Legendary Nigerian highlife musician, Orlando Julius Ekemode has died at 79.
His death was announced by the Managing Director of Evergreen Music, Bimbo Esho.
According to Esho, his wife reached out to her in the early hours of Friday about his death.
Esho wrote, ‘Bimbo, Daddy has passed On’. This was the message I stumbled on waking up at exactly 3 am to peruse my WhatsApp page. It was a message sent to me by Orlando Julius’ beautiful and supportive wife Lady Latoya.
“Orlando Julius, a native of Ijebu Ijesha succumbed to the cold hands of death and breathed his last few hours ago at the age of 79. We shall miss one of Nigeria’s fathers of Afro/Highlife Music; a gentleman and a fine Saxophonist. May daddy Orlando Julius’ soul journey well. To the entire Ekemode family, may God give you the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss.”
The saxophonist, singer, bandleader, and songwriter was born in 1943 in Ikole, Nigeria to a merchant family during British colonialism.
Julius’ first music teacher was his mother, who would sing and dance while he played the drums.
In 1957, after dropping out of school and the death of his father, he left for Ibadan to pursue music as a career.