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Waka Creator, Batili Alake Dies

Prominent waka singer, Batile Alake diesWaka Creator, Batili Alake Dies


Alhaja Batili Alake, popular Waka creator and singer singer died Saturday in her home at Ijebu Igbo in Ijebu North local government area of Ogun State, in western Nigeria.

The waka singer who was popular for about four decades till around early 90′s gave up the ghost early Saturday, after a protracted illness.  She was buried at exactly 4:20pm at her residence in Oke Liyan area of Paroba,Oke Sopin in Ijebu Igbo according to Islamic rites.

“Mama was ill for sometimes now and in the last few days towards the of end of Ramadan, she was getting better until the illness relapsed again and resulted in death,” said a female relation of the singer. “We are surely going to miss her a lot and the music industry will also miss her. Some of the musicians have been coming to commiserate with us and they have been saying a lot of good things about Mama. May her soul rest in perfect peace,” she added.

Alhaja Alake’s true age is not known. But the consensus is that she died in her eighties. She was active during the 1950s up till the 1970s.

In his reaction to her death, Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, described Alhaja Batili Alake as a humble trailblazer. The governor said her death was a great loss to the music industry, Ogun State and Nigeria in general.

“Despite being the first singer to wax an album, she remained a symbol of humility, giving glory to Allah throughout her sojourn on earth. Alhaja led an exemplary life,’’ the governor said.

Speaking on the passage of waka queen, Bonsue Fuji singer, Adewale Ayuba, described the death of Alake as a great loss to the music industry, saying she will be sorely missed. “Mama Alake’s death was shocking. I pray that God will give the family she left behind and the music industry the fortitude to bear the loss.’’

Also commenting on the passage of the pioneer of waka music in the country, Ibadan-based fuji singer, Alhaji Rasidi Ayinde, also known as Merenge, said her death has robbed the music industry of another legendary singer, who lived a humble life throughout her stay in life. Merenge commiserated with the family of the deceased and prayed to the God to grant her eternal rest in Aljanah Firdaus.

The deceased was among the top musicians in the early years of Nigeria independence that performed for the government of the Western Region then. Among her contemporaries then were Alhaja Kuburat Alaragbo and Madam Abeni Sewele, Haruna Ishola, Ayinla Omowura, Ligali Mukaiba, SKB Ajao-Oru and a host of others.

She popularized the Islamic-inspired, Yoruba genre by playing at concerts and parties throughout Yorubaland, and was the first waka singer to wax an album. She also mentored the latter day Waka Queen, Salawa Abeni.

In an interview with a Nigerian newspaper in April 2012, she was asked how she wanted to be remembered. Her response: How will you like to be remembered? “As the originator of waka music, a good musician who preached the word and to be remembered for my hit tracks and my albums”.