Lagbaja‘s headline performance at a recent event has got the music lovers on social media talking, but the masked one has always been here, the audience just was not paying attention.
Saturday 28th July, was a night to remember at the Central Park Arena, Abuja, as the legendary Lagbaja and the soulful Simi took center stage to deliver a unique blend of music and flavours.
The veteran Afrobeat act was making his return to the top stage after a period of inactivity and this got everyone buzzing.
Bisade Ologunde, popularly known as Lagbaja (which is a Yoruba word that symbolizes anonymity) is a 58-year-old songwriter, saxophonist and performer, who has been on the scene for over two decades, but has not released new music since 2012, when he dropped the project, ‘200 Million Mumu’.
Music lovers in the early 2000’s will remember that era as the time the masked man reigned supreme, his Motherlan’ premises situated in the heart of Ikeja, Lagos was a religious home to lovers of good music.
With a discography of over 10 studio albums, Lagbaja’s jazz-infused Afrobeat breathed new life to the genre and served as a viable progression to what the late Abami Eda, Fela Kuti offered during his time, which made it more appealing to the younger generation.
Here are 5 songs by Lagbaja that forever seals his relevance in the history of Nigerian Music
Outside the unique sound that he offered which he terms Afri-calypso or Afrocentric music, his ‘mask’ was also one win for his brand, that stands him out from the others, but it is in his music that many found life and inspiration and here are five from the lot that are forever golden.
‘Konko Below’ (2000/Motherlan’)
The masked contemporary Highlife singer was a mainstay in the Nigerian music scene from the mid 90s to the mid 00s. Konko Below was a groovy number that highlighted Lagbaja’s deft touch of mixing several genres.
‘Far Away’ (2005/Motherlan’)
Lagbaja’s orchestra composition is a sweeping testament of his prowess as a master composer.
This loved themed song saw Lagbaja making his back-up singer, Ego, the star of the show, and the result was orgasmic and endearing to the ears.
A popular term on the streets of Lagos that translates to being stubborn was turned into a hit record by Lagbaja.
Infusing comedy to pass home a message, Gra Gra became an anthem in no time as it was often used by people to relate with one another.
Lagbaja was as socially conscious as he was comical and light-hearted.
With ‘Suuru Lere’ and backed by an animated video, Lagbaja preaches patience and tolerance in the polity, which is a trait that Nigerians still call for today.
‘Loko Iya won (Owole)’
In 1996, following the success of the Nigerian under-23 team referred to as ‘the dream team’ at the football competition of the Atlanta Olympics.
The masked man immediately released a song that grew into a monster hit nationwide and still evokes memories anytime it gets played.
The song captures the team’s victory over their opponents at each stage of the competition all the way to the finals with well crafted ‘call and response’ lines and ad-libs. Nigeria may not be the powerhouse that it once was in football but like Lagbaja sings, ‘Ask Argentina, ask Brazilia, when it comes to soccer, Nigeria loko iya won.”