Profile: The Man Dipo Sodipo, The Pope Of One Man Band.

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DIPO SODIPO

 

His name was Dipo Sodipo. His sobriquets were numerous but the Pope seemed to have been his preferred. He was the Czar of the One Man Band, a popular fixture of the Yoruba music scene of the late 80s and 90s.

 

The shrinking of bands at the time could have been an economical response to the austerity that did not exclude the music scene, but one man bands demanded a level of ambidexterity the likes of Pope handled effortlessly. To hold a note on a microphone and hoist a piano chord simultaneously is truly the stuff of genius.

 

Witness the one man band: usually, a pre-programmed rhythm runs amok on his keyboard. Then he gives chase with his vocals and punctuating with simple piano riffs. Ever so often, he allows flourishes of complicated piano chords—but this technical verbiage hardly accounts for how well rendered his music is.

Every one remembers the first time they heard Dipo Sodipo.

 

As with unsung legends, Dipo Sodipo still draws blanks on the internet. There is hardly a biography extending beyond a paragraph. The quick summary of his public life is that he was a keyboardist and vocalist. He was known to be a renegade highlife musician. I wonder if you can really categorize his music highlife. Rather, it feels like a fusion of folk songs, blues, soul, highlife, juju music and a recourse to gospel ever so often.

 

The philosophy imbued in his practice is that of the Yoruba everyman whose worldview is to attempt to be good whilst definitely doing no harm.

 

Dipo Sodipo seemed to have been physically present in Ibadan in the 80s where he studied music and became the Head of Department at the Polytechnic. He was also the lead singer of K12 Voices, before he broke out alone as a one man act.

 

He would belt out memorable medleys like: the soulful: “Iya ni wura”,

the lively “Jekowo Wole Mi” and the cautionary “Bola Bade”.

Sensational “Caro, yellow sisi”

 

Decades after his passing, Dipo Sodipo’s music remains relevant to his growing array of fans.

 

Written by Ige Trevor

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