Mayegun of Yorubaland… rewarding Wasiu Ayinde’s musical exploits, dexterity
He plays music with sound and substance, Olasunkanmi Wasiu Ishola Anifowoshe, popularly known as Wasiu Ayinde, K1 De Ultimate is one musical act that is bestriding the Fuji music and entertainment scene like a colossus.
With his works such as Talaso, Ile Kun Ayo, Fun Fusion, Orin D’owo, Let the Music Flow, Oluaye in Berlin, Ara Edide and others, no doubt, the Fuji maestro has paid his due in the Fuji music genre.
It is a known fact that he popularised the fuji genre based on the work of the fuji creator Ayinde Barrister known as Talazo fuji that appeals to all age groups, combining juju, apala, Yoruba blues, and other styles and genres.
Incontrovertibly, this music icon has phenomenally developed the fuji music style.
Considering his contribution to the media and entertainment in general and diligence in Fuji music specifically, Wasiu Ayinde was able to stand before the king. Not only that, he was honoured with one of the traditional titles in the Oduduwa enclave.
Hence,the Fuji ace who incorporated some Western instruments in the genre of Yoruba music was installed last Monday as the Mayegun of Yoruba land by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111.
Oba Adeyemi said the honour was in recognition of the artiste’s tremendous contribution to the media and entertainment industry.
The royal father emphasised that gone were the days when Yoruba people were silent about the exploits of their own while they were being honoured in other lands. He made reference to the late but leading artists such as IK Dairo, Haruna Ishola and many others who left with great impact without commensurate honours.
He said, “As we all know, there are three tiers of government. We have the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. The media is regarded as the fourth estate of the realm, and musicians are a vital part of the media.
“Through music, some of them criticised government excesses. A king who wants progress for his people should listen to good words of music that are deliberately picked to correct societal problems. I looked round and acknowledged the efforts of some of our musicians who are not just singing for the sake of it.
“For a long time, I have been documenting some of the works of our good musicians in Yorubaland. IK Dairo of blessed memory was honoured in the United Kingdom many years ago. Then, Sunny Ade was discovered. They called him King of Juju music. What we have done is to discover our own talents. The music of Wasiu is philosophical. It is time we honoured our own.”
Oba Adeyemi also used the occasion to caution the public on the use of social media, saying the raging outburst recorded after his statement was a deliberate transfer of the clogged mindset of those who had an axe to grind with Ayinde for reasons best known to them, insisting that the fuji act merited the Mayegun title having distinguished himself as a focused musician who had improved himself on his trade since the beginning of his musical journey in the early 80s.
Alaafin also revealed that Ayinde had made a request for the title 11 years ago during his visit to his palace in the company of his friends and associates.
He further revealed that he turned him down having made spiritual and physical consultations, all of which guided him against approving the title, saying, he only approved of it when the coast was clear, adding that there was no reason to waste time over it.
Earlier in his address shortly after his coronation, Wasiu said his installation meant additional responsibility to him. The ace musician promised to work towards the promotion of peace and unity in Yoruba land.
He said, “I give thanks to God almighty for deeming me fit. I thank Kabiyesi Alaafin and all our royal fathers for supporting me on this occasion. The responsibility that I am given is about the unity of Yoruba.
“The music part of me is on one side while the Mayegun part of me is another side. Henceforth, I stand for the interest of the Yoruba nation.
“Eleven years ago when Kabiyesi first muted the idea of installing me with the title, he sent me back midway apparently so that I can go for more tutelage. He sent me to learn about more rudiments of life. I am better off today. I stand before everybody today and assure you of my readiness to play my roles diligently.”
Those that were present on the occasion were President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, represented by Babafemi Ojudu; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Soliu Adetunji; officials of the Oyo State government and government functionaries from other states in the South-West; traditional rulers and chiefs and leading Nollywood artistes among others.
The audience was treated to fuji music by almost all leading acts who were present on the occasion as a mark of solidarity to one of their own.
Meanwhile, Senator Adesoji Akanbi has commended the choice of the renowned entertainer, noting that Oba Adeyemi made a good choice.
His brand of music, fuji, has its root in Ajisari/Were genre, an Islamic type music played by the Muslims in Yoruba land to wake the faithful for early dawn meal or Sahur during Ramadan period.
According to K1 De Ultimate, “My kind of music is called fuji; it is rooted in lslam. It is called Were fuji. ‘Were/Ajisari’ is the kind of music used by Muslims from the onset to wake the faithful for the early morning prayer during the month of Ramadan, the fasting period.
“Fuji means faaji, (enjoyment). It was created and popularised by the late music icon, Alhaji (Dr.) Sikiru Ayinde Barrister of blessed memory, as one of the variations of the Were/Ajisari music genre.”
The late Barrister had, while alive, stated that the name ‘Fuji’, chosen for the musical genre was conceived in a rather funny and unusual way. “I came up with it when I saw a poster at an airport, advertising the Mount Fuji, which is the highest peak in Japan,” he had said.
In one of his early LPs, which he used to chide the unreasonable critics who dubbed his creation ‘a local music’, Barrister explained, “Fuji music is a combination of music consisting of Sakara, Apala, Juju, Aro, Afro, and Gudugudu, possibly highlife.”
The word fuji is used to denote someone that is sociable. For example late Ayinla Omowura in one of his records Ebi Ki pagun mentioned Fuji more than eight times to describe fans that are sociable. Due to its popularity with young Nigerians, the genre is now the main hook lines of Nigerian hip-hop music.
The late Barrister as fans would later call him, did a tremendous job of popularising the genre by taking it all over the world, as he started touring the European continent, especially Britain in early 1970s. Also, he was first to take the brand of music to the North America, particularly the United States in 1984.
Between 1970 and throughout the 1980s, other fuji musicians that included Fatai Adio, Saura Alhaji, Student Fuji, Rahimi Ayinde (Bokote), Ramoni Akanni, Love Azeez, Waidi Akangbe, Sikiru Olawoyin, Agbada Owo (who prematurely experimented with the guitar), Iyanda Sawaba, Ejire Shadua, Wahabi Ilori, Wasiu Ayinde Barrister (who later changed his name to Wasiu Ayinde Marshal) and also the Ibadan quatro of Suleiman Adigun, Sakaniyau Ejire, and Wasiu Ayinla emerged, all introducing their versions of Fuji music.
Since the early 1980s, Alhaji Kolington Ayinla, who is best known as Baba Alatika or Kebe-n-Kwara, is a name to be reckoned with as far as fuji music is concerned. So also is K1 De Ultimate, who emerged on the scene with his first solo album titled Abode Mecca, which he released in 1980, after his tutelage under the late Ayinde Barrister. He thereafter, followed up with his most successful album Talazo 84, which he released in 1984, which won several music awards and titles.
K1 De Ultimate served in different roles under Ayinde Barrister’s band, Supreme Fuji Commanders from 1975 to 1978, first as instrument packer before he rose to road manager. In a bid to show his deep love for the late Barrister, he adopted Ayinde into his name after seeking the permission and blessing of his master.
His style evolved through the early 1990s as he added youthful vigour to it. By the end of the 1990s, his brand of Fuji had become one of the most popular dance genres in the country, as he is today considered the most popular in his generation of fuji singers since the mid-to late 1990s.
“Fuji music needs to make a push into every part of the world, not just only in the Yoruba or Muslim part in the country. Right from Nigeria, we must first of all reach out to the Igbos, the Hausas and every minority tribe, before reaching the western world. I thank God today we are getting there,” he said in an interview
For his great input in fuji music, having introduced the sounds of keyboards, saxophones, and guitars to the genre, K1 De Ultimate was honoured with various chieftaincy titles such as ‘Badabarawu’ of Ogijo in 1985, ‘Ekerin Amuludun’ of Ibadan land in 1986, Golden Mercury of Africa in 1986, and Honorary Doctor of Music at Saint John University Bakerfield California USA in 1989.
He was crowned Obaluaye Fuji Music (King of Fuji) at NTA Ibadan in 1993, while the late Oba of Lagos, Oba Adeyinka Oyekan II bestowed on him the title, Olu Omo (Golden Child) of Lagos in 1999. He has also been honoured with a lot of music awards including FAME Musician of the Year, Best Fuji Artiste at the Nigerian Music Awards, Best African Artiste at the WOMAD Festival in Reading 1996 and The ‘Headies Hall Of Fame’ award in 2013.
Though a native of Ijebu Ode in Ogun State, the fuji legend was born on March 3, 1957, in Agarawu, Isale Eko, Lagos. He discovered his interest in music at age 8. His parents initially opposed to his career choice but he continued to pursue his passion and by the time he was 15 he had won various local musical competitions.
With over 57 playing albums and some other international releases like Vivid Imagination, Ara-Edide, Ilekun Ayo, Talazo, Orin D’owo, Omo Niger, Won Tun-Nna, Aiye, Ultimate Medley, Ijebu Fowosere Medley, Sun – Sun, Canada 98 Part 2, Eyo, Ma Shote, Consolidation, The Ultimate, Fuji Collections, Series, Rhythm Come, K1 is reputed to combine juju, apala, Yoruba blues, and other styles into his delivery. He has expanded his musical vocabulary to include rock, funk, and hip-hop influences while at the beginning of his career he basically sang Koranic chants and rhymes.
Asked which is his favourite album, the fuji maestro said, “It takes a very hard job to get all these albums come to reality. It is like you are asking a man who has a lot of children, which of all his children is his favourite child. I must be frank with you; there is none of them that is not lovely. Don’t be surprised that my next album you will listen to might even supercede the ones you’ve been listening to. That’s just the life of arts.”
He has been a mentor and a great example to follow for many younger artistes.