AYINLA: The beatification of Ayinla Omowura 1933 – 1980 – By Kayode Adejumo-Bello

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* Picture: Yoruba movie star, Abdul-lateef Adedimeji, playing the role of music legend, Ayinla Omowura in the movie*

The movie opened with a scene that portrayed the worst of Ayinla Omowura. It depicted a cunning, crafty musician who can go to any length to maximise and milk his stardom for optimal financial gain. He manipulated his patron in a live play to go do another live show for which he had earlier been commissioned. The scene was no flattery to the image of Anigilaje at the least.

But then that scene remained a reality of the industry. Musicians/entertainers do all sorts at the peak of their popularity and visibility. Again, the active influence of thugs at Ayinla’s gigs ran all across the flick. That also was a minus on his megastardom…

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However, the closing 25 minutes of the movie was Ayinla at his best. Both as a musician and as a person. He crested to a career in full blossom. Nobody in the audience could seat quietly for those minutes. You have to sing along. Or dance along. Or both. The Ayinla magic had worked us all into a frenzy. We had all melted into the soul of Ayinla’s soulful renditions. We had grown within the movie which was less than 2hrs long to love Ayinla-warts and all. All his ‘sins’ as it were had been forgiven him.

Ayinla’s beatification came at the moment he spoke to the effect of vanity of life. The exact point in the movie where Ayinla made up his mind to forgive and make up with his estranged manager was the point where some of us shed some tears. Finally Ayinla was human(e). His slate was wiped clean.
That was also the point his legend was sealed. He forgave and moved for reconciliation. Alas the reconciliation was not to be…

Baba Tunde Kelani did justice to his subject. He was not subjective in treating Ayinla, he was outrightly realistic. He didn’t dress Ayinla in no borrowed robes. Ayinla was nakedly potrayed but not shamed. Baba got Ayinla right. He got him correct. The memory of Ayinla is sweet.

Ayinla the movie is sweet. It won more fan for the great maestro over 40 years after death! (I was shocked by the wide acceptance of the flick. The soro-soke generation was a large constituent of the audience). Old and young watched Ayinla. They sang along with him. His spirit was truly invoked.

Thumbs up for the costumes, the locations, characterisation, directing and the casting. Kunle Afolayan was rock solid as promoter and MC. Kudos to Abdullateef Adedimeji. It was the best of his acting ever. He interpreted the role perfectly. He infused elegance on the Ayinla personae. He laced him with panache and grace. His lipsing and sing along was faultless. Adedimeji ‘killed’ it dead!

I see a renaissance of both Ayinla and Apala music in the days to come. My wife is already downloading Ayinla records. I am also hoping to dust up my attention on Ayinla’s music and lyrics.

The death of Ayinla in 1980 was a disaster. Ayinla the movie was a necessary closure to that epic. Finally Ayinla can rest. Finally Ayinla is reborn. AYINLA has beatified Omowura…

Ayinla pa’da d’omotuntun!

Kayode Adejumo-Bello
20 June, 2021.

(NB: Special thanks to my wife Bukola who sponsored me to the Cinema in celebration of Father’s day 2021)

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