By Folorunso Fatai Adisa
Singing and storytelling are a perfect mix. A good singer might be a good storyteller. And storytellers are, arguably, good historians too. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister encapsulated all I had mentioned. He turned the beautiful story of Ṣooreṣá, the Do-gooder in one of JF Odunjọ’s elementary Yoruba books, into a song.
Sikiru Ayinde Barrister (SAB) sang the didactic story of the hunter and the snake. The hunter saved the snake from a predator by ingesting the snake. When the predator left and the hunter was expecting the snake to come out, the snake remarked that he loved the hunter’s liver and would love to eat it.
In effect, the hunter felt sad and began to weep. While he was weeping, “Eiye Akala” (ground hornbill) passed by and asked the hunter what the problem was. The hunter recounted his ordeal and “Akala” requested that the snake come out and state its side of the story:
“Àkàlà ní k’éjò jáde mo ṣe b’óju lọ̀rọ̀ wa?
Ejò jáde kò mí lójú
Wá ró ‘jọ ẹnu ẹ, ká gbọ́ bó ṣe ri
Ṣẹ rí bó ṣe jáde l’Akala bá gba lọ́rùn mu
Tó fà á yọ kúrò ní ‘kún Aṣoore…”
Immediately the snake showed its face, Akala gripped its neck and extracted the snake from the hunter’s belly.
In a nutshell, Barrister counseled that being kind may be frustrating. However, it is rewarding. He melodiously narrated this story alongside a combination of gripping beats.
What motivated me to write this, this noon, was how he took us down memory lane by praise-singing one of the most impressive technological feats achieved in the aviation industry: the Concorde Aircraft. SAB sang: ” Ninu gbogbo commercial aircraft t’on na ilu oyinbo, Concorde air lo yara ju gbogbo won lo. T’oba gbera, lati London lo s’America, eyi t’aawon toku , koda 747, t’an fi’n lo wakati meje si wakati mejo, Concorde Aircraft three hours twenty minutes l’o fi’n rin, three hours twenty minutes l’o fi’n rin o, wakati meta at’ogun isejuuu”. The Concorde was the fastest supersonic commercial airplane in aviation history. What a superbly supersonic aircraft?!
Concorde was retired from service in October 2003 after British Airways and Air France blamed a downturn in demand, reduced ticket sales and increasing maintenance costs.
SAB sang and told us about the magnificence and speed of that aircraft with his sonorous voice caressing the ears and dazzling the mind like a blade to the velvet. Informing, tuneful and melodious. With these examples I have cited, you would agree with me that Sikiru Ayinde Barrister was a songbird, story teller and historian.
May God continue to grant the Fujistar a beautiful repose.
Barrister was a legend!