Veteran highlife musician, Orlando Julius, dies at 79

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Veteran highlife musician, Orlando Julius, has died at the age of 79.

His death was announced in the early hours of Friday.

The ‘A dara, a dara’ singer’s widow, Latoya, relayed the death announcement through music promoter, Bimbo Esho.

“Bimbo, Daddy Has Passed On….This was the message I stumbled on waking up at exactly 3 am to peruse my WhatsApp page. It was a message sent to me by Orlando Julius’ beautiful and supportive wife Lady Latoya.

“Orlando Julius, a native of Ijebu Ijesha, succumbed to the cold hands of death and breathed his last few hours ago at the age of 79.

“We shall miss one of Nigeria’s fathers of Afro/Highlife Music, a gentleman and a fine Saxophonist.

“May daddy Orlando Julius’ soul journey well. To the entire Ekemode family may God give you the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss,” Bimbo Esho posted.

The ‘Jagua Nana’ singer celebrated his 60 years on stage last year.

According to his Wiki profile, Julius was born in 1943 in Ikole, Nigeria to a merchant family during British colonialism. His first musical teacher was his mother, who would sing and dance while he played drums.

He went to St. Peter’s Anglican School in Ikole and played in the school band.

In 1957, after dropping out of school and the death of his father, he left for Ibadan to pursue a career as a musician. He worked at a bakery while playing the drums or flute with juju and konkoma bands. There was no music school in the area at the time, so the premier, Obafemi Awolowo, created one in his political party’s secretariat.

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