Nigerian music star, Lagbaja, is famous for concealing his identity behind masks.
His regalia is another famous signature of his. They are done in bright tropical colours, with a pleated mask around his head. Then there is his undeniable penchant for sandals.
In Yoruba, the name Lagbaja means “somebody,” “nobody,” “anybody,” and “everybody” all at the same time.
After teaching himself to play the saxophone, Lagbaja formed his first small band in Lagos in 1991.
Lagbaja’s music is difficult to categorize. It is not strictly afrobeat, but incorporates juju, jazz, and other elements. His performances are highly energetic and theatrical.
Lagbaja rose to prominence after releasing his critically acclaimed debut album, “Lagbaja,” in 1993. The album received widespread airplay across the country.
In March 1997, he opened “Motherlan,” a club in the heart of Ikeja, Lagos where he frequently performs to Lagos nightcrawlers. His Motherlan’ premises hosted weekly shows by him and a number of other acts in the early 2000s.
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Some of his notable songs include; ‘Side by Side’, ‘Simple Yes or No’, ‘Nothing for You’, ‘Me and You’ Be Enemy (We Be Family)’, ‘Africalypso’, ‘Vernacular’, ‘Suuru Lere’, ‘Konko Below’, ‘Gra Gra’, ‘Feyin E’, ‘Coolu Temper’, ‘Redemption Song’ among others.
In 2006, Lagbaja received a Channel O music award for the Best Male Video for the single track; ‘Never Far Away’.
With his co-singer Ego, whose soothing vocals would dash up impressive octaves, Lagbaja could play out the different iterations of love.
In 2007, Lagbaja lost an important component of his band, the vocalist, Ego, who left to pursue a solo career.
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Then, not quite long after, and his band, the Afriacano, more or less folded up, and the masked one disappeared from the music scene, .
Lagbaja, whose real name is Bisade Ologunde, is an Obafemi Awolowo University graduate. He began his music career as a producer before committing to the higher calling of creating music, playing the saxophone, arranging symphonies, and managing a band.
Lagbaja is now based in Manhattan, New York, USA. He released a couple of singles while there, but not a comprehensive body of work like his early albums.
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