b. Anyila Kollington, 1952, Ibadan, Nigeria. Between the mid-70s and late 80s, Kollington ranked with Barrister as the leading star of Nigerian fuji music - like apala and waka, a Muslim-dominated relation of juju, retaining that style’s vocal and percussion ingredients but abandoning its use of electric guitars in order to obtain a more traditional, roots-based sound. He began recording for Nigerian EMI in 1974, and in 1978 achieved a pronounced, but temporary, lead over Barrister when his introduction of the powerful bata drum (fuji had until that time relied almost exclusively on talking, or ‘squeeze’, drums) caught the imagination of record buyers. In 1982, when fuji was beginning to seriously rival juju as Nigeria’s most popular contemporary roots music, he set up his own label, Kollington Records, through which he released no less than 30 albums over the next five years. As the popularity of fuji grew, and the market became big enough to support both artists, Kollington and Barrister’s enmity diminished, though not before Kollington released an album accusing Barrister of being responsible for the death of fellow band leader Ayinla Omowura during a 1982 bar brawl. By 1983, both men were able to stand side by side as mourners at the funeral of apala star Haruna Ishola. A new and equally public rivalry emerged in the mid-80s, this time with waka star Queen Salawah Abeni, who exchanged bitter personal insults with Kollington over a series of album releases and counter-releases. Sadly, for non-Yoruba speakers, the verbal fisticuffs remain unintelligible, though the drum-heavy, hypnotic music was universal in its appeal.
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