Arts, Culture & Media

Remembering Nigerian Musician Fatai Rolling Dollar

A great musician from Nigeria died Wednesday.

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When we speak of Nigerian music, the names Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade come up a lot.

But this is guitarist Fatai Rolling Dollar. He performed the style known as 'highlife.'

It's from Ghana originally, but Nigerians loved it.

And without Fatai Rolling Dollar interpreting highlife, there'd likely be no Fela Kuti and many other well-known artists in Nigeria who were influenced by the sound.

Nigerian artist Ade Bantu recently produced a documentary, in which he profiled Fatai Rolling Dollar.

"Dollar was a subtle technician," Bantu said. "It wasn't about posing or showing off, he just played those riffs effortlessly you know. And you hear it when he plays. He's the quintessence of a genuine highlife musician. He was like a metronome, you know. And working with this kind of person, you're just like 'Wow!'"

The Nigerian newspaper "This Day" also noted that Dollar died on the same day as another famous Nigerian musician, Pa Benedict Odiase.

He was the composer of Nigeria's national anthem.

President Goodluck Jonathan paid tribute Thursday to both men.

Fatai Rolling Dollar had no birth certificate, but by most people's estimates, he was 86-years-old.

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