served in the Army. Signed by the Nigeria-based Africa Songs Limited label, Barrister recorded many groundbreaking singles during the 1970s and 1980s with his heartfelt vocals, set to a rhythmic mix of talking drums, claves, bells, sekere, drum set and Hawaiian guitar, while he laid the foundation for fuji music, which he named after Mount Fuji, the Japanese mountain of love, the style described as “juju without the guitars” and a “percussion conversation.” Barrister renamed the musical style Fuji Garbage in 2000.

The fuji music legend passed away on Thursday, 16 December, 2010 and was buried amidst controversy in the sitting room of his Lagos home on Thursday, 30 December, in line with the late musician’s wishes. The body, which arrived at his Fuji Chambers residence at 9.44 p.m., was buried shortly after 10 p.m., in accordance with Muslim rites.

His remains was delayed in the United Kingdom due to flight disruptions caused by bad weather  with spokespersons giving conflicting information about the exact whereabouts of Barrister’s remains and the Air France flight conveying it, while thousands of fans kept a two-day vigil at the fuji maestro’s home as family members and well wishers waited. The arrival of Barrister’s remains was finally confirmed around 6 p.m. Thursday, but so many fans had besieged the airport route that a decoy convoy had to be convened to enable the corpse travel separately in privacy.

However, Alhaji Agba, as he was fondly called, had over 100 albums to his credit across various music labels and companies.

—Kayode Aponmade