Fatai Rolling Dollar Laid To Rest
Emotions ran high, Thursday, as the remains of legendary highlife musician, Fatai Olayiwola Olagunju a.k.a Fatai Rolling Dollar, was laid to rest at his building site at Ikorodu, Lagos.
The Fidau (Muslim prayer for the dead) was conducted earlier in the day at his Militon Estate, Oko-Oba residence, where well-wishers and friends had the final glimpse of the octogenarian musician before the body was moved to Ikorodu for internment.
The 85-year old highlife maestro died last Wednesday at Marritol Hospital, Surulere, following a brief illness.
Rolling Dollar reportedly died of complications resulting from lung cancer.
Top musicians, who were present at the Fidau include former PMAN President, Admiral Dele Abiodun, Segun Adewale, Dayo Kujore, Champion Kunle Opio, Islamic scholars, music industry titans, fans and family members.
Meanwhile, veteran musicians, Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, Prince Adekunle and others were at the deceased’s Oko-Oba Millennium Estate residence on Wednesday evening to receive the corpse from the hospital, alongside family members.
Activities marking Rolling Dollar’s rites of passage began at 1:30pm with a prayer session presided over by Muslim clerics at his residence in Militon Estate, Oko-Oba.
Speaking at the Fidau, Oba of Agege said, the occasion was a clarion call for unbelievers to be closer to their creator: “Although Fatai Rolling Dollar died at a time when his glory was already shinning. May his soul rest in peace,” he said.
Thereafter, friends and colleagues of the deceased paid him a glowing tribute. The crowd was touched by the emotional tribute paid by the likes of Ebenezer Obey, Olu of Agege and his family.
For close to 10 minutes at the graveside, the second wife of the late veteran musician, Mrs. Zainab Olagunju Ogungbe could not utter a word as she was merely shivering and crying profusely. While
the last wife, Mrs. Sherifat Olagunju muttered that “there will be no other Fatai Rolling Dollars.”
Among Rolling Dollar’s wives, Mrs. Zainab appeared to be the most touched, as she couldn’t control her tears and anguish while the funeral ceremony lasted.
According to one of the deceased’s daughter, Mrs. Titi Adeyemi Agu, the funeral rites comes up after eight days while the final burial will also be observed after 41days.
ROLLING DOLLAR THE HERO The prolific musician and composer of mega hit song, Won Kere si number wa, has been applauded in different quarters. Apart from his magic finger on the base guitar, many believe he managed to wait till a special day like June 12 to bow out heroic. A quote from Femi Salawu, a Nigerian Journalist, who plies his trade with Entertainment Express Newspaper, which he is the assistant editor, reads. “An Hero waited till an heroic day, June 12 to bow out at 85…#Fatai Rolling Dollar #Legend #NigerianHero”.
…AND HE LOVES WOMEN At his age, one would ordinarily believe his libido should have ceased, but if you are among those having that believe, you may be living in the dark, as he is said to be full of life, energetic on bed and verily, verily strong, according to one of his younger lover who spoke to this reporter a few years ago. Rolling Dollar once said, I’m still very active on bed and very strong. I prefers younger ladies to their older counterparts and subsequently he credited his undying libido to Margot-infested-concussions, which is called Agbo in Yoruba language. He was survived by three wives a German inclusive and 16 children.
AND YOYO BITTERS FAILED HIM: Before his death, he was an ambassador to herbal medicine, Yoyo bitters. When he was unveiled as the brand ambassador, research showed that the sales of the herbal concoction rose to a high level. Especially because the advertorial, pictures Yoyo bitters as what was responsible for his staying strong even at 80+. Yoyo bitters became an essential commodity and recorded huge sales, as both young and old scampered to get a bottle and have a taste of healthy living. However, that did not prevent him from answering the clarion call, when death came knocking at the age of 85.
HOW HE FINALLY DIED Don’t forget that following his return from the American trip, he headed for the hospital and had been on and off the hospital since then. He was rushed to Marritol Hospital, Sam Sonibare Street, off Lawanson Road, Surulere by his wife following some complications he suffered last night, and he finally bowed out to death at the early hours of, Wednesday, June 12, 2013.
HOW HE GOT THE NAME, ROLLING DOLLAR: He was born in Ede in 1928 to the family of Late Chief Olagunju. His music break came in 1953 when he collaborated with master guitarist, J.O. Araba and tenor sax, Ishola Willie Payne to play at the exclusive Island Club in Lagos. Their Afro Skittle Band,adopted Ghanaian palm wine music to Yoruba highlife sounds, a fusion that deeply influenced up-and-coming artists like Fela Kuti,Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey (whom he taught to play the guitar). In the early days of independence, the Afro Skittles recorded several 78-rpm vinyl songs for Philips, spurning hits like Ranka Dede and Ogba oya ya. Rolling Dollars however disappeared from the music scene for about twenty-five years before making a come-back in 2003. Often described as The Come Back King, Fatai got his famed nickname from his days in Secondary School when he had the ability of rolling silver dollars expertly. Back then, he was always called by his school mates to roll Dollars to choose sides for football teams at leisure periods and that was how the name got stuck till date.
TRIBUTES/HIS BURIAL ARRANGEMENT Kunle Tejuosho, whose label, Jazzhole Records, brought out ‘Won Kere Si Number Wa’ among other albums, confirmed his death. He said the deceased came back from America some weeks ago where he had gone for shows for about three weeks. Tejuosho in his tribute, said: “Baba was a great Musician. He lived life of a music. He was always happy to perform. May be he took too much on. “He was a good guy. He enjoyed his life. He had a second chance which he used very well. “He would be missed because he brought the past alive to the present. He re-lived the music of the 50s. He was a great music historian and a great music custodian.”
Rolling Dollar was known for his verve and dexterity on the guitar. His zest for life and energy, even in old age, was also a marvel to all who beheld him while performing. After decades of struggling to make ends meet and musical doldrums, Rolling Dollar got a new lease of life after the French Cultural Centre brought him back into public consciousness. He later got a higher lift through Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, while as Lagos State governor. The late musician was given a house in one of the low cost housing estates in New Oko Oba, Lagos. Juju music legend, Ebenezer Obey was among those trained by the late musician. As a pioneer Juju music player, Rolling Dollar clarified in an interview how juju music derived its name. “It was derived from the tambourine which is one of the key instruments used to play it. When they play it on the street they would shout ‘Ju so ke’. They would then throw the tambourine up and shake it. … shukushuku. That was how juju got its name and not from bad medicine and all that. Even though in Saro land the word was taken to mean bad medicine. But here in Lagos our juju meant music. In juju then, we had the guitar, agidigbo, samba, sekere and at times we used the bottle to give us that clave sound. In fact, white people invented the clave from our bottle sound. That is where they got the idea for it,” he said. He was born on 22 July, 1926, in Ede, Osun State.