Fela Kuti, the Afrobeat pioneer, once sought Orlando Julius, the Afro-soul legend, to join his band.


Julius, the renowned saxophonist and highlife legend, has passed away aged 79.

Bimbo Esho, MD of Evergreen Music Company, who broke the news, said he died in the early hours of Friday.

Tributes have since been pouring in for the late music star across social media.


In an interview with Bolaji Alonge, journalist, Julius had said Fela wanted him to join his band at its inception.

“When Fela came back home from the United Kingdom, I was already performing. I met him at Ibadan Independence Club, where my band, Modern Aces, performed around 1963/64,” he had said.

“He was playing his trumpet with the mute (capped trumpet) off stage, I welcomed him on our stage to join us.


“The ladies loved him and my musicians as well. A few of them followed him to start his Koola Lobitos band, a very good band. I was told he asked one of my guys if I would join him and his band.

“Of course, my band member told him that is not possible, and he would never ask me such.

“I can say we had mutual respect for each other, but our paths were different. We really did not spend time together, hang out or [do] anything of that nature. Besides, I left Nigeria for a while.

“I released 11 albums and have done several EPs and singles. Some I can’t even remember.


“My first music video, Adara, was recorded at the Osun shrine along with ‘Ise Logun Ise’ and ‘Dance Afrobeat’.”

Koola Lobitos was the prototype band Fela Kuti set up before changing the name to Africa 70 in 1970.

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