Orlando Julius Ekemode, a veteran highlife musician, has died. On Friday, April 15, at the age of 79, the singer passed away.
The death of the 79-year-old highlife musician was confirmed by Bimbo Esho of the Evergreen Music Company Limited.
While announcing Orlando Julius’ death, Esho wrote in her eulogy:
“Bimbo Daddy is no longer with us…
This was the message I came across when I awoke at 3 a.m. to check my WhatsApp page. Lady Latoya, Orlando Julius’ gorgeous and supportive wife, sent me a message.
At the age of 79, Orlando Julius, a native of Ijebu Ijesha, fell to death’s chilly grip and breathed his last few hours ago.
We will miss one of Nigeria’s founding founders of Afro/Highlife music, as well as a gentleman and a great saxophonist. May the soul of Daddy Orlando Julius travel safely. May God provide the entire Ekemode family the strength to bear this irreplaceable loss.”
Julius did many engagements with Okonta’s band, including opening for American trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong. He went on to play with other bands, notably Hugh Masakela’s, and open for other high-profile international musicians in the years after that. Julius has performed as the opening act for James Brown, the legendary American musician.
In 1965, he had his first hit with ‘Jagua Nana,’ and went on to tour West Africa. Julius founded the Ashiko movement and taught his musical style to others, albeit he did not hold this position for long.
He returned to Nigeria in 1984 after spending some time in the United States. He promptly began recording tunes for the CD Dance Afro-Beat, prompting him to form the Nigerian All-Stars, an 18-piece band.
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