Alhaji Ayinla Kollington needs no introduction in the Nigerian music industry. Born in 1953 in Ibadan, Oyo State, Kollington started music alongside the late Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister in 1965. In the late 1970s, General, as he is also known, refined his sound by adding bata drums and changed his band’s name to Fuji 78.
I started with weere music in 1965 at 10. My late friend, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister encouraged me to take my musical career to the next level. We were soldiers and Barrister would come all the way to Abeokuta, Ogun State to convince me. He believed we needed to quit and go back to music. He used to say ‘for how long shall we be earning 18 pounds 5?’ I was a bit reluctant because I didn’t know what might happen to us if we were caught rehearsing.
Army was very tough back then, I mean in the ’70s. Barrister started rehearsing and would often say to me: ‘Kola, I have started rehearsing; when will you start yours?’ I later gave in and the rest is history.”
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Bashiru Abinuwaye, Zaka Olayigbade and some others actually started Fuji music. Fuji music started on the Island. Myself and Barrister came up to sing Fuji after the pioneers.
That was a business rivalry and was over even before his death. We came back and did everything together. We were not the only ones who had issues at one time. Ebenezer Obey and Sunny Ade had theirs and later settled. Recently, some musicians who had issues between themselves came to me and I settled the rift.
The fight was real and not a strategy to make sales. Our fans and some journalists also contributed to our problems.
I made money from all my records. Ijo yoyo was remarkable but I was sick at that time. I also got an award as the Best Fuji Artiste of the Year. There was a particular way I arranged my cap that portrays a socialite. A socialite is also known as Alatika.
Many youths who have the opportunity to acquire university education but are taking it for granted, completely opting for music or sports, thinking fame and fortune is all there is to life only don’t know anything. I really have no regret being a musician but I regret that I don’t have university education. But thank God all my children are educated and some have even ventured into music; only that they are into hip hop. I may be privileged in another lifetime to go to university but not here on earth.
Fuji can never die in and outside Nigeria. The so-called hip pop artistes all tapped from Fuji music to make what we have today. Just recently, Pasuma played hip pop in an album and he has also collaborated with many hip hop artists. Our flag is flying. Fuji started during Ramadan and has come to stay.
Many young artistes should understand that being focused and dedicated is the only key to success. They should also be careful with women.”