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Ayinla Omowura Age, Family, Life and Times, Music, Legacy of the Enigma Ayinla Omowura – 39 Years After The Death of Ayinla Omowura

Ayinla Waidi Omowura born 1933

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Place of birth: Itoko, Abeokuta

Died: 6 May 1980 at Itoko, Abeokuta following a braw in a bar room, was stabbed on the head with a beer glass cup.  He died on his way to the Ijaiye General Hospital, Abeokuta.

Aliases: Fondly known as alujonnu elere (musical gnome), Agun Mogaji, Anigilaje, Haji Costly

Father: Yusuf Gbogbolowo (Blacksmith)

Mother: Wuramotu Morenike

Profession: leader of a Yoruba genre of music called Apala

Childhood: was said to have been apprenticed to his father’s blacksmithry trade. Unconfirmed sources said that while growing up, Omowura interspersed this early childhood vocation with acting as political thug to some politicians of the time. He was also said to have once been a commercial driver

Musical instruments: admixture of a quartet musical instruments of Sekere maracas, akuba, Iya-ilu and agidigbo

Music genre: Apala

Music style: attacked societal ills in his characteristic acidic tongue

Music label: EMI under which he released c20 albums

 

By the early 70s, along with other Apala prodigies of the time like Haruna Ishola (who reportedly invented the genre), S. Aka, Ligali Mukaiba, Yusuf Olatunji, Kasumu Adio, S.K.B Ajao-Oru, Fatai Ayilara, Ojubanire Ajape Saka Tewogbade and others, he had successfully transformed not only Apala but his fortunes as well, into a genre of music that was not strictly the pastime of the Yoruba lower class as it was hitherto perceived.

Omowura held society spellbound by his song, occasionally infusing his Egba dialect as a musical motif, delivered in a rich voice that was perhaps accentuated by his rumored passion for cannabis.

In his typical social critic garb, Omowura was the scourge of the then emerging fad of women bleaching (Volume 15, Oro kan je mi logun) where he compared, sarcastically, the body of a woman who bleaches with that of the frog and wondered why the white man does not, comparatively, flee after the black skin. His songs were also the nemesis of ladies who changed husbands’ houses like a Chameleon changes colour (Pansaga ranti ojo ola) where he espoused the concept of the Onibambashi — most likely a barroom argot — classification of such women. Paradoxically, Omowura was said to be the toast of married women beer salon operators in his Abeokuta and Mushin homes and on several occasions, had to engage their husbands in physical, as well as musical scuffles to assert his supremacy.

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Written by West A

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