Orlando Julius Ekemode

Orlando Julius Aremu Olusanya Ekemode is fondly known as OJ by his admirers and friends. He is a true titan of Nigeria’s highlife music genre, which he has transformed to Afro-soul. Ekemode, an Osun State indigene from Ijebujesha, was born to a merchant family in Ikole-Ekiti. Ekemode’s father traded first in Abeokuta, before he moved to Ikole Ekiti where a piece was granted by the traditional ruler. He was encouraged to settle there. Orlando is the fourth child in the family. He is also the younger brother of Professor Gabriel Ekemode of University of Ife, Ile-Ife. As a student at St. Peter’s Anglican school, Ikole Ekiti, he began his journey into music. He played the flute and drums for both the school band and a local band called Mambo Dance Band as a young boy. He left Ikole Ekiti in 1957 after completing school and his father’s death in the same year to search for a job in Ibadan, the capital of the Western Region. He worked as a baker assistant while trying to pursue his musical career. While he was able to play under J. Oyeshiku, Cotey Negoy of Ghana, and Julius Araba at the time, his true desire was to be a saxophonist. In keeping with the traditions of the time, Ademola Haastrup, aka. Jazz Romero), a band that featured one of the most brilliant hornsmen in history. Orlando was offered a job playing trap drums in Romero’s band, Action Group. Orlando Julius’ success as a musician is largely due to his Ibadan experience. He still treasures the Action Group Band’s early days. He was impressed by the band’s organizational skills, and he considered it the best-equipped (musical instrument) band the country had. It also provided an opportunity for young musicians to practice their skills and grow as professionals. from http://www.modernghana.com

Leave a Comment