O le ku, the so much publicized musical concert of two Nigerian music legends –Chief or is it Evangelist Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Ade, eventually took place on Sunday, May 27, 2012, at Harbour Point, off Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.
WHERE WERE YOU WHEN HISTORY WAS BEING MADE – My boss, Mr. Kunle Bakare, in his numerous workshops and seminars for editorial staffers usually say there are certain events you must not miss as a reporter. According to him, if you miss such events it will be asked of you by your editor or posterity that where were you when history was being made. Such was the O le ku concert. No entertainment reporter or magazine that is worth the name on its cover should miss the concert.
This is because virtually all the entertainment magazines and reporters of today were not around in 1973 when the two great musicians first played together.
The two icons may not play together again. So, it was therefore a historical concert that must not be missed by any entertainment magazine or reporter.
We are glad that your soar-away magazine, the magazine to beat and copy, ENCOMIUM Weekly was at this epoch making concert live and direct and brings you the gists of happenstances at the concert.
THOSE BEHIND THE CONCERT – WTS Broadcast Services led by Otunba Deji Osibogun was behind the organization of the historical concert. The organizers used the concert to mark the 70th birthday of Ebenezer Obey and 50 years on stage of King Sunny Ade.
THE RED CARPET – The organizers certainly are stickler to time. The red carpet commenced at exactly 2.00 p.m as scheduled and lasted till 4.00 p.m when Evangelist Ebenezer Obey mounted the stage.
THE STAGE AND THE LIGHTING EFFECTS – The stage and lights was provided by Kiss Events Managers Limited led by Mr. Bayo Odusami a.k.a Howie Tee. The stage was a very big one spacious enough to accommodate the bands of Evangelist Ebenezer Obey and that of King Sunny Ade.
9ICE AND WIZKID MISSING IN ACTION – Abolore Akande a.k.a 9ice and Ibrahim Dayo Balogun a.k.a Wizkid, were the two hip-hop artists that were billed to spark off the concert before the two great musicians come on stage. But they were conspicuously missing. Wizkid is obviously on a musical tour in the United Kingdom while the absence of 9ice was not explained.
WHEN OBEY MOUNTED THE STAGE – Evangelist Ebenezer Obey was the first to mount the stage. He came on stage at exactly 4.00 p.m. For the one hour he was on stage, he showed that despite leaving secular music to work in the Lord’s vineyard, he has not lost his melodious voice nor has he forgotten his philosophical miliki songs. Sure he brought a feeling of nostalgia to many going by the reactions to many of his old tunes. Alhaji Alao Arisekola and Oloye Lekan Alabi were among the dignitaries who couldn’t resist the temptation to sing along with the miliki king as he dished out some of his evergreen songs.
One snag to Evangelist Ebenezer Obey’s performance was his immobility.
WHEN KSA CAME ON STAGE – King Sunny Ade came on stage in grand style. He was dressed in a black shirt and white trousers which made him look several years younger than his 65 years of age. Aside churning out some of his popular old tunes to the delight of the highbrow guests which included Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, his stagecraft was something else. Not a few were captivated by his agility despite his age.
WHEN FATAI ROLLING DOLLAR CAME ON STAGE – Pa Fatai Rolling Dollar was also at the concert as a guest performer. For those who did not know, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey had his tutelage under the grand old man. The octogenarian told the audience how in the good old days when Evangelist Obey was with him, he nicknamed him pastor. They sang together Fatai Rolling Dollar’s popular song, Won kere si number wa. Surprisingly, FRD was more sure-footed on the dance floor than Evangelist Obey.
BABA SALA TOO WAS THERE – Going by the hype given to the O le ku concert, one would have thought that Apostle Moses Olaiya Adejumo a.k.a Baba Sala, would be the compere of the concert. The Baba Sala we saw at the concert was certainly not in good frame of mind to compere such a historical event. When he was eventually brought to the stage after much delay, he was certainly not looking too well to talk much not to talk of handling the microphone as the compere. He was on his seat all through and didn’t utter a word until his feeble prayer for King Sunny Ade.
For those who did not know, King Sunny Ade had his tutelage as a musician and entertainer under the watchful eyes of Baba Sala.
DONATION TO CHARITY – The concert we were told by the organizer was to mark Obey’s 70th birthday and Sunny’s 50 years on stage. To this end, money was raised for their charity. Gbenga Adeyinka subtly told dignitaries at the event to donate to charity by selecting any of their favourite tracks of the two music icons which they will play for them for few minutes. The minimum to be paid for each track was N500,000. Mr. Demola Seriki opened the floor on behalf of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu when he asked Evangelist Ebenezer Obey to play Ore mi ye se pele pele for N500,000 and King Sunny Ade to play E kilo f’omo ode, also for N500,000.
Otunba Gbenga Daniel donated N500,000 each for Obey to play Mukulu muke and Sunny Ade to play Suku suku bamu bamu. Oba Akinruntan donated N1 million each to the charity of the two icons to play any track of their choice for him. Lagos State governor donated N500,000 each for Obey to play Board Members and Sunny Ade to play Merciful God. Chiief Foluso Adeagbo donated N500,000 each for Obey to play Aimasiko and Sunny to play Masowo Majere. Both musicians later played their different version of the track Aimasiko.
THE DUET – The duet between Ebenezer Obey and Sunny Ade certainly showed that the two were very much familiar with each other’s songs. King Sunny Ade also used the occasion to prove his dexterity in controlling the two bands at the same time as they switched from one band to the other.
THE TRIO – Evangelist Ebenezer Obey’s music mentor and master, Pa Fatai Rolling Dollar, later joined the two icons on stage. The highlight of the trio on stage were the banters over FRD fathering children at his age. Sunny started it all and FRD responded that he was doing it for God. Obey responded that maybe when FRD becomes a born-again like him and Sunny, he will stop procreating. FRD said he will soon join them in evangelism and the title of his next song will be Won kere si Jesu wa.
- TOLANI ABATTI
This story was first published in Encomium Weekly edition of Tuesday, June 5, 2012