Lágbájá (Real Name: Bisade Ologunde, born in 1960; Age: 63 years old) is a Nigerian afrobeat singer, songwriter, and percussionist. Lágbájá, since the beginning of his singing career, covers his face on stage, and according to him, it symbolizes the faceless and voiceless in society, particularly in Africa.
Lágbájá has, throughout his music career, thrilled music lovers with great songs. He is one of the longest-established musicians who mostly sing in the Yoruba language and believes in social reform through music. Know everything about the highlife singer, including his background, career journey, mask persona, and family life.
Lágbájá was Born and Raised in Lagos State
Although widely known by his stage name, Lágbájá, he was born Bisade Ologunde in 1960, making him 63 years old. He has not revealed his exact date of birth. Lágbájá was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, alongside his parents and siblings.
However, he is originally a descendant from Odogun’s Compound, Ijagbo, Offa Community in Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State, the northern part of Nigeria. Besides these, there are not many details about his family background. Also, there is no record to show whether he is a university graduate or details of where he received his basic education.
Lágbájá Started Singing in the Early 1990s
Growing up in Lagos State, Lágbájá took an interest in learning how to play the saxophone. After he mastered his skills in playing the saxophone, he formed his first music band in Lagos in 1991. The music band employed a high ratio of percussion instruments, including congas and talking drums, and drew its main inspiration from the traditional highlife sounds of the 1960s and western jazz. The group released its debut album in 1992, titled Lagbaja.
Lágbájá followed up with another album which comprises a song titled Naija Must Sweet Again. The song received critical acclaim and was taken as an attack on Nigeria’s military rulers. He continued with the same theme of the song in his 1996 album, wherein one of the tracks, Bad Leadership exposes what the singer views as the biggest problems contemporary Africa faces.
Following the album’s release, Lágbájá got an invite from the International Red Cross Committee to collaborate with Lucky Dube, Youssou N’Dour, and Papa Wemba on a Pan-African project that seeks to promote awareness of humanitarian abuses. Each member of his music band was sent to selected troubled areas of Africa and was required to drop two songs each, documenting their experience.
Lágbájá’s groovy fusion is categorized as afro jazz, highlife, afrobeat, and Afropop. He described his music as Africano, referring mostly to the central role of African drums and grooves. Lágbájá has remained relevant in the Nigerian music industry to date. His album, We Before Me (IndigeDisc/PDSE), released in 2000, demanded honesty from politicians and urged fraternity and unity. In 2006, he won an award at the Channel O Music Video Awards for Best Male Video for his video, Never Far Away.
Best of Lágbájá’s Songs
- Cest Un African Thing
- We and Me Part II
- Sharp Sharp
- Africano… the mother of groove
- 200 Million Mumu (The Bitter Truth)
In March 1997, Lágbájá founded his club “Motherlan” in the heart of Ikeja Lagos State. He explained in an interview that the club was inspired by the traditional African market square or town where people come together under the moonlight for artistic events and ceremonies such as dance, storytelling, etc. He is an ambassador of the telecommunication company, Globacom.
Why Lágbájá’s Face is Covered
Lágbájá is a Nigerian musician who people identify as the singer with a face mask. This has become his signature look since his career took off. He adopted the name at the start of his musical career in the early 1990s. Lágbájá is a Yoruba language that means “Jane Doe” or “John Doe” – someone whose name and identity are intentionally concealed.
The name is also reflected in his stage attire which comprises a slitted textile cloth and a rubber mask. He wears the dress to depict the “common man” in keeping with the carnival tradition and culture of his Yoruba tribe. The singer further explained that the mask is a sign of man’s facelessness, symbolizing the faceless and the voiceless in society, particularly in Africa.
Lágbájá’s Real Face
Since the 1990s, the fans of the afrobeat star have wondered what and how his real face exactly looks like behind the mask. Then, sometime in 2012, a photo circulated online claiming he was the one. But, many still do not believe that the man in the photo is Lágbájá. Instead, the photo became a subject of intense debate.
According to a reliable source who claims to be very close to the singer, Lágbájá used to be a chorister in one Baptist church in Ilorin, wherein his parents were also prominent members. So, in the beginning, his parents didn’t support his decision to venture into this kind of music because they believed he would bring disgrace to them, considering their high-ranking position in the church. Hence, he decided to start wearing a face mask.
Significantly, another set of people strongly argued that there is no how on earth a person who uses a mask and does not want his identity to be disclosed would comfortably strike a pose in front of the camera. After all, we do not have proof that the man in the picture is Lágbájá; hence, all claims remain unverified.
Who Is Lágbájá’s Wife?
Lágbájá is married with children but does not reveal any information about his family. It is obvious that the singer prefers to lead a private life. You may not have to think that someone who wouldn’t reveal his own identity will disclose details about his family.
However, in 2013, it was reported that his first daughter, Moyosade Ologunde, got married to her longtime sweetheart, Olamide Obilana, at Motherlan, Opebi, Ikeja Lagos, Nigeria. One of the significance of the wedding wasLagbaja’ss appearance without his mask.
However, he was said to have refused anyone, including the photographer, to take photos of him. Meanwhile, Moyosade Ologunde is a graduate of Business Administration from the Pennsylvania State University School of Management and is a change management specialist at a US firm.