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Fuji: A Opera: Giving Fuji music a brighter future
By Gbenga Bada
WHEN Adeoye ‘Bobo’ Omotayo thought out the need to contribute his quota to one of the longest serving music genres in Nigeria, Fuji, it was borne out of the love for the genre.
The young Omotayo expressed his love and decision to promote the genre of music for the consumption of a bigger audience across all stata, age, and race.
“When FUJI: A Opera was created, it was for every individual across all strata. The creation is a multi-platform, multi-media explosion of culture focused on revitalising and reimagining the Fuji musical genre for a new audience, capturing the imagination of Nigerians,” he noted.
The one-week long music fiesta made its debut between December 14 and December 19, 2020.
Explaining his idea of the genre of music, Omotayo said, “Fuji is one of the most authentic home-grown music genres to have emerged from Nigeria. It is a rich subculture with a belligerent past, arguably originating from the streets of Lagos Island as Ajiwere (folk music for Islamic worshippers at Ramadan), the genre has since undergone significant transformation, becoming reference sound for contemporary Nigerian pop.”
The music fiesta creation, Fuji: A Opera had in six day, showcased the best of Fuji music while paying homage to the music genre in a multi-media installation exhibition, a talk series with K1 De Ultimate, and a live music showcase of the genre’s lead performers.
With partners that include 3101 Media, the Fuji Musicians Association of Nigeria, Alliance Francaise de Lagos, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, The Wheatbaker Lagos, and Bombay Sapphire, the one week long music fiesta had over 2,000 people walk through its gates in honour of the spectacular event.
Kollington gives a nod to activities
The week-long activity was declared open on Monday, December 14 by the oldest living Fuji pioneer and performer, General Ayinla Kollington. The elated Fuji veteran couldn’t hide his joy at the prominence given to the genre of music, which he had contributed to for over three decades.
General Kollington was led on a tour of the exhibition by the creator of FUJI: A Opera, Adeoye ‘Bobo’ Omotayo, who took the 74-year old singer through a state-of-the-art multi-media installation that explored in great depth the rich Fuji sub-culture through archival recordings, a historical timeline, costumes, and never-seen-before merchandise.
In attendance at the official week launch were industry practitioners, culture custodians and music fans.
Fuji: A Opera at a glance
On Wednesday, December 16, the week-long music fiesta took a new turn as one of the legacies of late Fuji veteran was unveiled. A VIP preview of the exhibition doubled as a celebration of the life of Fuji music creator, late Late Sikiru Ayinde Agbajelola Barrister. The date coincided with the 10th year remembrance of the late Fuji icon.
To immortalise the late Fuji songster, a mural was unveiled in honour of his legacy by the creator and executive producers of the event. The activity had Omotayo flanked by K1 De Ultimate and the President of the Fuji Musicians Association of Nigeria, Sikiru Ayinde Agboola. In furtherance, a special ‘Creator Award’ was presented to the family of the late hero and it was received by his eldest son, Rasak Balogun, and his two wives.
The honour was followed by an eclectic rendition of the Fuji music to all and sundry. The Bombay Sapphire-bankrolled event was a special Fuji Reimagination set by DJ Aye of VSS.
On Thursday, December 17, a talk series took place. A 90-minute talk series tagged ‘An Audience with K1 De Ultimate’ and moderated by Yemi Shodimu and Lehle Bedle had many getting knowledge of Fuji music.
The day, which was in partnership with Universal Music Nigeria, saw journalists, industry practitioners, and investors in Fuji music, having a chance to hear the Fuji veteran, and the most successful Fuji artiste of all time, K1 De Ultimate, as he unraveled the genre’s obscure past, threw light on the present and insights for reimagining its future.
The grand finale of this landmark event ended with an invitation-only live music showcase which featured icons of the genre including Sule Matute, The SK Sensation Band, KS1 Malaika, Saheed Osupa and the headliner act, K1 De Ultimate – on stage for one night only.
The stage was set for the right mood as these veterans treated the crème of corporate and social Nigeria to their signature sounds, rich vocals, and instrumental prowess. It was an evening of appreciation for the Fuji genre.
The evening ended with K1 De Ultimate ushering the creator and executive producers onto the stage for a final sing along to his iconic crowd pleaser ‘Omo Naija’.
The event paid homage to pays homage to Fuji music greats who have contributed to this incredible and they include late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Ayinla Kollington, K1 De Ultimate, Abdul Azeez Oladeji (Love Azeez), Abimbo Aremu Kowobari, Abiodun Ike Minister (Aremo Alayeluwa), Adeolu Akanni (Paso Egba), Adewale Ayuba, Adisa Alasela, Ajadi Alayande, Ajadi Ganiyu, Alhaji Agbada-Owo, Aremu Aladeowo, Ayinde Commissioner, Ayinde Muniru, Easy Kabaka, Fancy Aye Alamu, Fatai Adio, Ganiyu Abefe, Isiaka Akanji, Isiaka Alani, Isiaka Iyanda Sawaba, Jamiu Ajadi, Jibowu Barrister, Karube Aloma, Karubey Shimiu, Kawu Aminu, King Dr.Saheed Osupa, Kollington Ayinde, Komi Jackson, Lateef Ayinla Forsure, Lateef Ilori, Morufu Adisa, Muri Alabi Thunder, Muri Bosunkun, Murphy Adisa Sabaika, Musibau Alani, Nuraini Bonanza, Obesere Abass Akande, Ololade Toyin Adio, Olusegun Ologo, Oyama Azeez , Rahimi Ayinde Bokos, Ramoni Akanni, Rasheed Ayinde Adekunle Merenge, Remi Aluko (Igwe fuji), Saheed Osupa, Saka Danfo, Samsondeen Alamu, Segeme Ayinla, Segun Michael, Shamu Nokia, Shefiu Adekunle Alao, Shina Akanni, Shina Akanni Aroworeyin, Sikiru Ayinde Kolotiti (now SK Sensation), Sir Keyen, Sulaimon Adigun, Sulaimon Alao Adekunle Malaika, Sule Adio (Atawéwé), Sunny Melody, Sunny T Adesokan, Taiye Currency, Tunde Ileiru, Wahabi Ilori, Wahidi Akangbe, Wasiu Ajani, Wasiu Alabi Pasuma(Oganla 1), Wasiu Ayinla Karachi, Yahaya Daniya.
Fuji: A Opera: Giving Fuji music a brighter future