Legendary Nigerian filmmaker, Tunde Kelani, is currently shooting an eponymous non-biological musical film based on the life and times of the late
Àpàlà musician, Ayinla Yusuf, popularly known as Ayinla Omowura.
The Àpàlà music superstar was stabbed to death on the head with a beer glass cup by his estranged manager, Bayewu, during a beer parlour brawl on May 6, 1980, at Itoko, Abeokuta. He died from the incident.
He was at the peak of his meteoric rise to stardom when he met his untimely death. He was 47.
Forty years after, his musical legacy lives on in ‘Ayinla’ which is currently being shot in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The film is set a long time ago in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Yoruba movie star, Adedimeji Lateef, is playing the music legend in the movie starring alongside Bimbo Manuel, Ade Laoye, Kunle Afolayan, and many others.
A former Nigeria football international, Segun Odegbami, who is a close friend of TK, as Mr Kelani, is fondly called, has been documenting the progress of the shoot on his social media handles.
He noted that the film is stretching Tk’s limits of improvisation in securing the tools and locations.
Odegbami also added that the movie captures the odyssey and adventures of a local musical hero and relives them in Abeokuta. Abeokuta also birthed some of the most accomplished and educated people in Nigeria’s history in virtually all sectors, he said.
“This was where Ayinla lived, loved, worked, and tragically died on the eve of his greatest triumph,” he said.
Also announcing the shoot on his official Instagram page, Kelani said the ideation or obsession which gave birth to the movie lasted more than three years and refused to die despite twists and turns including the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that the shoot coincided with two related events that were held, namely the anniversary of Tawakalitu Omowura, Ayinla’s favourite wife who passed on six years ago, and the 97th birthday celebration of Adewoke Onilu-Ola, Ayinla Omowura’s master drummer.
He said the movie answers questions like, ‘‘Who is Ayinla Omowura? Why is his music still relevant after his tragic death forty years ago?
What is the root that nurtured his craft and music? Incidentally, he grew up in the beautiful town of Abeokuta, economic and cultural power in the western region of Nigeria’’.
Ayinla the maestro
Ayinla’s first album ‘HNLX 5068’ released on July 20, 1971, was a commercial success having sold over 50,000 copies.
He was an idol to the masses, public transport drivers, traders, and even the market women.
All of his 20 albums, released under the EMI Nigeria imprint, sold a minimum of 50,000 copies on the first day of release.
He recorded two albums and “AWA KISE OLODE WON” simultaneously in 1980, unfortunately only the former was released. Another, “25+40,” was released posthumously in 1981.
He was married to many wives who bore him children.
‘Ayinla’ is Kelani’s latest movie since his 2015 blockbuster, ‘Dazzling Mirage’.