Elemure Ogunyemi

Elemure Ogunyemi; Ekiti-centric traditional musician from Nigeria. Elemure made more than 50 records, with Seramo in which he talked about petrol scarcity, shooting him into stardom. Because of this, he was invited to USA, Poland and Germany by the Ekiti indigenes living there.  He passed on at the age of 70 in 2014.



Though identified with a very native genre, Elemure to his surprise saw his kind of music take him around the world. In 1996, he performed in Poland during an international trade fair. In 1997, Ekiti Parapo group in New York invited him and for three months he was there with 17 of his boys.  In 1989 he spent six weeks performing in London.


Places of Growth

Elemure attended St. Paul’s Catholic School where he led the school’s band. In 1966, he left home for Lagos to learn plumbing, but he saw people laying pipes in dirty gutters and decided he would prefer welding. Due to his poor financial situation, however, he dropped out. Elemure later went to Federal Ministry of Finance where he was employed first as a messenger, then a clerical assistant.



As it is all too common among singers, there were rumours of rivalry between Femi Ariyo and Elemure.


Sometime in 1972, Elemure was at the Nigeria Television Authority to perform his music, thereafter, he started getting late night shows which started affecting his job as he dozed off frequently in the office. Consequently, in 1976, Elemure withdrew from service and was paid one-year salary, about £864. He used the money to purchase instruments. In 1974, Elemure waxed his first record, titled Irawo mi le. He also did Berekete in 1975[i].


[i] Tell February 266, 2001

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer