It took his parents a few years to notice traces of musical robustness in him after his birth 80 years ago (today).
Ebenezer Olasupo Fabiyi however, had to wait 16 years to start what has turned out to be a most illustrious career.
He toiled with the “rave-of-the-moment” Lagos bands of Ade Ade, Akibo Salvage and Fatai Rolling Dollars between 1958 and 1963.
Right after leaving Rolling Dollars and founding his own International Brothers Band, Obey released a delightful debut, Ewa Wo Ohun Oju Ri.
From a repertoire in excess of 200 original compositions, Nigerians of the 20th and 21st centuries have been titillated by the sonorous philosophy and lingering didacticism of this Idogo, Ogun State born maestro.
A classic checklist: Board Members, Kẹtẹkẹtẹ, Happy Birthday To You, Awọn Ika Eniyan, Laiṣẹ Lairo, Iwọ Ẹni To Nsebi, Abanijẹ Eniyan, Eniyan Lásán, Orí Mí Koni Burú, Ọta Mi Dẹhin Lẹhìn Mi, Eda To Mose Okunkun, Olomi Gbọ Temi, Ẹni Ri Nkan He, Gb’ẹbẹ Mi Oluwa, Ajo Ko Dabi Ile, Edumare Sọrọ Mi Dayọ, Iba F’Oluwa, Aimasiko Lon’ Damu Ẹda, Ẹ Sa Ma Miliki, Baba Lo Ran Mi Wa, and so on.
Almost 24 years ago (in late 1999 when he was aged 57) I caused the following statement to be published: “As this century winds up with Obey-Fabiyi devoting his incredible talent to the Ministry of God, we salute this astute businessman, devoted father and creator of Miliki music.”
Today, (akin to the Phoenix) in glorious fulfillment and ‘overtake’ of those thoughts, and with massive admiration for an uncommon living legend, in the art and craft of knitting words, faith and fun in a musical contraption that keeps people of all tongues, tribes, creeds and strata on their feet, gyrating to the power and pungency of the invisible force of Juju music… we wish the ageless creative Commander, and iconic lamp holder of edifying minstrelsy… a benevolent and peaceful 81st birthday celebration.
Long live the Chief Commander
Long live the MFR…
[Watch out for Baba on The Vintage Talk Show – with the FAJ…soon]