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OT: Babatunde Olatunji passes on
I just recieved the very sad news that the wonderful
Nigerian drummer and Emissary for Peace and Community,
Babatunde Olatunji passed on after a long series of health
Baba was an amazing spirit!!! He put desire to unify people
above any other thing in his work and was an Ambassador for
World Peace and multi-cultural diversity and love.
He was as much a spiritual father to me as a drumming father, even though
I toured and recorded with him for a while and first was attracted to him
because of his drumming skills.
He was also the first adult male who ever approved of me and my musical
life and gave me the courage and support to become a true artist. He
nurtured me and he loved me like a son and,indeed, went on to become
my official godfather. He called me 'captain'. Why, I'll never be sure
it felt good to me.
One day, many years ago, he called Arthur Hull (the famous community drum
circle facilitator) and I together for a breakfast business meeting and
asked if I would become his official world touring manager in a dual role
a performing member of his ensemble. I was flattered beyond belief but
felt that I really wanted to be an artist and humbly turned him down. He
was very gracious and supportive of me then, even though it didn't serve
purposes to have me turn him down.
At that meeting, he was reading a newspaper headline about the then
president, George Bush, Sr. I made some scathing remark about how much I
George Bush's politics. Baba scolded me and said, "No, no, captain, I
pray for the president every single day when I shower".
I was aghast........."But Baba, He is doing horrible things to people
around the world in the name of our country".
And he replied............"He is the president of this country and people
all over the world look to him for his views, so every single day I pray
that he does the right thing...........I pray that he makes the most
compassionate and selfless decisions that will affect the people of this
country and the world. I pray that he can become a great leader."
His response completely changed me. Before this point, I had feared and
resented and hated the people in power who abuse their power. I suddenly
you praying for them to do the right things represented a paradigm shift in
the way I looked at politics and change. Baba showed me that the way you
comport yourself in your life has everything to do with the ability of
things to change for the positive.
If what the Dalai Lama says is true (and I believe it is), that there is
us and then, but that there is only US", then it means our work is cut out
for us in this lifetime for, as Michael Franti of Spearhead says,
Peace amongst human beings on this planet will take many generations to
accomplish.............consequently we need to dedicate our selves to a
work in an attempt to create the world that some day, long after we are
gone, will make the world a better place...............the place that we
wish was here today."
God bless you Baba...................Thank you for everything, old
man......I love you.