I’ve been a follower, lover and fan of Late Dr Sikiru Ayinde Balogun (Barrister) MFR, ever since i was a kid. I found his music very inspiring, educating, philosophical, political, interesting and very pleasant to the soul. Over the years, his music has remain evergreen.
I learn one or two things, each and every minute i listen to any of his songs.
One most interesting and surprising thing about this “Genius” is that, his music is still being played at every nooks and crannies of the country. The relevance of his works are just more evident than when he himself was alive. No wonder he’d earlier said, people would and won’t stop talking about him, after he might have left the stage and departed this sinful world.
I was never a fan or lover of Fela’s music or person. Because as a kid, there was this believe everywhere about him (Fela), that he was a madman, he was a hemp and marijuana smoker. And so, he wasn’t with his senses. I had this same impression, until one day, when i was just sitting idle close to my elder brother’s window, on one cool evening. He was playing one of Fela’s music that day. I was there left with no choice than to listen to that sound coming out of the window, just to free my mind of any idleness or boredom. As i was listening, i started picking some senses in what he was singing. I initially thought it was an accident or mistake for him to have sang that beautiful track (BONN). And in a shot while, another track (Sorrow Tears and Blood) begins, followed by Water Light, Food House track. In fact, both the wrong impression planted in me by the fake rumours about him and that was actually killed by these few tracks i listened to. That same day, i did not hesitate to take a bus straight to Ikeja to buy my own personal copies of his works.
I later got to know that I’ve been wrong about him for a very long time. He was an ideologist, a social commentator and radical musician. He fought against oppression, corruption, embezzlement and misappropriation of govt funds, looting of public treasury etc. through his music.
Now, i was just thinking about these two great musicians. I found so many qualities they both have in common.
Defender of the masses
Both internationally recognised and widely accepted
They both understands and control the beats to all songs regularly
Both never believed in hoarding wealth or material things
Both music prophets, as all they said in their songs about Nigeria has come to pass
All these great qualities stand them out among others, even in their graves. The few differences that separated the two, are;
Barrister was a National honour holder of MFR, while Fela was not. Not because he didn’t merit it, but he was considered as staunch supporter of the masses against the govt. And because of his uncompromising principles against govt policies and atrocities.
Barrister always criticise and proffer solutions to govt. But Fela only criticise, but never proffer any solutions to the govt.
Fela was very confrontational and radical with his own music style, while Barrister was constructional and diplomatic in his own approach.
Fela lost his mother to govt brutality as a result of govt response or retaliation to Fela’s frequent attacks on the govt, while Barrister’s mother died peacefully.
Fela was severally arrested, detained and battered by the govt. But Barrister was never arrested or beaten by any go. But was only invited by the Late Abacha, once, after the release of “The Truth”
Fela died at the age of 59, while Barrister died at the age of 62.
Fela’s Kalakuta republic was attacked by the then military govt, while Barrister’s house was never attacked by any govt.
Barrister also received a commonwealth award for good music and recognition of “Musical Legend of Commonwealth” MLC, from the then Commonwealth Secretary General Emeka Anyaoku, while Fela never got one because of fight against slavery and imperialism in the hands of the colonial masters
Fela has two of his children, Femi and Seun Kuti as musicians, while Yeni is into the same industry, but as a dancer. But Barrister has more children in the industry than Fela. Seriki Balogun Adewale Akanji Barriyshowkey (Arole Mr Fuji), Alhaja Modinat Ashabi Barrytide, Balogun Lolade and Qudus Balogun are all musicians. While Usman Adeyinka Balogun Jr. is also a music producer and promoter, with his own music label (Umbrella Records)
So, what stands these two greats out amongst other musicians, both living and dead, is the creation of an annual world class events tagged “Felabration and Barryfest” to celebrate and immortalize these two all time greats.
We have over 15 functioning Barry Fans club pages on facebook (both on and off line,)with series of activities to keep the legacy alive. Starting from SABFC , ABLE , SAB GLOBAL, BARRY BLACK VOTARY FANS, then to BWFC. All these clubs have various ways of celebrating the late fuji icon. Several regular interactions and events like Saturday Quiz by Chief (Dr.) Sikiru Ayinde Barrister’s Fans Club (SABFC), annual Barry Day and donation of Sallah rams to Fuji Chamber Ayinde Barrister Legacy Club (Legacy club) then annual Barrybration, annual SAB memorial Ramadan lecture etc. by Barry Wonder Fans Club (BWFC) , BARRY BLACK VOTARY FANS and SAB GLOBAL Charity Club USA, which was created basically to help educate the poor and give support to the less privileged in our society. All these put together, keeps SAB’s legacy alive and above others too.
To me, this two music lords will forever remain few of the greatest, if not the greatest musicians ever to have to come from Nigeria !
Kudos to Ambassador Chico kameel and Princess Omoola!