+How GOD Gave Her The Baba Ku Ise Song
Veteran Gospel singer, Evangelist (Dr) Bola Are (JP) is in a celebratory mood right now. On Saturday 4th November 2017, she will be celebrating 40 years of her Baba Ku Ise album released in August 1977. The celebration will come up at Jogor Centre, Hall of Grace, Opposite Liberty Stadium in Ibadan.
Last week, Mama Bola Are told City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE her success story and how this her 1st album brought her fame. Despite the fact that she is in her 60s her music is still in high demand and she still plays all over the world.
Her new booking office at Mokola in Ibadan is usually a beehive of activities, as requests pour in daily, for her to be part of so many church programmes all over the country and beyond. Below are excerpts of her interview.
Congratulations ma, on your forthcoming event. I can see you are in a happy mood…
Yes, I am happy ooo. Its now 40 years of Bola Are’s 1st album. Its now 40years and God said I should celebrate and thank him for it. Baba, Ku Ise ooo baba was released in August 1977. So, the last Friday of August this year made it to be 4o years. That is what we are preparing for at Jogor Hall, in Ibadan. We have invited King Sunny Ade, Baba Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, Obas and dignitaries, like some Governors and 1st Ladies.
How did you start music?
I started music when I was just a year old, according to my parents. They said I used to hum music. Any music they sing in church, when we get home I will hum it. My parents were usually surprised. They used to wonder how I can remember the songs they sang in church like the closing hyms. I grew into knowing Bola Are as a Gospel singer. I grew into it. Nobody taught me. Baba Apostle Ayo Babalola had predicted it before I was born, and he told my parents about it. He told my parents that they will give birth to a child who will be a Woli (Prophet). My father and mother used to attend Christ Apostolic Church at Erio, in Ekiti. Baba said they will give birth to a child who will be a Woli, a servant of God. So when they had me and I was a girl, they asked him again if this is the child he predicted. He said yes. Have faith. With time you will know you’ve given birth to a Woli.
I started singing as early as when I was 2 years old. From that young age I used to predict for my father and mother. I will tell my dad don’t go to the farm ooo. I told him once not to go to the farm one day. He defied my advice. He went. The first tree he cut hit him on the leg and wounded him.
He nursed that wound for years till he passed on. At age 2, I told my mum not to go to the market one day. I told her to wait 5 days more before she goes to the market at Aramoko Ekiti, 3kilometres to my town. My town is Erio Ekiti. My mum didn’t listen. She left that day in her pick up, loaded with foodstuff. Do you know what happened? Rain started from 6am and went on till 7pm. She sells foodstuff, rice, gari, beans – all those foodstuffs can’t the stand rain. Those who were to buy it couldn’t come because of rain. She could not bring down her goods, so she returned back home to meet me to tell me about her experience, that I, the Woli in the house had warned her, but she didn’t listen. I remembered that at the age of 8 years my parents put together people to join me to sing. I also put together my classmates, my group mates to sing at Easter period, all over town. Whatever money we realised we would give the church. As a little child, I knew I had to worship and love God for dying for us at Calvary.
And I began to sing his praise. It was at that little age of 8 that I began to put together my band to praise God, to sing gospel songs. My parents used to buy me and my band members fabrics to sew outfits. They knew that I was destined to be great. They could feel it. God had told them. They took great care of me. They encouraged everything that will promote my music career. They made sure nothing disturbed my music career. I began to sing like that in primary school, modern school, grammar school. In all those places, I was on top in Christian songs, in Gospel music. At CAC Grammar School, Efon Alaaye that I attended I used to go and play in adjoining towns. They used to invite me to sing when they have anniversaries in some of the churches around. I used to follow Baba Obadare. I used to go to Koseunti with Baba.
I will rush down to school again. When I finished my WAEC, I didn’t go back to my parents. I went straight to Baba Obadare to stay. That very day I finished my paper,
I went straight to Akure to meet Baba Obadare and I stayed there. Even when my parents were looking for me, they knew I was in safe hands. They knew if I wasn’t at an Ori Oke to pray, I will be at an Anniversary Concert or a Convention. It was the people that came from my town and saw me at Koseunti on the 1st of the moth that went back to tell my parents. They said haa! We saw Bola your daughter. She sang so well. She dazzled every body with her songs oh. My parents came and saw me. They only greeted me and left. They could not tell me to follow them back home. They gave me dresses and money, biscuit. Baba Obadare kept watching them.
That was how I began. That was how my career began.
In 1973, God gave me the song Baba Ku Ise o baba. This year makes it 40 years that I released it. God gave me that song in 1973 and I released it in 1977.
How did he give you the song?
It was early one morning at about 6:30am I was going to Tewogbade & Sons Limited, a popular company in Ibadan. I was working with them then. Baba V.A Tewogbade signed me on then as a Store Keeper.
So, I was rushing to work around Oke Bola, near Baba Awolowos house. It was at a very narrow path. That was where I heard the voice that said Stop!. I stopped near the wall there. The song came. The way I sang the song was the way I heard it. I was held on there by the Holy Spirit. Many were wondering why I didn’t greet them. I was singing the song. And I could hear other singers joining me to sing, from no where.
One girl walked past me. She is Moji. God said I should call that Moji and tell her. That in the evening at about 4pm, she should come and see me with her friend Grace. I asked God for what He wants me to tell them to come and do. He said before 4pm he will tell me what I should tell them to do.
The day I received the song, as I continued going to work I forgot the wordings of the song by the time I got to work. So, I started crying. I began to wonder, how will God teach me an important song like this and I would forget? How will I explain this. I sat somewhere and I began to cry. I was looking at my workplace in front like this, at Felele area of Challenge at Baba Tewogbades house. People began to pity me.
Later, God appeared to me and said yes I will give you the song back but it will take you 3 months. You will fast for 3 months before you will get the song back. I had no biro to write. I had no paper or booklet to write on. There was no gadget to record.
That was how I began to fast. I went to the church of one of our fathers in the lord, Pastor Kehinde, at CAC Oke-Iranti, around Challenge, facing Molete area, opposite, Oyo State Fire Service. I kept going there, every break time, for 3 months. One day, God told me that my father in the Lord, Pastor Kehinde who is not lettered or educated that its 3 months now and that today I will give Bola Are that song back, that He will give her the song again. This is the same song that we are planning to celebrate Its 40 years after. His prediction came through. Once I entered the Church like this, Pastor Kehinde’s voice came from the top of the Mission House, Bola today makes it 3 months, God will give you back your song. I ran into the church and as I entered the church, angels began to sing the same song I heard 3 months before. That was how I got the song back.
When you released the song in 1977, how was it received?
I first sang the song at Baba Abiara’s church at Oke Imole, Agbeni. Baba was having a celebration behind Methodist Church at Agbeni in Ibadan, popularly called Awolowo’s church, by the market. CAC, Oke Imole is located right behind Agbeni Methodist Church.
I got there and met many important elders like Mama D.A Fasoyin. She had sang her song. Me, I was small then. I kept on raising my hand up to be called on to song. I kept telling them I have a sang oo. They will push me back again. Baba Abiara was watching all these drama. He saw me, this little girl, shouting for recognition. I made attempts up to 6 times, they refused to call me. Suddenly Baba just rang his bell. He shouted Halleluyah. He said there is a little child across me here that has been raising her hand. What is she trying to say to you? If it’s a song she wants to sing let her sing it I want to listen.
That is the song I want to listen to now. That is how I began to sing. It was like I was reciting an incantation with my Baba Ku Ise oo song. The whole church want agog. The Holy Spirit descended on the church People began to sing along. This song took over the whole place and the whole church shook to its very foundation.
That almost ended the programme because there was no other song after that. Everybody went rejoicing. We started singing the song all over the place, till 1977. It was in 1977 that some people started saying: Aunty Bola why don’t you go and record this song. I now went to meet Iyanda Record Industry at Challenge, the only recording studio in Ibadan then. He released it. When he released the record it reigned for several years and it is still reigning. Everybody wants this album. Every where, the Baba Ku Ise ooo album took over.
Even Muslims love it. They love Bola Are music. Some pagans began to listen. They started by producing about 2,000, then it increased to 5,000 copies, then 10,000. People started disturbing Baba Odofin Records, the man who brought out the record at K & S Oke Siouni Church. He also told people that the Holy Spirit has told him to send for this girl who sang this song. They tried to call me but I refused to record. I said God has not told me to record the song. I said the day God instructs me, we would record. God now spoke that I should go ahead to meet Baba Irohin Ayo, Odofin of Irohin Ayo Records to release the album. That was when I followed him to the studio. We sold many copies thousands and uncountable thousands. The song was all over the place, everywhere, everywhere. I am so impressed, so happy, so excited.
How many albums have you done after that?
I have done 76 albums. We started doing other albums after Baba Ku Ise ooo. We did a quick one for Easter, Jesu Jinde, Olugbala Jinde. That one also went viral. That is how all the other records began to succeed. I have done 76.
How do you explain the success story of Mama Bola Are?
God. Its God. I can’t explain it. Olorun Lon se, Emi Mimo Lonse. Olorun Baba Apostle Ayo Babalola, Olorun Obadare, Olorun Baba Olulana, Baba Jide. Olorun Baba mi Akande Ede (Baba Abiye) has been helping me till today.
When is your birthday?
October 1st every year. For the past 3 years God has taken over all October months from me.
What that means is that I praise him every October month. I don’t take shows about burials or other celebrations for people. I only do shows that praise God. My birthday is on October 1st, Independence Day.
Have your kids taken after you?
Yes. Yetunde Are is one of them. She is singing. The junior ones are singing. They all have albums.