" ITREALMS: Inter'l writers mourn passage of folklorist Jim Solanke - ITREALMS

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Inter'l writers mourn passage of folklorist Jim Solanke - ITREALMS

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The International Writers Association (IWA) said its deeply saddened by the loss of the beloved folklorist, Jimi Solanke, who passed away in the early hours of Monday, February 5, after a brief illness. Solanke, affectionately known as 'Uncle Jimi', departed while en route to the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital. His passing marks the end of an era for Nigeria's cultural landscape.
Inter'l writers mourn passage of folklorist Jim Solanke - ITREALMS
In a heartfelt statement issued by the Acting President of the International Writers Association, Wole Adedoyin, Jimi Solanke was celebrated as a multifaceted artist whose talents spanned songwriting, acting, performance, visual art, poetry, and storytelling. His distinctive style, characterized by a resonant, golden voice accompanied by guitar melodies, captivated audiences of all ages across generations.
Uncle Jimi's presence was ubiquitous in major stage productions both in Nigeria and internationally. His contributions to iconic plays such as "Death and the King’s Horseman," "Kurunmi," "Chattering and the Song," and "Kongi’s Harvest" solidified his status as a legendary figure in the theatrical realm. Moreover, his appearances on Nigerian television, spanning six decades, cemented his place in the hearts of millions.

Born on July 4, 1942, in Lagos, Jimi Solanke was nurtured by luminaries such as Wole Soyinka, Ola Rotimi, Akin Euba, Peggy Harper, Dapo Adelugba, and Demas Nwoko. As one of the inaugural graduates of The School of Drama at the University of Ibadan, later evolving into the Department of Theatre Arts, Solanke's impact on African arts education is immeasurable. His tenure at the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) further solidified his legacy.

According to the release, Solanke's artistic repertoire extended beyond the stage, encompassing musical compositions like "Onile Gogoro," "Eje ka jo," "Jenrokan," and "Na today you come." His collaboration with Ralph MacDonald on "The Path," recorded in New York in 1977, showcased his versatility and global reach. Additionally, Solanke served as a consultant for esteemed organizations such as UNICEF, UNFPA, and contributed significantly to Theatre for Development initiatives.

The International Writers Association extended its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and admirers of Jimi Solanke during this time of profound loss. His indelible mark on Nigerian culture and the global artistic community will endure for generations to come. Solanke's legacy will continue to inspire aspiring writers, performers, and storytellers worldwide, ensuring that his spirit lives on through the timeless beauty of his work.

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