Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Five Highlife Songs By Nigeria's Musician/Vocalist Fatai Rolling Dollar

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases five songs by Nigerian Highlife icon Fatai Rolling Dollar. Information about Fatai Rolling Dollar is included in this post. Information about Highlife music is also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Fatai Rolling Dollar for his musical legacy and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

Unfortunately, I haven't found any lyrics for these songs online. Lyrics and/or any information about these songs-including the English translation of these titles that aren't in English- would be greatly appreciated.

"Highlife is a music genre that originated in Ghana at the turn of the 20th century and incorporated the traditional harmonic 9th, as well as melodic and the main rhythmic structures in traditional Akan music, and married them with Western instruments. Highlife was associated with the local African aristocracy during the colonial period. By 1930s, Highlife spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gambia and Nigeria via Ghanaian workers, amongst other West African countries, where the music is now very popular.

Highlife is characterised by jazzy horns and multiple guitars which lead the band. Recently it has acquired an uptempo, synth-driven sound (see Daddy Lumba). Igbo highlife and Joromi are subgenres.[1][2][3]

This arpeggiated highlife guitar part is modeled after an Afro-Cuban guajeo.[4] The pattern of attack-points is nearly identical to the 3-2 clave motif guajeo as shown below. The bell pattern known in Cuba as clave is indigenous to Ghana and Nigeria, and is used in highlife.[5]"...

Read the summary statements that are given for the videos given as Example #4 and Example #5 below.

These videos are presented in chronological order based on their publishing date on YouTube with the oldest published video presented first.

Example #1: Fatai Rolling Dollar - Allah Na Tu Ba

Vincent Schakel, Uploaded on Feb 29, 2008

Nice Nigerian dance music! And also this song has been recorded in the Whispering Palms location when we were there for a few days.
Selected comments from this example's discussion thread:
"Do u guys actually know that Fatayi Rolling Dollar trained Ebenezer Obey?Obey was his band boy..true u also know that..when Felas house was burnt down..Rolling Dollar lived next house to Fela..the fire spread to his house burnt all his instruments down&for the next 20 odd yrs he lived in a room&worked as a security GAURD!..THAT IS TRULY SAD..NAIJA WE HAIL THEE,TERRIBLE"

"Respect to the Elders. Musicians never Grow too Old."

"This song is one of the most anthologized in Nigerian music, often used across different genres. But I didn't know that it was originally composed by Fatai Rolling Dollar until just a couple of months ago. Sunny Ade seemed especially addicted to it, and used it in more than one album; my favourite was a live play performance in which he was on it for almost 20 minutes, mustering the kind of discipline that is often absent in Sunny's live performances. What's the song saying? It's in Hausa."

"Outreachat.... You seem to know you stuff in Nigerian music.... You are very right, even Orlando Owoh has a track of the same song and his rendition is one of the excellent ones i've heard...."

"Dude!!! I am very Impressed by th efforts of Fatai Rolling Dollar. Its truly awesome. Just to think he is over 70yrs old and still able to fashion a song out of a language he doesn't speak. It reminds me of Funmi Adams back in the 90's. God Bless Nigeria. Awesome!!!"

"Hi Im hausa nigeria, he is an icon of Nigerian highlife music but he's Yoruba, its like a Frenchman singing in Englsh so his accent is far from perfect, but its a lovely simple song -God I repent from playing (chasing women)!"

Example #2: Fatai Rolling Dollar - Sisi Jaiye Jaiye / Saworo (Audio)

planetolusola, Uploaded on Aug 7, 2010

60's Highlife classic from the Agidigbo father.
From the CD "Papa Rise Again"

Example #3: Fatai Rolling Dollar - She Go Run Away (Audio)

DJVince Gbenga, Published on Feb 20, 2013

Fatai Rolling Dollar - Album "Returns"


Wintv 247, Published on Mar 9, 2013

The Fatai Rolling Dollar legend sounds a genuine semblance to the Ibrahim Ferrer story. Born on the 22nd July, 1928 in Lagos, prince of a royal family, Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju is originally from Ede, a Yoruba town of south western Nigeria lying on the Osun, the river famously linked to Yemoja, the river goddess. He attended schools in Lagos and was later to move to Ede at the age of sixteen, on the death of his father. Showing a rebellious streak at an early age, he allowed himself to be drawn towards music.

In 1957 he formed an eight-piece band called Fatai Rolling Dollar and his African Rhythm Band, and they recorded numerous seven-inch singles for Phillips West Africa Records. In this line-up was a young budding star, Ebenezer Obey, who played Maracas in the band. They had some hits with Phillips, then decamped to Jofabro/EMI where they recorded over one hundred and fifty singles and had many hits for the company including "Sisi Jaiye Jaiye" and "Won Bumi".

Eventually Ebenezer left with six members of the band to form his own group with its own fresh style, adding more instruments including talking drums and slide guitar. Fatai thereafter reformed and renamed the band Fatai Rolling Dollar and his New Millennium Band.

In the late sixties, a sweeping change was going through the Nigerian music scene. A new corps of Nigerian musicians appeared on the scene, in particular Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Ade, who had both benefited from Fatai's musical inspiration. They took the country by storm as the fortune of musicians like Fatai Rolling Dollar dwindled.

In order to keep afloat in the music business, Fatai decided to start a musical equipment rental service. Obey, on his return from touring abroad, actually helped Fatai by giving him some musical equipment to add to his own stock. Fatai's house was a few doors down from the Kalakuta Republic (a compound) at Moshalashi, owned by the young, up and coming Nigerian superstar, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

Fela's Kalakuta Republic was situated in the Moshalashi suburb and his celebrated nightclub, The Shrine, also situated in this area at the Empire Hotel. The infamous invasion of the surrounding area of Kalakuta Republic and the consequent inferno that ravaged the lot had devastating consequences for Fatai whose means of livelihood was largely destroyed. Whatever could be savaged of the equipment also ended up in the hands of looters who took advantage of the situation.

With his livelihood in ruins, Fatai moved a few miles away to Mushin, with his wife and five children.

WIN, an acronym for "What Is New" is a comprehensive multimedia services package for maximum news distribution across several media channels via WIN TV, exclusively dedicated for New Media production and Broadcating
Here are two comments from this example's discussion thread:
Adekunle Onifade
"R I P Baba Fatai Rolling dollars, May Godc bless your path and grant your great soul sweet repose, Amen"
"Baba" is Yoruba for "father". In the context of these comments, "Baba" is a title of respect and veneration for an elder.

Olalekan Ibrahim
"Rest in peace baba rolling dollars,by every standard you're a legend."

Example #5: Fatai Rolling Dollar Wan Kere Si Nomba Wa

Wintv 247, Published on Sep 6, 2013

Prince Olayiwola Fatai Olagungu, known as Fatai Rolling Dollar (22 July 1927 -- 12 June 2013) was a Nigerian musician, described by the BBC as a "nationally celebrated performer."[1] He died on 12 June 2013, at the age of 85 or 87, and was praised by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.[1][2][3]

He started his musical career in 1953 and mentored a number of musicians including Ebenezer Obey and the late Orlando Owoh, among others. He was known for his dexterity at playing the guitar, Rolling Dollar's last major hit was Won Kere Si Number Wa.

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