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Renowned Cultural Icon, Jimi Solanke Dies At 82



Jimi Solanke

Jimi Solanke, a well-known cultural icon, passed away.

Following a brief illness, the 82-year-old dramatist, folk singer, playwright, and poet passed away in the early hours of Monday, February 5. This information has reached DDM News. Traveling to the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, he passed away.

Jimi Solanke was born in Ipara Remo on July 4, 1942. He started his artistic career as a pioneer member of the Orisun Theatre Group, which Wole Soyinka created in 1961. Over the course of seven decades, he made a significant impact on a variety of platforms, from Western Nigeria Television in the 1960s to international festivals in Senegal and Algeria in the 1970s.

Epic performances including “Death and the King’s Horseman,” “Kurunmi,” “Kongi’s Harvest,” “The Divorce,” and “Ovaramwen Nogbaisi” showcased Solanke’s flexibility.

His mesmerizing stage presence and dramatic genius brought him notoriety and honors on a national and worldwide scale.

During a performance of Wole Soyinka’s “Kongi’s Harvest,” he was praised as a “Skilled Nigerian Actor” by the Oxford Times and named the star of a “Excellent Troupe” by the New York Times.

Known by his loving nickname, Baba Agba, Solanke was not just an actor but also a master storyteller, visual artist, songwriter, and performer.

Those who saw his captivating performances described him as “a better singer than an actor.” He frequently referred to himself as a “actor-singer,” fusing his acting talent with musical delivery.

Since Solanke founded and served as the artistic director of Ibudo Asa in Ipara Remo, Remo North Local Government, Ogun State, Nigeria, his influence went beyond the stage and film.

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He leaves a lasting legacy that touches the hearts of everyone who were fortunate enough to see his artistic talent.

Jimi Solanke’s death signifies the end of an era in Nigerian entertainment, leaving a gap that will be felt for years to come. He is survived by his wife, Chief Mrs. Toyin Solanke.

The extraordinary cultural ambassador will always be recognized for his services to enhancing the rich cultural legacy of the country, leaving an enduring mark on the history of African arts.

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