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Nigeria: Colossal Afro Soul

by Good News

Good News –

Highlife crooner and Afrobeat singer Orlando Julius Aremu Olusanya Ekemode died, in accordance to his spouse Latoya Aduke, in his sleep on 15 April 2022.

A titan of Nigerian highlife had passed on at 79.

With a profession spanning nearly six decades Orlando Julius stamped his foot on the sands of history, promoting his talents and laundering his nation’s image across the globe.

Orlando Julius played the saxophone with dexterity, and within the wreck turned into a pioneering force late Afrobeat song: a genre which turned into as soon as later adopted and promoted by the renowned Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

Highlife song originated from Ghana within the early 1800s as more than one African musical fusions mixed with Western jazz melodies. It’s mostly characterised by jazzy horns and more than one guitars.

On the opposite hand, Afrobeat is a hybrid of highlife song that developed within the 1960s and 1970s. It combines substances of West African styles equivalent to fuji and highlife with American jazz, soul and funk.

Orlando’s prowess lay in his potential to combine his native Yoruba drums with the guitar and saxophone to ranking a aggregate of African rhythms and soul. This aggregate turned into as soon as to change into the approved Afrobeat genre which he took to Europe and the US.

His early years

Orlando turned into as soon as born in Ikole Ekiti, a metropolis within the South West of Nigeria in 1943. He turned into as soon as educated at St. Peter’s Anglican college within the an identical metropolis. He additionally played for the college band as effectively as to receiving musical classes from his mother. Following the loss of life of his father in 1957, Orlando dropped out of college and moved to Ibadan to pursue his profession in song.

He labored in a bakery while additionally playing drums and flutes with juju and konkoma (or konkomba) bands. Juju song is a style of Yoruba approved venerable percussion. The title originated from the Yoruba notice ‘juju’ that methodology throwing one thing or one thing being thrown. Konkoma (or konkomba) derives from the Gur people within the northern fragment of Ghana.

He went on to play on the now defunct political ranking together Action Group’s secretariat in Ibadan. Right here he linked with a Brazilian guitarist, Romero Lubambo, who invited him to play in Ondo. By 1960, Orlando turned into as soon as invited by a Nigerian highlife musician Eddy Okonta to be a part of the band Highlife. With Okonta he learned to play saxophone professionally and turned into a highlife-cum-Afrobeat singer.

Profession and legacy

He thus experimented variously with horns, guitar and American R&B to construct a special genre. He later left Okonta to construct his hold band and his first hit with Jagua Nana, a 1965 song in which a woman is in contrast with a Jaguar.

In the following year, 1966, Orlando released in fact one of his greatest albums, Colossal Afro Soul, which further launched him as a committed singer and composer.

In the 1970s, Orlando moved to the US the get he later fashioned a band with Hugh Masekela. Masekela turned into as soon as a South African trumpeter, singer and composer who turned into as soon as identified for his jazz compositions and for writing approved anti-apartheid songs. They collectively produced two albums which they toured extensively with.

Orlando later returned to Nigeria in 1984 to proceed his profession in his field of foundation. Earlier than returning to Nigeria, he had a stint with film by taking a job in Roots: The 2d Generation, a US TV sequence about slavery. He additionally attended a film college in Oakland. Nonetheless he never lost computer screen of song as he continued to compose gigs and even opening for iconic US trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong.

Aid in Nigeria

On the an identical time he had been working on albums on Nigerian labels and as soon as attend house, Orlando fashioned an 18-member band comprising all Nigerian stars and produced the Dance Afrobeat album. The band went on tour of the US with Lijadu Sisters.

In 2000, Orlando reproduced Colossal Afro Soul from 1966. He followed this up with Orlando Julius and the Afro Sounders and then Voodoo Funk in 2011. He went on tour of London in 2014 the get he additionally collaborated with musical team The Heliocentrics to speak more songs and unique versions of his outdated tracks.

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Orlando outdated song to promote and retain his Yoruba custom. He entertained various ideologies from the outset of his profession along with his African American spouse. He turned into as soon as committed to advising his viewers to live worthily by embracing the values of peace, cherish, justice and liberty.

He released Jaiyede Afro in 2014 which charted number 13 on Billboard World Album within the an identical year. In 2019, Orlando moved to Ijebu-Jesa, Osun Notify, Nigeria with his spouse the get he turned into as soon as honoured with a chieftaincy title of Gbeluniyi by Oba Moses Ogunsoye, the royal father of the metropolis.

Sola Balogun, Lecturer, Theatre and Media Arts, Federal University, Oye Ekiti

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