After a two years silence, the King of Fuji, Wasiu Ayinde Anifowoshe has broken his silence.
And not just for the fun of it, but with essential things on his mind and big projects to execute.
Let’s open a small window into the king’s thoughts and new initiatives, before a journey into the interesting interaction with the evergreen personality.
He is set to embark on a 3 continents tour. He has concluded plans to stage another major project ‘Festival of Songs’.
He has also incorporated a play to ensure his genre of music, along with other indigenous ones, attain improved heights of respect and acceptance without loss of substance.
Attired in an all with traditional apparel- Guinea Material Buba and Sokoto – for the meet, the torch light of Fuji and game changer opened the conversation after courtesies with
…’ welcome to k1 unusual, a new K-1 de ultimate…a new K-1 because all the things we will be doing now will be unlike before…we will do them in unusual ways…it is the same K1 de ultimate doing unusual things.’
And he went on to give better definition with details of the immediate project at hand, his musical world tour. ‘ we are going on a world tour..I have gone on a lot of musical tours before now, but what is different about this one?..it is a world tour. We are going to three continents, from Asia, Europe and then America.’
He gave a slight pause, as if to gather his thoughts, then continued ‘ the tour will start on the on 6th of August’ he said and quickly corrected in the same breath ‘we will actually leave on the 6th of August, straight to the United States. We will first do United States from 14th to 19th, starting with a cruise from miami in America to mexico. Then we stop at bahamas and return via a couple of islands engagements..we will return to Miami on the 19th. And after that we return home (Nigeria) for a performance already lined on the 20th and return to Canada on the 26 and from there on to Europe and later return to England on the 18th of September and do performances at England, France and Germany and other places..and after that, return to the United States and then on to Malaysia and then Dubai and South Africa in the month of October and then return to America and from there return home (Nigeria) in the Month of November to a massive performance on the 20th and 21st at the Eko Hotel..we tag that a ‘Night With K1 Unusual’..and K1 Unusual is the title of our movements (round the world)’ he rounded off.
Then picked up again before taking question ‘ not only that, we have plans to open up the face of a lot of other things.
All the programme is being conducted by Fuji Repete Nigeria Limited in partnership with a lot of other people…we consulted with a lot of people and they have agreed to partner with us. We have had a lot of acceptance, Hip T.V and others…there is a big performance coming up between 30th and 31st of December that will parade quite a number of artist and some foreign artistes, we are also using that to unfold a yearly performance tagged ‘festival of songs’..I have the right for the ‘festival of songs’. he enthused paused and put things in proper context.
‘Fuji Repete actually own the right to festival of songs and I own Fuju Repete Nigeria Limited. It is my company.’ He confirmed.
A slight interruption with the entry of a third party briefly put a stop to his talk- then he continued his hindsights with the objectives of the project ‘ we want to develop not only indigenous music, but music in general and based on our exposure and wide range of consultancy, we want to what is up to standard.
‘A project that will protect indigenous music…a lot of the upcoming artiste and rave musician are doing very well but we are loosing grip with indigenous music, the substance of our brand of music.
‘Most of the songs of they produce are influenced by imported culture and this is making us to the substance contained in indigenous music in the name of advancement’ he proclaimed with a sober expression. Wasiu Ayide K1
For clearer understanding of his summation, the Fuji music personified provided specific samples ‘ for example if you ask what kind of music I play, I tell you I play ‘African Classical’. What that means is that I have infused modern elements in my music in a way that strikes a balance between the old and the new. I have constantly introduced different modern touches to Fuji to uplift but I do that without loosing the core components, the substance that is Fuji.
‘That is what we want to do with other genres as well, Nigeria is blessed with diverse culture…we want music to be played in such a way that Kalangu music remains relevant to the northern people, a way that will protect the diverse culture that nigeria is blessed with’ he elaborated with infected excitement resulting a slight raise of voice tenor.
The fuji king continued to unveil grander objectives of K-1 unusual with increased excitement ‘ I want to see a Davido see value, something unique in Apala music to incorporate into his own. I want to see Olamide infuse Fuji music, music same way Olu maintain did when he started (and was a major hit)…not just duet and collabo (collaborations). We want help indigenous music to grow, not to die…not just only Fuji music but African genre in general’ declared the King.
Despite his obvious excitement with his topic, the Fuji lord was quite composed.
He maintained ‘royalty kind of posture’, except of course for the slight increase in voice volume. And he reverted to ‘default’ level with his next pronouncement..
‘There are only two things that bring us together as a people..Sports, especially football and music. The third is politics, but that creates enmity and violence.
Wasiu Ayinde K1 Our aim is to develop music in such a way that it will protect the components that still keep us together’ he delivered and waited for questions.
‘Does Fuji Repete intend to serve as a Recording Company helping to show case skills and help discover talents as well?’ Was the first enquiry the King had to contend
He provided better education on the operations of the enterprise with his response ‘ part of the aim of Fuji Repete is to discover talent. That was what I benefited from (talent hunt) during the Ajiwere Ajisari. What is called project fame today was then known as ‘Ramblers’. Ramblers musical exhibition, it was during the process (Fuji greats ) Barrister and Kollington were discovered then, when Coca Cola where the brain behind musical events. The project fame concept has been on and off for the past 50yrs.
‘I was part of the talent hunt from the junior to the intermediate and senior category back then..I clinched prizes for all the three categories then..what we want to do now is to improve on it.
‘So yes, Fuji Repete will do talent hunts, and Festival of Songs will serve as a forum to showcase what we have. Let’s the world see what we have, let the know about Kalangu, what brand of music they have in Tivi land..we want them to see the kind of music as espoused by the late Comfort Omoge that made the Ikale people feel proud of their music, Iya Aladuke that came from Ilorin…those are the kind of things we want to showcase and we are moving towards that’ he ended to catch his breath..the continued
‘About Record Label deals, the main thing is that Record Labels and recording deals have become affected with all this downloading syndrome. But we are exploring ways to overcome the challenge’ he summed up his reply for the next question.
‘What kind of tour are you looking at? How big are the individual engagements? The capacity venue?’ Were the triple probe thrown at him
‘Tours and capacity are dependent on budget. Your budget determines how big the performances are. And this is what is taking into consideration when permits are issued by foreign governments’ he responded and continued ‘ there are different kinds of permits, we have B1, H1, O1 and others.
‘What we have is 0 classification. And a simple google search check will reveal it stands for A- class performance. And it is an uncommon feat these days. Some don’t even know it.
‘Let me give you an example, Apollo theatre in America. Many artistes are on waiting list of 3yrs or so to perform there. Any artiste that perform at Madison is like having a Million dollar performing right. Just like it is like performing at main hall Royal Festival in England, it is like having a five hundred thousand pounds performing rights or more. I have performed at the buzzer room of the Royal Festival several times. And my performance had necessitated opening the main hall.
‘What we are looking at now is Apollo Hall and Madison Square Garden..That is what we are looking at by the grace of God’ he shared his expectations.
And he got another barrage of questions as his profit.
‘Festival of songs, is it strictly a Fuji Music Project and what ways are other stakeholders involved? Or is it just wholly a Fuji Repete? And secondly, K-1 Unusual, just like Kwam 1 and K-1 de ultimate, are we looking at another round of re branding of sort’
He replied emphatically ‘K1 De Ultimately is a brand. And I am not changing the name. I am not changing name’ .
And he continued ‘ we just tagged what we will be doing now as K1 unusual, not a name change. And let me quickly add that because my company is called Fuji Repete Nigeria limited doesn’t mean it is a Fuji affair. You will be surprise to see artiste you don’t expect to come board and make appearances at Festival of Song owned by Fuji Repete Nigeria Limited’ he made what was a short answer to the multiple probe.
‘Do you have corporate partners,
Sponsors for this world tour? And what is the budget like?’ were the next questions the king of Fuji had to contend with.
A light smile, quick side talks and he replied ‘ We have been in this business for over 40yrs and 30 out of it I have been on the international stage. And over the years I have build a network of influence and connection that now stand be in good stead. National Oil have severally identified with me. Benson and Hedges when they were coming up, at a point they had to bring me back from international engagement to be a part of their show..over the years I have done all that and I realised if you have a good product, people will identify with you.
‘Where is the fund coming from?’ He posed rhetorically and continued The fund is coming from people, like minds.
‘People that want to do things in the direction we face have joined us..earlier I mentioned Hip T.V, others will be unveiled as we move on…but what I know is that, any concert or event organiser that plan something for November should brace up. We are going to give them a run for their money,we will shake the nation to it’s foundation musically’ he rounded off his answer confidently.
‘I don’t think you are building a legacy with this Fuji Repete thing as regards Fuji, you are the barometer with which Fuji music is measured at present, what is the future of Fuji music after you are gone, there appear to be no succession plan at present?’ The King of fuji music suffered unexpected hard tackle.
He readjusted his sitting position, turned down attempt for additional question to be infused in order to do justice to the one at hand, the he began his answer
‘A legacy is seemingly something that is referred after you are gone, something to be known for after all said and done.
‘But I believe you don’t have to wait for that end point to have a legacy…you can start having it as you go..I don’t want my legacy to be who will play my kind of fuji, who will play my style.
‘All I have in my head is Fuji’ and he spelt it for emphasis ‘F U J I’ and pronounced it ‘FUJI!’ then continued ‘by standing of seniority when I started out I have two people before me, Alhaji Ayinde Barrister and Alhaji Ayinla Kollighton…I am the third in that line and the very first of the new generation of musician
‘ And it has been those two lineages right from time. The lineage of Barrister, Kollinghton and Wasiu and the lineage of Wasiu and the others…and to the glory of God, I have been able to carry the two sides along.
‘ To the glory of God I am the founder and convener of the first Fuji musician parley in order to discuss the future of Fuji music, I initiated the establishment of Fuji Musician Association of Nigeria and not only that ‘ I registered, and wrote the constitution with legal support from lawyers in my home’ he said, amended ‘in my office inside my home’ and carried on ‘ to fashion a better future for our genre of music called Fuji, even when Sikiru Ayinde Barrister my late boss was alive’ he exclaimed. Paused a bit and continued with his provision of insight ‘ I sought his permission to form a virile association, a working one that will ensure fuji never goes into extinction.’ He made another paused looked round and declared ‘that word extinction will never be associated with Fuji, I guarantee you that’ and went on ‘ but you see, Yoruba people have manners of talking and have hierachy in doing things.
‘Blessed are those that respect seniority and accord respect where it is due…anybody that doesn’t is heaping a curse on himself. But let’s not talk about that…let’s focus on my position and responsibility rested on it.
‘ I have always fight for it..what the future of me and what I represent will be…even when others where sleeping, I fought for it. And that is why I am always at the forefront of it.
‘Nobody has ever convened the meetings of Fuji musicians like I do, Nobody has ever expended funds on the cause of Fuji musicians like I do, Nobody has ever thought of the advancement of Fuji music like I do, in this country or beyond.
‘Nobody has ever tolerated as much as I do…the truth of the matter is, we have many rich people in this country..those that worked for their, laboured hard to achieve greatness know themselves
‘Those that cut corners to find themselves at the top know themselves
‘Underneath water fishes have headship, in the forest animals have headship…those are the things that hold an institution, not Fuji music as brand.
‘ What will go into extinction are behaviours and all those nonsense that doesn’t not add value to it…not fuji music as brand’ he said with passion.
Continuing with increased vigor the head of Fuji asserted ‘Legacy I have done that..if I have not done that I won’t throw my door open for all comers to come in…if I haven’t I won’t I won’t do that.
‘The truth of the matter is how people you are clamouring legacy for utilise the opportunity.
‘If they use it fine, if they don’t …barrister is gone today, but before he left- he did something that still strikes our mind today, when he was building of his house he named it Fuji chambers..he is died and Fuji chambers is still there, what matters is how the people he left behind utilise Fuji chamber!’ He pronounced.
Without missing a beat he continued ‘ I am focused, the future of Fuji music is assured. In all that I do, always promote Fuji music..at every point, and at every corner…there is a difference between following the trend to advance a cause and lossing focus…for example getting Olamide to do State Of The Nation was a good thing.
‘We were lending voice to what is happening in our society. I did one with 9ice too, about maternal mortality…it was very nice and before then, I did with blacky…me and blacky we talked about legacy- and it was a legacy for kwam 1 to do that with blacky as at that time, over twenty seven years ago!
‘ What baba victor Olaiya and Tuface did is also a legacy!..by the special grace of God, when the baton is raised to whoever the next person would be, it would be more advance than this
‘But I am not lossing any sleep about it…Fuji music can never go into extinction. There are lots of people playing music that we don’t even know about.. And not even heard about. They might be handicap to promote themselves like we do, what we are doing is just to showcase it to a whole lot of people..
‘Haruna Ishola died and his brand of music, Apala is still on, same for Yusuf Olatunji and others too…what we are saying is that they should keep at it, do better and not lose focus over monetary gains!…I tell my constituency you better be focus to attain greatest..that is the legacy, to impact on people as you live’ he reiterated…