LAGOS – Nigerian musician Fatai Rolling Dollar, whose West African highlife music, sexual boasts and infectious guitar playing made him a beloved figure in his country, died Wednesday at 86, a government official said.
The guitarist and singer, whose real name was Fatai Olagunju, had fallen into obscurity after highlife’s popularity faded decades ago, only to have his career revitalized recently by tradition-minded musicians. He continued playing energetic concerts into his 80s, usually sporting sunglasses, and often boasted of his sexual prowess.
He once said he had 15 children, with the youngest born only a few years ago — the result of an “adventure” on the sidelines of a concert in Germany, according to him.
In highlife’s golden era, Fatai was a nationally celebrated performer. Highlife music, born in Ghana in the early 1900s, reached its peak in the West African region in the 1950s and early 1960s.
The West African dance music is similar in sound to Caribbean calypso and often satirizes modern life.