BARRISTER IS TO BLAME —KOLLINGTON
Top fuji musician, General Kolington Ayinla, recently lost his mom. He spoke with us about his mom, the crisis in fuji Kingdom among other things
Alhaji Kolington Ayinla, sorry about the death of your mom.
A: Thank you.
Q: Although you're already a grandfather, you will miss her. How did she die?
A: She died last Friday (7 September) and buried same day. She was 106 years old.
Q: (Jokingly) That means she died young?
A: Not really. However, she died at God's appointed time and as Moslems, we buried her on the same day. And what we are now planning is the seven days prayer in Ilota Kwara State slated for Friday (today). That will be a colourful celebration of her life. After that we shall also organise grand burial in her honour at the LTV 8 premises, Agidingbi, Ikeja on 17 October after the Ramadan fast.
Q: You played a very significant role during the burial of the mom of your friend, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. Has he come to sympathise with you on the death of your mom?
A: He is currently in America. He even prayed for the repose of her soul and also regretted his unavoidable absence at the burial and the upcoming fidau prayers. But he promised to makeup for everything on the 41 days prayer slated for LVT 8 premises. Apart from that, he has sent two cows to me.
Q: But a lot of people believe that both of you are sworn enemies?
A: Yes and exactly, they are right. Actually, we were not in talking terms before.
Q: And now?
A: Well, we were not in talking terms when he lost his mother but despite that, I went to pay him a condolence visit. Apart from that, I also gave him a cow. Maybe he is trying to reciprocate.
When my mother died, K1 De Ultimate said to me: “Daddy, please try and call him (Barrister) to inform him about your mom's death,” which I did. I could not reach him at that time but I put the message on his answering machine. Even Wasiu Ayinde (K1 De Ultimate) did the same by leaving a message on the machine but he called back. We spoke extensively on the phone. As for me, after that, I believe we have buried the hatchet. I have no ill-feelings towards him any longer.
Q: If you can remember, sometime in 1980s, he formed an alliance with a group of artistes and you formed yours too. And you are aware of the ranging war in fuji kingdom.
A: (Cuts in) Anyway, I know what you are driving at but I want us to rest that case for now. Please, don't let us discuss that for now.
Q: But 14 years ago, Kwam 1 (now K1) was crowned the fuji king in Ibadan, Oyo State. Then suddenly....
A: (Cuts in again) Hold it there. Please, I don't want to discuss anything concerning kingship in fuji kingdom. I have no further comment on that.
Q: All right, but are you aware that the younger fuji artistes, especially Pasuma and Saheed Osupa, have started producing VCDs abusing each other?
A: That is why I decided to attend a show at Waterparks, Ikeja featuring Pasuma and others to advise them on the way forward. I begged Pasuma and Osupa as well as others to bury the hatchet and extend the olive branch to each other. I believe the war is over.
Q: Have you discussed the issue with Ayinde Barrister because a lot of people believe it started from him?
A: When he comes back from America, we shall discuss about the issue. I know he started it all maybe unknowingly, but I shall let him know it was wrong. I will also implore him to summon a meeting and tell them what is right. I think that is the only way out.
Q: As one of the pioneers of fuji music, it has been observed that you go by simply calling yourself 'Kebe n' Kwara', but the young ones seem to have a penchant for titles such as 'Igwe,' king of fuji music, etc. Why is it so and is it proper in fuji music genre?
A: I cannot really ascertain if it is good or bad as anyone can call himself whatever name he likes.
Q: But sometime ago, when you attended an event organised by FUMAN in Ibadan, Oyo State, you named Iyabo Osanle, 'Mori lewa,' and others. Why did you do that?
A: Because I wanted to stop the idea of bearing bad names such as Osanle by fuji artistes. I frown at such names because you can never hear such from musicians who are Christians. Most of them bear lovely names and I see no reason why fuji artistes should continue bearing questionable names.
Q: You just released Back To Sender,' are you preparing for another album now?
A: I am preparing for my mom's burial.
Q: Recently, you acquired some expensive vehicles such as Humvee ( a.k.a. Hummer). People are insinuating that you are into 419 or you play loto (Baba Ijebu)?
A: I am not bothered about what people say. They have freedom of speech so they are free to say anything they like. I think that at this stage in my life and if not for the bad state of our economy, there is nothing bad if I use a private jet.
I have been doing this for over 30 years now so if I buy a Hummer, so what?
Q: Don't you think of retiring from music one day?
A: No. This is because real musicians don't retire from music. Or have you ever seen any musician who retired from playing music? Even our predecessors died in it. I pray against any illness or disease because that is the only thing that can make me retire from music. Music runs in my blood and it is quite impossible for it to leave me.
Q: Why are your children not playing music since it runs in your blood?
A: Some of them are musicians but it is just that they prefer to play hip hop music. One of my sons in London named Jamiu, has now changed his name to Michael. The boy calls himself Junior Kolington but he plays hip hop though he is yet to release an album.
Q: Are you satisfied with the level of fuji music?
A: I am satisfied but not absolutely. The reason is that, the younger ones are still keeping the flag flying. And I am not also satisfied because they are making it too foreign. It is going too foreign and fast losing its natural flavour. Don't forget that Michael Jackson and other world renowned musicians do not sing in our local languages. Fuji artistes should learn to promote our culture.
Q: Is that why you have not infused hip hop flavour in your music?
A: Yes, you are right. Don't forget that I introduced the keyboard drums and 'Baata' into fuji music. Now, if those instruments are jot included, people believe they have not played fuji music. That is bad because I only introduced them because of my experience in the Nigerian army, during my active days in service. Let there by a limit to it.
Q: Why did you introduce the western musical instruments then?
A: It is just to create an effect but it has to be minimal.
Q: What about the lyrics?
A: It has to be educative but they are not doing badly. I will like to encourage them to play good music.
Q: What do you have to say about gospel artistes who blend their music with fuji?/b]
A: It is good because they know that fuji music is marketable and that is why they are trying to add fuji with gospel. Fuji percussion is very danceable and would attract more people to their music.
Q: Juju artistes allege that the fuji musicians have started playing their brand of music and that you have snatched most of their fans. How true is this?
A: I don't know anything about that. Anybody can play anything that suits him and his fans. Don't we juju musicians play Omele and Sakara which are not part of their kind of music?
Q: Are you doing anything on your old albums?
A: I am seriously working on that. It's just that most of the marketers are not sincere.
Q: Is Olumo Records in charge of the distribution of your oldies?
A: I did not give him any right. I have even sent a letter to him concerning that but I am waiting for his reply.
Q: Has he paid you for the ones he sold?
A: No. I have not received a penny. I leave everything to God and hope that one day he will judge the wicked.