Bisade Ologunde, professionally known as Lagbaja, stands as an iconic figure in Nigerian music. Despite commencing his musical journey long before the late 1990s and early 2000s, Lagbaja achieved household fame during that era, captivating audiences with his unique musical style and enigmatic stage presence.
Draped in traditional attire reminiscent of masquerade costumes, Lagbaja’s distinctive stage persona features strategically placed openings around his nose and mouth. The aura of mystery surrounding him is further emphasized by his stage name, which translates to “Nobody.” Alternatively, it can be interpreted as “Faceless one” or “Anonymous,” reflecting his steadfast commitment to never revealing his face during performances—an aspect that has fueled intense speculation about his true identity.
Born on January 16, 1960, in Lagos, Nigeria, Bisade Olugunde hails from the Oyun local government area in Kwara state. Raised in a Baptist family, Lagbaja’s upbringing was shaped by the influence of his father, Deacon D. A Olugunde, a Baptist deacon who served in the cabinet of Kwara state’s first military administration.
Although details about Lagbaja’s early life and mother’s identity remain elusive, his education, received at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife, is a known facet. Keen on maintaining his anonymity, Lagbaja’s personal life is deliberately kept away from public scrutiny.
Lagbaja’s musical journey gained momentum in the early 1990s, marked by his self-taught mastery of the saxophone. Forming his first band in 1991, the group, influenced by 1960s high life music and Western jazz percussion instruments, achieved local acclaim. The release of their debut album, “The Colours Of The Rhythm,” in 1992 set the stage for Lagbaja’s ascendancy.
His breakthrough, however, came in 2000 with the double album “We and Me,” featuring outspoken critiques of Nigerian politicians and a call for transparency and unity. Lagbaja’s popularity soared, and subsequent albums garnered widespread acclaim.
Despite his musical success, Lagbaja guards his personal life closely. He is a married father with children, yet images of his wife remain elusive. The identity of his wife is a well-kept secret, mirroring Lagbaja’s commitment to privacy. Little is known about his children, except for Moyosade, who gained recognition after her marriage to Olamide Oblilana in 2013. Lagbaja attended the ceremony without his mask, but no photographs were allowed.
Moyosade, a management specialist based in the United States, holds a master’s degree in business administration from Pennsylvania State University. Currently residing in Manhattan, New York City, Lagbaja has established himself as a musical luminary in Nigeria.
Addressing the mystery behind Lagbaja’s concealed identity, a source shared insights, stating that Lagbaja, formerly part of a Baptist Church choir in Ilorin, faced opposition from his family due to their prominent Baptist affiliations. They believed his chosen musical path would bring disgrace to the family, prompting Lagbaja to adopt the mask as a protective measure.
The Ologundes trace their roots to Ijagbo near Offa in Kwara State, offering a glimpse into the background of this enigmatic musical legend.