Giving Fuji Music a Brighter Future

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Tosin Clegg

A series of events focused on revitalising the Fuji musical genre for a new audience, captured the imagination of Nigerians in Lagos from 14th to 19th December 2020. Fuji is one of the most authentic home-grown music genres to have emerged from Nigeria, arguably from the streets of Lagos Island as Ajiwere – folk music for Islamic worshippers at Ramadan. The genre has since undergone significant transformation, becoming reference sound for contemporary Nigerian pop.

The 6-day Fuji music showcase organised by 3101 Media in partnership with The Fuji Musicians Association of Nigeria, Alliance Francaise de Lagos, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, The Wheatbaker Lagos, and Bombay Sapphire, had over 2,000 people walk through its gates in honour of “Fuji: A Opera.”

The week was declared open on by the oldest living Fuji pioneer and performer – General Ayinla Kollington. In attendance at the official week launch were industry practitioners, culture custodians and music fans. General Kollington was led on a tour of the exhibition by the Creator of “Fuji: A Opera,” Mr. Adeoye ‘Bobo’ Omotayo, who took the 74-year old crooner through a state-of-the-art multi-media installation that explored in great depth the rich Fuji sub-culture through archival recordings, a historical timeline, costumes, and never-seen-before merchandise.

Next was a VIP preview of the exhibition, which doubled as a celebration of the life of Fuji Music’s creator, the late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. The date coincided with the 10th year remembrance of Barrister. A Wall Mural was unveiled in honour of his legacy. A special ‘Creator Award’ was presented to the family of the late hero and received by his eldest son, Mr. Rasak Balogun and his two wives and children.

Then, in a 90-minute talk series tagged “An Audience with K1 De Ultimate” moderated by Yemi Shodimu and Lehle Bedle and in partnership with Universal Music Nigeria, journalists, industry practitioners, investors had a chance to hear K1, as he unmasked the genre’s obscure past, threw light on the present and insights on its future.

The grand finale of this landmark event on December 19 ended with a live music showcase which featured icons of the genre including Sule Matute, The SK Sensation Band, KS1 Malaika, Saheed Osupa and the headliner act, K1 De Ultimate. The evening ended with K1 De Ultimate ushering the Creator and Executive Producers onto the stage for a final sing along to his iconic crowd pleaser, “Omo Naija”.