Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister

One of Nigeria's best-known singer/songwriters, Chief Doctor Sikiru Ayinde Barrister(born: Sikiru Ayinde) has played an essential role in the evolution of the music of his homeland. The leader of a 25-piece band, the Supreme Fuji Commanders, and a smaller group, the Africa Musical International Ambassadors, Barrister has continued to be one of the leading purveyors of fuji, an exciting, amplified dance music combining juju, apala, and traditional Yoruban blues that he introduced in the late-'70s. Barrister has been singing most of his life. By the age of ten, he had mastered a complex, Yoruban vocal style that was traditionally performed during the holy month of Ramadan. Although he briefly attended a Muslim school, Yaba Polytechnic, in 1961, financial difficulties prevented him from continuing. Leaving school, he found employment as a stenographer. During the Civil War that swept through Nigeria between 1967 and 1970, he served in the Army. Signed by the Nigeria-based Africa Songs, Ltd. label, Barrister recorded many groundbreaking singles during the 1970s and '80s. With his heartfelt vocals set to a rhythmic mix of talking drums, claves, bells, shekere, drum set, and Hawaiian-style guitar, he laid the foundation for fuji, which he named after Mt. Fuji, the Japanese mountain of love. The style has been described as "juju without the guitars" and a "percussion conversation." The website www.rootsandrhythm.com described it as a "high speed assault by 12 wild percussionists." Barrister renamed the musical style "Fuji garbage" in 2000. ~ Craig Harris

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