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Much Ado About Kunle Ayanlowo, by Lateef Agboola

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Since the former Lead Drummer for Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde Anifowose K1 De Ultimate, Mr Ayankunle Ayanlowo, granted an interview on his over 32 years journey with K1, tongues have continued to wag and wag. In fact, those who don’t know anything about the Fuji Music, let alone De Ultimate Fuji Organisation have been handed down biased judgements, laced with hatred, not only on Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde, but also on all Fuji Musicians without any iota evidence to back up their “fatwa”.

To start with, My name is Alhaji Lateef Akanni Olajide Agboola, my Nickname is Meaningful Boy while my Stage Name is CLAM/KLAM. I would like to inform whoever that cares that I’m a Fuji musician of about three decades on stage, (not including my earlier years as egbe Fuji/Ajiwere band while in Primary School and as a backup vocalist while in secondary school). I launched my Decent Fuji Band on January 29, 1998 2/3 years after I passed out of secondary school, (Onaolapo Memorial High School, Ikirun). For those who know the nooks and crannies of Ikirun, headquarters of Ifelodun local government area of Osun state, my base then was Kajola Street, Oke Afo, opposite Old Sawmill. In those years, I was opportune to sit together with the likes of Baba Wahab Akajewole (Fuji), Late Alhaji Nasiru Alowoesin (Apala), Late Wahab Adakeja (Awurebe), Chief Isola Omosco, Sir Mudasiru Adisa Lancaster, Asunmo Eriki, Ayinde Ganiyu Adetunji “Loshodi”, Yoboro Wasiu, among others, being the Secretary of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, FUMAN in Ifelodun local government, during the tenures of Sir Young Ade and Evangelist Ola Afolabi “Olanfo” as Osun State PMAN Governors, at different times… All these background information are very necessary to tell you where I’m coming from.

Now, to the subject matter, many people are crucifying Band Leaders, especially Fuji Musicians for allegedly not treating their boys well. May God forgive all of you. Let me state categorically that, while there’s no doubting the fact that there are some band leaders of such character, the overgeneralization is a sin in the eyes of God. To set the record straight, I would try as much as possible to use myself as an example throughout this narrative, to avoid unnecessary contradictions. As I said earlier, we launched the Decent band in 1998, (after serving under my brother from the same family compound (OLAESE), Mr Lateef Akanmu Niniowo a k a AFONIJE).

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IDOWU EESA
My first Lead Drummer was Idowu Eesa from Eko-Ende. In order to satisfy my boys then, I won’t care about having my own share of whatever proceeds we got from a show, I’ll make sure they were given fat shares while I and my late manager, Asimiyu Abisoye (May Allah grant him eternal rest) would be left with nothing in most cases, and debt at times. One day, we had a very big show in front of Ile Eesa, from the Palace Gate to Oja-Oke junction. Everyone was happy as the celebrants and guests were enjoying one of my recent live shows recording being played from the deck, when we showed up to start the show. After Idowu and a few other boys tested their drums sound, Idowu told me we should go together to bring a guy to help us with the drum set 🥁 and I agreed, because we only had a lead drummer, one omele kannango and one Omele accord and the recorded instrumental/bear. He told me the guy was living around Yemi block, along Igbo’le (for those who are conversant with Ikirun geographical entity) and that he was indisposed and was just recovering, hence we shouldn’t let his mother know our mission and because of that, I should wait and let him go inside as a friend, who only came to check on him… I automatically fell for his lying 🤥 🤔 and agreed to wait for him. To cut the story short, I waited in vain for over and hour and was forced to call Idowu, but he refused to pick my calls repeatedly and finally put off his phone. It’s after two days that I learnt that Idowu eloped with another musician leaving my band to suffer disgrace and incur a very huge debt, because we couldn’t do anything again that day and the celebrant requested for full repayment while I equally had to bear the cost of transportation of musical instruments to and fro. Ajigbotafe Simiyu – the Instruments owner is a living witness. That ended my journey with Idowu before I had an agreement with Hammed Ayansola.

AYANSOLA HAMMED

Ayansola is a professional and mature drummer. We were together when I released my debut album DECENT MUSIC in 2004 under the label of Olalomi Records at Ijesatedo, Lagos. The album shot me into the limelight then, being the first Fuji Musician in Ikirun zone to have achieved the feat. Unfortunately, we fell out with the promoter because we felt cheated by him. Why? That’s a story for another day, so as not to derail. The following year, 2005, I decided to embark on self sponsored album BACK TO SENDER which was also launched at Ikirun Town Hall, as the first one. By 2007, I was able to perform the Hajj Pilgrimage of that year in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and before I returned, Hammed Ayansola had eloped with an Islamic musician.

WASIU ALAMU APALARA

The exit of Ayansola brought late Wasiu Alamu Apalara “Alasepo” of the blessed memories into my band and we’re together doing well not until one day, we had a day party at Ifon-Osun and another night show at Ipetumodu. We’re not the only musical band performing at Ifon-Osun event, there were two others, but we’re the best judging by the acceptability. In fact, some celebrants left their stands to come to dance at our own floor. By that time, I didn’t know that one of the musicians had “bribed” Apalara to elope with him, not until we’re ready to move to Ipetumodu and Wasiu Alamu Onilu-Oro (The Drummer of Wealth💰) was nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to Ipetumodu not until around 11pm or thereabouts, as we were struggling to have a replacement of the lead drummer, even at night and that’s when my path crossed with Ronta Alapala here in Osogbo for the first time and the relationship remains cordial till date. Ronta was the lead drummer drummer for late Tajudeen Akanmu (Akoledowo Omo Oyiboyi) (May God forgive him of all his shortcomings). Ronta saved me that night. Though, the celebrant had, out of annoyance, engaged a musician in their locality thinking that we won’t come again, even after several assurances. We later entertained them till dawn of the following day… I didn’t because of this abandoned Apalara but I was thinking of alternatives. That led to the engagement of Michael Bamidele, (who was hitherto handling my drumset) as a lead drummer, because he had always showed interest and at any given opportunity,bhe would try his hand on talking drum. Michael Bamidele is the longest among them.

BAMIDELE MICHAEL
Bamidele has been my boy since the day of Hammed Ayansola. In fact, we together arranged the beat for my second album BACK TO SENDER recorded at Afrodesia Studio (formerly Decka Studio) at Abule-Oja, Yaba, Lagos. I spoilt Micheal with everything simply because I like him naturally and I saw future in him. Now, let me tell you some of what he did. Between 2014 and 2022, we had FIVE different band uniforms and:were nowhere to be found by 2022. courtesy of Michael Bamidele. How? As a Band Captain designate, whenever I insist that we shouldn’t release our uniforms for those who are not permanent members of the band, he would assure me not to bother myself, that he has had agreement with them, saying they would surely join us in the next show. But in most cases, one by one, they would default with my band uniforms courtesy of my lead drummer and band captain designate. Apart from this, on many occasions, this same guy would abscond on the day of our shows to lead drum for other musicians who have paid him extraordinarily and when he returns, he would lie to me that he was in seclusion in the church, when available evidences would prove otherwise. It would interest you that, I pay him double of the normal rentage of drums, not only for his Apala/Gangan drums rentage, but also for other percussions, out of which he would not even give other guys what belongs to them without being inflated. There’s an incident that almost led me into disrepute. Late last year 2023, a Saxophonist with my band, Bukunmi, was having his wedding and he called to tell me that I would be the Musician of the day. Ordinarily, I don’t have to take anything as a payback, but the guy sent money to me to fuel my car. You want to know how much? Don’t worry 😁. After paying for my transport, Bukunmi arranged with Micheal to get musical instruments and other necessary things. When it’s a few days to the day, a senior drummer and one of my long time fans called about a show at Eko-Ende, but we couldn’t agree because of the charges I asked the celebrants to pay. They’re trying to assure me of a profitable show and I also insisted on the least I could take from them, because it’s our season and the event is a few days away and we would have issues with getting instruments at a cheaper price. As a leader, I called my lead drummer and shared with him and I asked him whether we should let go because we might not be lucky to be able to finish early at Taovik Event Centre, Ikirun, venue of the wedding ceremony. And his advice was that we should focus on Bukunmi’s Programme alone, which I agreed on . But to my surprise, my lead drummer later called the man that brought the show and collected the amount I rejected and arranged for the show at Eko-Ende. Unfortunately, I didn’t know this not until I got to Bukunmi’s wedding reception and I met a DJ instrument arranged for me by my lead drummer, who had diverted the correct instrument earlier obtained for Bukunmi to the show at Eko-Ende and got a musician to perform there. If not because of the respect I have for the groom, Bukunmi as I didn’t want to spoil his day, I would have left immediately I got to the venue and discovered the fraud perpetrated by my own lead drummer. Lest I forget, he absconded from Bukunmi’s wedding reception and went to Eko-Ende to lead drum and manage the proceeds from the show.

CONCLUSION

Let me add thar on many occasions, I have used my ATM card to withdraw money 🤑 to augment my band boys shares, especially whenever the show wasn’t profitable.

Let me also call our attention to the fact that, the band leader would always have to spend for his fans whenever they meet at a joint or an occasion, and where he’s not on stage. Where do you expect him to get the money, if there’s no provision for such earlier?

Meanwhile, we have a number of our drummers who are today owners of their own houses while many band leaders are still tenants. I believe it’s a result of THREE factors; One, destiny, two discipline and three, focus. Or what do you say about drummers who cannot do without taking 3/4 bottles 🍾 everyday? Or those who would leave a show and instead of going back home to meet their families, would prefer to go to beer parkour to enjoy?

Finally, in as much as I don’t want to intervene in the crisis between my boss, leader and role model, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde Anifowose K1 De Ultimate and his former Lead Drummer, Ayankunle Ayanlowo, I also don’t want people who know but don’t understand the underneath to generalize Fuji Musicians relationship with our boys. There’s a clear difference between what you know and what you understand.

N B: In an ideal situation, a band has the General Manager, The Band Manager, The Artiste Manager, The Road Manager, The Stage Manager, the floor Manager and at least two Personal Assistant to the band leaders. Are they also part of the boys or management team? How do you take care of them? A musician who has instruments of his own would appoint at least an engineer and at least two packers and a motor boy? From where does he pay them? All these must be taken into consideration.

May God not forsake us 🤲💕❤️💕


Lateef Akanni Olajide Agboola
is a Fuji Musician, Journalist, Script Writer, Communication Expert, Media Consultant and Political Activist based on Osogbo, Osun State, Southwest Nigeria.

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