Film Review: “FAAJI AGBA” (91minutes: Nigeria) By REMI VAUGHAN-RICHARDS

Faaji Agba, the Award winning documentary film is a “LABOUR OF LOVE” project by filmmaker Remi Vaughn-Richards on Lagos history, culture and music from 1940 to date. She follows lives of all and the death of some seven 65 to 85 year old Yoruba musicians. It didn’t start as a grand project, but it evolved as Remi joined forces with Kunle Tejuoso of Jazzhole Records. Kunle Tejuoso started a trail to rediscovering there men who had been forgotten by the society to form the FAAJI AGBA Collection since 2009, lighting up the torch of relevance of their kind of music and keeping the legacy for generations to come; with documentation by Remi Vaughn- Richards. The journey starts with the legendary Olayiwola Fatai Rolling Dollar; he was discovered in 1999 in a small room in the Mushin area of Lagos and given an apartment in recognition of his music, leads us to the others like Alaba Pedro, Prince Eji Oyewole, Taiye Anyowale, Samson Adegbite, Kunle Adeniran, Nureini Sunmola and Niyi Ajileye. Their music style ranged from highlife, juju to afrobeat. The story follows them to their New York performance in 2011 which took us to the end of Alaba Pedro’s (Palm wine Guitar man) chapter of the story; who died 3 hours into their flight back to Lagos from New York on the 6th of August 2011, he was buried in Ikorodu. S F Olowookere passed on 8th Aril 2012 and Olaiyiwola Fatai Rolling Dollar passed on in June 12, 2013. While this 91 minute long film takes us through the lives of the several men, it tells us of a good number of Lagos history in music which keeps us informs the audience in an intriguing way; like the story behind the statue of Kokoro the blind minstrel and his wife at Tinubu Square, Haruna Ishola and the Apala Band, how the Saw was used in 1945/46 to make music by hunters and farmers, how in 1967 during the Biafran war parties were organized in secret by these musicians, Fatai Rolling Dollar explain Juju music to have been created by a game or musicians tossing the cymbal or tambourine at each other singing “Ju si mi, Ju si e… owa di JUJU”. The documentary also spoke of Dr Victor Olaiya whose music still rings in the minds of the Lagos youth today. The history of Lagos entertainment began in Lafiaji according to this documentary. This is the part of Lagos where Fanti Carnival held in 1937, Fatai Rolling Dollar played here in 1958. Faaji Agba, Our Lagos story, Nigerian Heritage of the most beautiful musical legacies.   Imoh Eboh IREP Media Team