Ace Nigerian Highlife Singer And Saxophonist, Orlando Julius, Dies At 79
Veteran highlife musician, Orlando Julius, has died at the age of 79.
Julius’ death was announced in the early hours of Friday by his wife, Latoya Ekemode.
She said that Julius passed out in his sleep on Thursday night.
“Yes, my husband passed on late last night, there was no indication that death was coming, he was not ill, he only slept and died in his sleep,” she said.
The ‘A Dara, a Dara singer’s death was also confirmed by a music promoter, Bimbo Esho.
“Bimbo, Daddy Has Passed On….This was the message I stumbled on waking up at exactly 3 am to peruse my WhatsApp page. It was a message sent to me by Orlando Julius’ beautiful and supportive wife Lady Latoya.
“Orlando Julius, a native of Ijebu Ijesha, succumbed to the cold hands of death and breathed his last few hours ago at the age of 79.
“We shall miss one of Nigeria’s fathers of Afro/Highlife Music, a gentleman, and a fine Saxophonist.
“May daddy Orlando Julius’ soul journey well. To the entire Ekemode family may God give you the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss,” Bimbo Esho posted.
The ‘Jagua Nana’ singer celebrated his 60 years on stage last year.
Julius was a saxophonist, singer, bandleader, and songwriter closely associated with Afrobeat music.
Some of his musical albums are Disco Hi-Life, Ololufe, Love, Peace, and Happiness; Dance Afrobeat, and more.
According to his Wiki profile, Julius was born in 1943 in Ikole, Nigeria to a merchant family during British colonialism. His first music teacher was his mother, who would sing and dance while he played drums.
He went to St. Peter’s Anglican School in Ikole and played in the school band.
In 1957, after dropping out of school and the death of his father, he left for Ibadan to pursue a career as a musician. He worked at a bakery while playing the drums or flute with juju and konkoma bands. There was no music school in the area at the time, so the premier, Obafemi Awolowo, created one in his political party’s secretariat.