July 19, 2024

ERIN WO!!: The folk music grandmaster bids the world goodbye

  • February 5, 2024
  • 2 min read
ERIN WO!!: The folk music grandmaster bids the world goodbye

By Bimbo Esho

ARMED with an expressive face, baritone voice and contagious smile, Pa Jimi Solanke was one of Africa’s most accomplished performing artistes. He was a man of different parts: a musician, poet, thespian, educationist, producer, visual artist, cultural ambassador, etc. One can’t take away baba’s gentle mien, humility and his omoluabi trait, which many of us have imbibed today.

As the news of his death broke and filtered out today, it clearly showed again the lives Baba Agba, as he’s sometimes called, has touched in his own little way. As a child I have fond memories of the role he played in my formative years while watching his Storyland series on NTA. I Also remembered one of his early years’ movie titled For Better for Worse, which featured him, Aunty Taiwo Ajai-Lycett and Pa Tunji Oyelana. And how can I forget his evergreen folk songs like Ojoje, Baba Agba, Osupa, Bare Ni Joye, Bi a Ba Jeko, Oil Boom Palava, Omiyale, etc

For those of us who understand what it means to lose an icon in our society, Pa Solanke’s death can be likened to a whole Museum of Art and Music having been set ablaze!

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Pa Jimi Solanke

My best moment with him was what I will call a ‘Last Super’ and this was in 2020 when he clocked 80 years. Together, our company Evergreen Musical Company and Ogun State Government, under the leadership of Prince (Dr.) Dapo Abiodun, decided to give him a State Banquet Celebration to appreciate baba’s contributions to the promotion of arts and culture. The event, which had in attendance most top government functionaries and friends of baba, remains till date an unforgettable moment.

Baba, who hails from Ipara in Ogun State, was 81 years upon his passing. He is survived by his pretty wife Mrs. Toyin Solanke, children and grandchildren. I join millions around the world to celebrate this great man and pray that he finds peace at the bosom of his creator.

Adieu, Pa Jimi Solanke!

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