Taiwo Ajai-Lycett: A tribute to  Orlando Julius  Ekemode

Orlando Julius Ekemode and wife Latoya Ekemode

It is most heartbreaking to have to accept that the gentleman musician, the musical omoluabi, the incomparable Orlando Julius Ekemode of the sexy eji and eleyinju ege, recently sadly passed and now lies resting among our other cultural greats.

Orlando Julius was, without doubt, the ever-creative leader with a 60-year career that has resoundingly established and stamped him indelibly, and essentially, in our hearts with such evergreens as ‘Jagua Nana’ and ‘Ololufemi’ amongst others, and to the history of contemporary African, and Nigerian music and culture.

The jury is still out on whether OJ’s contribution to the development of Afrobeat, undeniable and unforgettable though it is, can really receive the truly fitting recognition it truly deserves. It’s safe to say we can leave that for history to judge.

His music will remain evergreen. He has ensured his place in the annals of cultural life forever.

Rest in perfect peace, Orlando Julius. Sun re o!

There was no way I could possibly have written this tribute to OJ without Aduke, his wife, featuring massively in it. His sad sudden departure is even more devastating when I consider Aduke – arabirin wa tio wa f’ara mo wa – a sister from another mother, an exceptional spouse, earth mother and soul mate. My heart goes out to her.

The husband and wife always looked to me such a poster-perfect couple of true love – a glowingly visible example of dedication and commitment to an ideal – the epitome of romantic love, rarely seen around these parts.

Another immortal, Miles Davis, aptly said, “For me, music and life are all about style.” They had an understated undeniable romantic swag. I melted with warm admiration for the two lovebirds. Long live Love.

So, Olori Ekemode, aya mi dada, iya wa, the Elemental Aduke Ade. Pele, Iyawo mi atata. Ololufe mi. Saragiri, s’ogbo. Eledumare aa duro ti e gidigba.

Be strong, like the iroko tree that you’d always been behind him. Remain strong, my Love. You’re the stuff romantic love stories are made of. Your total commitment to your husband, our brother, was extraordinary, exemplary and legendary. And as a woman, I ‘see’ you! I recognise you. And I’m very proud of you.

Grieve for him, by all means, please do. Wail, weep for your lost Love. But, know that the storm will pass, and that, each day the sun will always shine, regardless.

So, my darling, get ready to pick up the gauntlet. But know that your dead didn’t die. OJ’s blood flows, still, in your veins. I’m certain you feel him, still.

Remember that a precious soul like OJ’s doesn’t ‘die’. Orlando Julius is immortal, even as he has transitioned. Courage, Ololufemi.

Dame Taiwo Ajai Lycett, OON, FSONTA, FU3A