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Posted Monday, October 20, 2003

 
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London, UK

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African Songs UK revives the good ol' times

frican Songs UK, the new recording label operating from Deptford in South East London, is an offshoot of the renowned African Songs/TYC Records of old which made tremendous musical impact under the late Chief Bolarinwa Abioro.

Managed by London-based entrepreneur, Olusegun Payne who is also the founder, the revamped African Songs UK has Abubakar Abioro as co-founder with responsibility for the sister company, TYC Records, based in Lagos Nigeria. There is Femi Payne as well who is a director of the company.

Responsible for the early releases of Nigerian musical greats like King Sunny Ade, African Songs UK intends to re-release African Songs/TYC Records' back catalogue of vintage works dating from the early 60s to the 80s and consisting of JUJU, HIGHLIFE and FUJI music.

It will also produce some titles which have not been previously released into the market. All these are billed to appear in digital format for worldwide distribution.

AFRICAN SONGS & KSA: FORWARD TO THE PAST


King Sunny
Juju music enthusiasts, especially those living in the Diaspora, are most likely to give the early records of legends like King Sunny Ade a rousing welcome.

King Sunny Ade, born 20th September, 1946, is a living prodigy of our time whose dexterity on the guitar coupled with his masterly composition has earned him unparalleled encomiums around the world. With his trademark guitar fireworks, KSA has been riding high on the crest of popularity for over four decades.

The Sunny Ade story is as yet to be fully told. Someday, the meteoric success story of this wonderful performer who gave zest to Juju music at a time the onslaught from the exotic Soul music was becoming great will be told in full.

Sunny Ade has been in the thick of it all: from the day African Songs Ltd, released his first work, "EDA 0 L'AROPIN'. Such was his popularity among Juju music lovers that he got the sobriquet, MASTER GUITARIST, at a society party.

The artistry, talent and creative ability of KSA on the guitar and as a legendary 'stage charmer' have been proclaimed by music lovers and Juju bandleaders alike.

FUJI MUSIC, AYINDE BARRISTER AND THE 'WERE' FOUNDATION


Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister
Sikiru Ayinde Barrister is popularly credited with the emergence of what has now evolved to be known as Fuji music.

'Alhaji Agba', otherwise called 'The Fuji exponent' and now in his mid-50s, started playing music at the tender age of 10. The music called WERE was a variant of religious chant employed by young Islamic faithfuls to entertain and wake up adherents of Islamic faith during the Ramadan period.

Barrister consistently improvised on this music form until 1967 when he came up with the 'Fuji' music, which was an improvement on the WERE music of his teeny bopper years. He waxed his first record in 1967 and stamped his trademark of Fuji music firmly on the musical landscape for all time.

Sikiru Ayinde Barrister enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1967 and trained as a stenographer. Before coming back into full-time music, he had had a brief spell of action as the civil war was on in Nigeria then.

REMEMBERING KAYODE FASHOLA, 'THE PRAYERFUL ARTISTE'


Kayode Fashola
The late KAYODE FASHOLA started his adult life as a Grade Two Teacher in Nigeria but veered off into professional music due to his fervent love for music. He had joined the band of a certain BAYO ONIDE for two years but later went on to another band.

He joined the popular AYINDE BAKARE band then called the MERINDER. After the death of the old man he was voted to lead the band.

Two years later, the band changed its name from MERINDER to MUSIC MAKERS. He got his fame from his musical prowess as well as his mastery of the guitar. He is known to be able to throw more sounds out of his guitar as a ventriloquist. He is also known amongst his peers as THE PRAYERFUL ARTISTE.

THE FIRST NIGERIAN FEMALE GUITARIST LIVES ON!


Oladunni Decency
Oladunni 'Decency' Oduguwa was born in the late 50s. Before she died at the young age of 28, she was married to her bandleader, and had made the distinguished mark of being the first female guitarist in Nigeria.

She recorded many successful hits during her years as an artiste. Some of her legendary works have now been digitally re-mastered for the enjoyment of music buffs.

TUNDE NIGHTINGALE, A LEGEND FOR ALL TIMES


Tunde Nightingale
Tunde Nightingale Western as he was popularly known was born in lbadan in the late 40s. He was a soft spoken and unassuming person who added panache to his image by keeping the legendary singing bird, a Nightingale, in his home.

Unlike the other stars of the era, Tunde Nightingale was an elusive character which helped to create the mystery surrounding him.

He was casual in his approach to life as his dress sense would testify: always dressing in the same style of dress. Highly respected by his fellow musicians, his contemporaries included stars like the legendary I. K. Dairo and Dele Ojo. Tunde Nightingale was credited with the 'Owambe' system which became very popular amongst the corps of Lagos socialites who sponsored him on a tour aboard.

On his return, he signed for the music label, TYC. In his life time he recorded up to 41 LPs. The pioneering nature of his music was to such an extent that modern stars like King Sunny Ade were known to have at one time or the other have played and experimented with his style.

GNONNAS PEDRO AND HIS DADJES BAND: SINGING ACROSS THE CONTINENT


Gnonnas Pedro
Gnonnas Pedro's band, a 20-piece ensemble was formed in 1964, two years after his first record was released in Paris. Since this time, Gnonnas has been a professional musician who is known in different parts of the world. In 1973 he signed a contract with TYC Records and he recorded seven LPs for this company.

Gnonnas Pedro was born in 1943 in a village called Lokossa and he sings in different languages for the satisfaction of his fans all over the world. His Yoruba highlife release, "Feso Jaiye" became a household anthem and was performed by many West African musicians during the FESTAC '77 arts fiesta in Lagos.

Gnonnas Pedro's band represented West Africa 13th Festival of Music in Quebec, Canada.

He also performed at U.S.A., Paris, Senegal, Gabon, Upper Volta, Niger Guinea to mention a few. He is based in France but always in Nigeria on short trips.

2003 nigeriaworld.com

(* This article consists, in the main, of information from materials made available by African Songs UK and by extension, the Bolarinwa Abioro Organisation, both of which are gratefully acknowledged.)

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