Dr.Sikiru Ololade Ayinde Balogun, MFR, better known by his stage names Ayinde Barrister, Barry Wonder or Alhaji Agba, was born on 9 February 1948 to the family of Pa Salawu Balogun, who was a trader from Ibadan, and his father was a butcher. He is regarded as a pioneer of Fuji and Wéré music. After his first break into music in 1965, Ayinde Barrister went on to release over 70 studio albums.

Barrister had his early education at Muslim Mission School and the Model School,Mushin, Lagos. He later studied typing and other commercial related classes at Yaba Polytechnic.

Ayinde Barrister started playing music at a young age as an ajiwere singer during the period of Ramadan;he continued playing music in between various jobs. He worked as a typist for Nigerian Breweries and was later enlisted as a clerk in the Nigerian Army during the Nigeria Civil War. He served in the 10th Brigade of the 2nd Division of the Nigerian Army under Col Adeniran and fought in Awka, Abagana and Onitsha. On his return from the war, he was posted to the Army Signals Headquarters, Apapa and later to the Army Resettlement Centre, Oshodi. He left the army to became a full-time musician and proceeded to start a full-fledged band of 34 percussionists and vocalists called the “Supreme Fuji Commanders”.

In 1966, Ayinde Barrister released his first LP record. During that time, he usually played with his band at events around Ebute Meta and Lagos mostly to Muslim clients. He released further records under the label African Songs Ltd before starting his own label Siky-Oluyole Records. Among the LP’s released under African songs is Bisimilahi (1977) and Ile Aiye Dun Pupo/Love In Tokyo (India Sound) (1976). By the early 1980s, Ayinde Barrister and Fuji music had become accepted by all regions in the country. He went on to record various albums including Iwa (1982), Nigeria (1983), Fuji Garbage (1988) and New Fuji Garbage (1993) under his imprint. He had a popular record titled Reality (2004). Barrister had a bitter feud with another Fuji singer, Kollington Ayinla in 1982. Ayinde Barrister had a couple of successful shows in London in 1990 and 1993 performing what later became known as the Fuji Garbage sound.

His Fuji Music is a blend of earlier traditional musical genres of Apala Sakara, Awurebe and others. With Fuji Music, Barrister revolutionized traditional Yoruba music while still projecting traditional values of good behaviour, respect for elders and the struggles against life’s forces. He often used his music as a tool of commentary on issues of national concern, especially politics. He was blessed in the art of praising enigmatic.

Dr.Sikiru Ayinde Barrister earned so many notable awards during his lifetime and music career however the most significant is the conferment of the honor of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2006, President Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo. The honour is believed to be based on his album Precaution released in 1995, the record that detailed the whole issues confronting Nigeria as a nation and possible solutions to the National problems. In 1983, he was awarded a honorary PhD in Music at the City University of Los Angeles.

Barrister died on December 16, 2010 (aged 62) St. Mary’s Hospital,London,United Kingdom at the age of 62.

May his soul continue to rest in peace.Amen

By Oluwafemi Omodara

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