Highlife legend Orlando Julius is dead

“We shall miss one of Nigeria’s fathers of Afro/Highlife Music, a gentleman and a fine Saxophonist."
Highlife legend Orlando Julius is dead

Veteran highlife musician, Orlando Julius Aremu Olusanya Ekemode, known professionally as Orlando Julius, has passed away.

Born in September 1943, Bimbo Esho of the Evergreen Music Company Limited confirmed the 'Ashiko' crooner's death, five months to his 79th birthday.

Esho wrote: “Bimbo Daddy has passed On…

“This was the message I stumbled on waking up at exactly 3am 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.”

A native of Ijebu Ijesha, Julius was a Nigerian saxophonist, singer, bandleader, and songwriter closely associated with Afrobeat music.

Lopa Kothari of BBC Radio called Julius a "legend" and Robin Denselow of The Guardian wrote that he is "one of the heroes of Nigerian music", a "master of the simple, stomping riff" with a significant influence on afrobeat music.

Modern Ghana considered him "the last of Nigeria's titans in the highlife music genre".

According to AllMusic, "few artists have been more crucial to the invention, development, and popularization of Afro-pop".

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