Faleti’s Iconic Roles In Se­lected Yoruba Movies

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - TRIBUTE - By Olu­tayo Iran­ti­ola

ALAGBA Ade­bayo Faleti was a tact­ful thes­pian, who fea­tured in many Yoruba movies. Faleti, in many of his roles, rep­re­sented the sage who is meant to cor­rect, chas­tise the Yoruba race. He could be de­scribed as the voice of the el­ders and tra­di­tion. He drove his mes­sage home through the use of songs, proverbs, il­lus­tra­tions and his­tor­i­cal in­fer­ences in all the var­i­ous movies he acted. Faleti’s cameo are cru­cial to the de­noue­ment in all the movies he acted in. some of the songs he used in some movies, his char­ac­ter and the im­port of his roles to the so­ci­ety at large are ex­am­ined here. Sa­woroide is a satiric movie pro­duced by Main­frame films In­ter­na­tional in 1999. Faleti played the role of an el­derly palace staff, Baba Opal­aba, who has been en­meshed in the cul­ture and tra­di­tion of the com­mu­nity by lis­ten­ing to var­i­ous con­ver­sa­tions when­ever he pre­tends to be sleep­ing. He served the com­mu­nity by us­ing mu­sic to warn, cor­rect and rep­ri­mand. The first song in the play is - Koiye won,/yoo ye won lola.

This song is based on the in­sis­tence of one of the chiefs, who wants the new King to make riches. Un­for­tu­nately, that is not a part of the cus­toms of the com­mu­nity. The lit­er­ary trans­la­tion of this song is: ‘they do not un­der­stand now, they will un­der­stand to­mor­row as such they would soon come to the re­al­iza­tion of the con­se­quences of their acts sooner or later. In what­ever sit­u­a­tion that we find our­selves, we are ex­pected to gain wis­dom from it:

Oro leye n gbo o/eye o dede ba lorule o/oro leye n gbo o!

This song tells the chief, who is reg­u­larly ques­tion­ing him why he gath­ers in­for­ma­tion from his van­tage point in the palace. This song is a way of ad­mon­ish­ing peo­ple to be ob­ser­vant of what is hap­pen­ing in their en­vi­ron­ment. Won ma le o (2ce)/awon ijoye yii ma le o,/ajantiele/…yoo ma leyin (2ce)/oro yii yo ma leyin,/ajantiele

As typ­i­cal of Nige­rian and African politics, the elec­torate is usu­ally de­ceived by the var­i­ous can­di­dates while they are seek­ing elec­toral of­fices. The ren­di­tion is a re­minder to the po­lit­i­cal class of the reper­cus­sion of their var­i­ous ne­far­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties, which in­clude heavy tax­a­tion, bribery and un­ful­filled prom­ises to the masses. Alag­isa n jo loru,/boo peileamo lola

This song is a fu­tur­is­tic warm­ing of an im­pend­ing shame for a per­son clad in rags. The sig­nif­i­cance of this song is that there are many peo­ple, who carry out das­tardly acts in the dark but un­for­tu­nately, the day would break in a short while for ev­ery­one to see all that they as­sumed was hid­den. Asa n ba eyele sere,/eyele n yoo,/eyele n dunnu i ku

Just like the bi­b­li­cal say­ing about the re­la­tion­ship be­tween light and dark­ness, so is the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the hawk and the pi­geon. The song is a de­scrip­tion of the undis­cern­ing re­la­tion­ship of the hawk and the pi­geon. Iron­i­cally, the pi­geon does not know that death looms in the same re­la­tion­ship. This is a call on peo­ple to be dis­cern­ing in their re­la­tion­ships: Ojo to ro,/ojo toro tio da,/olorun lo ma iye en­iti yoo pa!

This metaphor­i­cal song is con­nected with na­ture. Many peo­ple would def­i­nitely be af­fected by tor­ren­tial rain. How­ever, it is only God who knows the ex­act num­ber of peo­ple who would be drenched in the rain. Sim­i­larly in Iwogbe, a movie pro­duced by Bay­owa Films and Mu­sic In­ter­na­tional, Faleti opens the movie with a short pre­lude. He plays the role of Al­haji Ka­marudeen Koya, also known as Abule­sowo, a real es­tate mogul, who be­lieves in tra­di­tion. Koya, in the movie, rep­re­sents the sanc­tity of tra­di­tional be­liefs in be­ing morally up­right de­spite the so­ci­etal pres­sure for cor­rupt en­rich­ment. Koya is even­tu­ally help­ful to his client, who suf­fers in­san­ity.

Some of the songs that Koya sings in the movie in­clude: Yoo san ko san,/olorun ma fi were dan wa wo!/yoo san ko san! Ac­cord­ing to the Yoruba say­ing: ‘ were dun wo loja, ko se bi lomo,’ mean­ing, an in­sane per­son is bet­ter watched in the mar­ket square rather than hav­ing him or her as a child. This prayer song is be- seech­ing God that we should not be in­flicted with in­san­ity, whether cur­able or not. Ile onirik­isi,/iri ni yoo wo!

This song ad­mon­ishes hyp­ocrites and evil­do­ers to de­sist from their cal­lous ways else all of their in­vest­ments would be de­stroyed in their life­time: Eye tun ile se,(2ce)/ereikoko­tu­nilese demio/eye­tu­nilese!

No­body that loves a messy neigh­bour­hood. This song is a call on the pi­geon to make the house tidy for his ar­rival. This metaphor­i­cal song is call­ing on peo­ple to en­sure that their char­ac­ter can pre­pare the way for them ahead fu­ture oc­cur­rences. In Ejalonibu, a movie writ­ten by Yemi Ademokoya and pro­duced by Ye­mad Films Pro­duc­tions in 2001, Faleti is in­tro­duced to­wards the end of the movie as Baba. As typ­i­cal of the Yoruba, ‘ oro­tianiki Bab a mag bo, ba ba ni yo op ari re ,’ mean­ing, ‘the father of the house would be fi­nally con­sulted to re­solve all the knotty is­sues that were pre­vi­ously hid­den from him.’ The in­ter­ven­tion of Faleti as Baba re­solves the ten­sion that has built up be­tween the si­b­lings. The younger brother is the sur­ro­gate father to the son of his elder brother. They have a prior meet­ing be­fore com­ing to a larger meet­ing, where the el­ders ask the son, who he prefers to his father. The son says since the elder brother pays his mother’s bride price, he re­mains his father. The only song that Faleti leads in the movie goes thus: Eru­mi­papo ju,/oripeorun­womi,/og­baeru funmi,odogun,/ig­ba­ti­ade ibuso,/oniking­berukale,/kin gbori las an loi le wa,/ee mo lo ru o,/iwokolo­nio

The song is a call on those who trick their as­so­ciates and con­vert what does not rightly be­long to them as a for­bid­den par­cel. This is one of the virtues fast re­ced­ing in our so­ci­ety and it has be­come an al­ba­tross that has de­stroyed the con­cept of ‘ Omolu­abi,’ which sets bound­aries in our re­la­tion­ship with ev­ery­one.

Asides play­ing roles that are ad­e­quately spiced with mu­sic, Faleti took part in other movies, where he ev­i­dently show­cases the Yoruba cul­ture, tra­di­tion and his­tory. He wrote Thun­der­bolt ( Ma­gun), a Main­frame Pro­duc­tions film in 2001. He was an herbal­ist, who in­ter­prets the chal­lenges of the Corps mem­ber, who is be­ing mal­treated Ngozi, an Igbo lady who is mar­ried to a Yoruba man, Yinka. She has been jinxed with Ma­gun and the cul­tural dif­fer­ence re­ally deep­ens the is­sues around the so-called “African AIDS”. How­ever, the use of in­can­ta­tions is promi­nent in this movie.

Equally in an­other movie that he wrote, Afonja, pro­duced by Remdel Op­ti­mum Com­mu­ni­ca­tions in 2002, Faleti plays the role of Oye­dokun, an herbal­ist, who dis­suades the king, Alafin Aole, from curs­ing the Yoruba race, but the King in­sists. The movie is his­tor­i­cal ac­count about the role of Afonja, Aare­on­akakanfo, in con­quer­ing the Alafin and how Ilorin was ceded to the Hausa/fu­lani through the power drunk­en­ness of Afonja.

Equally in the movie, Iteoba, a movie di­rected by Se­gun Ogungbe and pro­duced by Gemini Films in 2011, Faleti plays the role of Olori Ebi. The movie opens with the pass­ing of the King and royal fam­i­lies are in con­tention for the throne. How­ever, one of the princes, whose fam­ily is not se­lected by the or­a­cle, wants to be­come the King at all cost. He even­tu­ally be­comes King, but com­mits a taboo, which his son’s wife runs in er­ror. The fam­ily even­tu­ally suf­fers a lot of cat­a­strophic ex­pe­ri­ences and the king does not en­joy the throne. Olori Ebi comes with the wis­dom of a sage and ad­vises peo­ple to wait for their turn and not be force­ful about seek­ing po­si­tions.

Faleti also fea­tured in the movie Ijaodola, writ­ten by Luk­man Ba­lo­gun and pro­duced by Je­witurn Movies Lim­ited in 2011, where he is the King, who joins the an­ces­tors and this leads to the strug­gle for the throne by the sons of the two Olori. He ap­pears to the two war­ring fac­tions, led by Ba­lo­gun and Ad­i­fala, pleads with them to de­sist from de­stroy­ing the town. He re­minds his sons of the charge he gave them years ago and en­cour­ages them to be brave and guile­less. He also warns them to be dis­cern­ing so that they will not be mis­led by praise-singers and their ad­vis­ers. This re­stores peace to the com­mu­nity even­tu­ally.

In 2015, Faleti stars as Asi­waju in the movie Eru­a­mukun ( Sin­softhe Father), writ­ten by Ke­hinde Olayinka and pro­duced by Olly-k Cul­ture and Her­itage Pre­sen­ta­tion. The movie is a re-en­act­ment of the jour­ney to in­de­pen­dence of Feyinkog­bon town from the Bri­tish colo­nial­ist. The movie re­flects the clam­our of Nige­ri­ans, metaphor­i­cally rep­re­sented by the Olug­bon, Arese and Oran­gun ag­i­ta­tors in the movie. The sage in Asi­waju makes him con­front the colo­nial­ist with the frank truth about the de­sire of the lo­cals for in­de­pen­dence and he is per­ma­nently si­lenced through a gun­shot. The colo­nial­ist also de­ploys di­vide and rule method to cre­ate con­flict among the ag­i­ta­tors by brand­ing them traitors.

Faleti was a tree full of di­ver­gent fruits; he be­longed to the gen­er­a­tion of those who did not hold back all their tal­ents to en­rich the world. From his writ­ings to his act­ing ca­reer to his ex­per­tise in spo­ken words, both in po­etry and in the broad­cast, he showed strength of char­ac­ter. Faleti was a staunch cul­tural colos­sus and his de­par­ture is a chal­lenge for this gen­er­a­tion to carry on the ba­ton of pro­mot­ing Yoruba cul­ture, lit­er­a­ture and lan­guage. Alagba Ade­bayo Faleti, orunireo!

• Iran­ti­ola is pr spe­cial­ist, at kùn, Yorùbálák tun, cre­ative writer, cul­ture ad­vo­cate, poet and cit­i­zen jour­nal­ist


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