Celebrated fuji musician, Wasiu Ayinde, reflects on his journey through music as he clocks 60 today, AKEEM LASISI writes
Today is a special one for Talazo Fuji singer, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal – an alias that, over the years, changed almost as rapidly as the artiste sought to renew his art. The musician has clocked 60, an age that many would consider a landmark in a society where life expectancy is more than 10 years lower.
Wasiu’s entry into the real elder’s club is happening at a relatively symbolic time. About four days ago, popular film-maker, Tunde Kelani, clocked 69, and was celebrated by many of his friends, associates and fans across the country. Also on March 12, poet laureate, Prof. Niyi Osundare, will be 70, with a series of events bound to greet it. The three men are not really of the same pedigree nor are they in the same vocation. But those who are deep in Yoruba cultural heritage will attest to the fact that they drank a lot from the same pot.
Of course, in terms of engagement with oral literature, Wasiu’s elder fuji practitioners, the late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, whom he describes as his mentor, and Kollignton Ayinla, could be ahead. What many will continue to celebrate KWAM 1 for is the innovation that he brought into fuji, his doggedness and his ability to attract new audiences to the brand, both within and outside Nigeria.Observers say that fuji is still alive due to the ingenuity and efforts of the artiste who, since 1984 when he released his limelight album, Tala ’84, has continued to make waves. The reason is that many old genres die due to the absence of younger talents who are supposed to continue to propagate it. Perhaps this is what befell the likes of sakara and apala, which almost faded away with the passage of the likes of Yusuf Olatunji and Haruna Ishola. As KWAM 1, who ably took over from Barrister and Kollington, thus turns 60, many are likely to salute him as a bridge builder and a reliable apostle.