Tuesday February 9th 2021 would have been Barrister’s 73rd birthday celebration, and his birthday was marked posthumously by the family and friends of the late Fuji music icon.
Barrister passed away 11 years ago in 2010 at the St. Mary’s Hospital in London, United Kingdom aged 62 years.
Chief Dr. Sikiru Ololade Ayinde Balogun was born on February 9th, 1948 in Isolo, Lagos State. He ventured into music first in 1965 as an ajiwere singer during the Muslim Ramadan period, before combining his music with other jobs and activities of his.
He trained as a typist at the Yaba College of Technology and worked as a typist with the Nigerian Breweries. He was enlisted as a clerk in the Nigerian Army during the Nigeria Civil War of 1967-1970, and fought in Awka, Abagana and Onitsha under Colonel Adeniran in the 10th Brigade of the 2nd Division of the Army.
After the war, he was posted to the Army Signals Headquarters and later to the Army Resettlement Centre, both of which were in Lagos.
After he left the army, he moved fully into the music industry, becoming a full-fledged Fuji artiste, forming a band of 34 members including percussionists and vocalists, and this band was called the “Supreme Fuji Commanders”.
He started out by performing at events of Muslims around Lagos and released his first LP in 1966 under African Songs Ltd before going on to create his own Siky-Oluyole Records.
He released two more LPs in the 1970s and by the early 80s, he had gained huge grounds all over the country.
He had a protracted feud with fellow Fuji legend, Kollington Ayinla in 1982, which resulted in both men avoiding each other for many years. Barrister had his first international shows in 1990 and 1993 in London where he performed his Fuji Garbage album which he released in 1988. He released over 70 albums during his 45- year career.
Barrister’s Fuji music was a blend of various traditional Yoruba musical genres as he brought about a revolution in Yoruba music.
He used his lyrics to convey messages of good behaviour, advice young ones and speak up about the societal ills and numerous issues of national concern.
He also used his music to convey messages about politics in the country under various governments. He was awarded with the honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) in 2006 by President Olusegun Obasanjo because of his immense contributions to music.
Barrister passed away on December 16th, 2010 after a battle with illness. After his death, both Fuji and non-fuji fans were thrown into mourning as he was a national figure and icon.
His musical torch has been passed down to a few of his children, most especially Barry Jhay who has received massive air play over the past 2 years, such that at a point in time, everywhere including NetBet Nigeria shops, club, and bar was playing his hit single, Aiye.
Barry Jhay admitted that he sampled some of his father’s songs, adding modern beats and lyrics to give it a new-school feel. This shows that the late legend continues to live on. Happy birthday to Barrister, the king of Fuji music, and may He continue to rest in peace.