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‘Mother Africa’ singer, Prince B, dies at 77

A veteran singer, Prince Bola Agbana, a.k.a Prince B, is dead.

The ‘Mother Africa’ crooner died on Wednesday after a protracted illness at his Ijanikin residence in Lagos State.

According to his first son, Sunmisola Agbana, who confirmed his death in an exclusive chat with The PUNCH on Saturday, the singer who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015 battled with the illness before being bedridden since 2019.

Prince B during his hay days

Sunmisola revealed that after being diagnosed, he underwent a series of treatments over the years, yet his health condition continued to deteriorate, which culminated in his eventual death on Wednesday.

He said, “It is with profound gratitude to the will of God that we announce the passing of the legendary musician, Prince Bolarinwa Agbana – Prince B – on Wednesday, August 16, 2023. Prince B, as he was fondly called was a beloved figure in the music industry, whose timeless melodies touched the hearts of millions around the world.

Prince B and his Jambos Express Band
Prince B and his Jambos Express Band

“He succumbed to complications related to Parkinson’s disease, an ailment he had valiantly battled for several years. He approached this challenging journey with the same grace, resilience, and unwavering spirit that characterised his music. His courage in the face of adversity served as an inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing him.

“We will like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the doctors, caregivers, family members and well-wishers who supported Prince Bolarinwa during his battle with Parkinson’s.

He added, “We request privacy during this difficult time as we grieve the loss of our beloved father, husband, and friend.

“As we mourn his loss, we celebrate the enduring impact of his music and the indelible mark he has left on our hearts.

“Details regarding burial arrangements will be announced in due course.”

Mourning the loss of her husband who she described as her “source of love, strength, and continuous support”, the singer’s wife, Margaret, said his love and memory would forever remain in her heart.

“Death is inevitable to all, my beloved husband has passed and God allowed it.

“He was not just my partner in life but also my source of love, strength, and continuous support. His memory will forever shine brightly in my heart, and I am grateful for the precious moments we shared together”, she said.

Born on September 23, 1946, Prince B embarked on his musical journey at a young age with the Moon Rakers Band in the early 70’s.

Front Cover of his 1991 Aire Mambo Album
Front Cover of his 1991 Aire Mambo Album

He might hardly be the most immediately recognisable name in the constellation of Nigerian music stars, but for a significant portion of the last half-century, he laboured in the shadows, dutifully serving as one of the key movers in its development.

He is an early and respected exponent of funk, a catalyst in the retrofit of drums into juju as a modern genre. He is recognised as the founder, leader, drummer and principal vocalist of the SJOB Movement.

Prince B eventually achieved international acclaim for his popular hit song “Mother Africa” with his Jambos Express Band. His soulful compositions will forever be etched in the annals of Nigerian music history.

Throughout his music career, Prince B used his music artistry to not only entertain but also to advocate causes close to his heart. He was an ardent advocate of peace, love & prosperity for the African continent.

In addition to his musical prowess, he will be remembered for his generosity and unification efforts wherever he went.

In his words, “Music has the power to heal and unite.”

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