From now to October 1st, 360nobs will be counting down our top 50 Naija songs that have been released from 1960 till date. Please stop by often to see those who made the final 50.
50: Oby Onyioha – I Want To Feel Your Love | 49: Junior & Pretty – Monika | 48: Dizzy K Falola – Baby Kilode
47: Ofege – Try & Love | 46: Remedies – Shakomo | 45: Alex Zito – Baby Walakolombo
44: Kris Okotie – I Need SomeOne | 43: Bright Chimezie – African Style | 42: Tony Tetuila – My Car
41: Chris Mba – Baby Don’t Cry
40: Felix Liberty – Ifeoma | 39: Olu Maintain ft LKT – Yahoozee | 38: Stephen Osita Osadebe – Osondi Owendi
37: Dr Victor Olaiya – Omo Pupa | 36: Evi Edna Ogholi – Happy Birthday | 35: Oliver De Coque – Identity
34: Mike Okri – Time Na Money | 33: Funmi Adams – Nigeria My Beloved Country | 32: Oritz Wiliki – Heart Of Stone
31: Harry Mosco – Sugar Cane Baby
Find below Positions 30 to 21. Please refer to the earlier article which includes our apologies, selection process and the rest.
Yup! Get Familiar!
No 30: Dan Maraya Jos – Gangar Bashi
For a long time in Nigeria, no national event or gathering has been deemed complete without the stage presence of Dan Maraya Jos, the one man band that never fails to capture and hold the attention of any audience. Named Adamu Wayya at birth, Dan Maraya Jos was born in 1946 in Bukuru near Jos in the present Plateau State of Nigeria. He lost his father, Mallam Wayya, a palace drummer and his mother in quick succession. His father died almost immediately after his birth while his mother died while he was still an infant.
After the death of his father, the Chief of Bukuru, in whose court Dan Maraya’s father played music, took over the responsibility of looking after young Adamu. The Chief made sure that Adamu was sent to a Quran school. Sadly, not long after, the Chief who had become young Adamu’s guardian and source of sustenance also died leaving Adamu to fend for himself at a tender age.
Faced with life’s challenges, young Adamu decided to follow the footsteps of his father and became a musician. After trying several instruments, he eventually settled for the Kuntigi, a locally made, small, single-stringed lute which for several decades was to become his signature instrument. In 1959, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and 1st Premier of the Northern Region financed Dan-Maraya’s debut record “Karan Mamota”. He sponsored the subsequent albums until his death in 1966.
With the Kutingi which he sometimes carries in the pocket of his agbada, the traditional flowing gown, Dan Maraya Jos liberated himself from obscurity as his outstanding voice and little instrument captured the imagination of people everywhere he performed. With his little instrument, Dan Maraya Jos (The Little Orphan of Jos) has toured the world many times over and entertained all kinds of royalty and Heads of State.
For many years this soloist in the Hausa language has been an important social critic and commentator. Many of his over 1000 songs celebrate his personal heroes rather than the rich and famous. A good example is one of his most famous songs – “Wak’ar Karen Mota” (“Song of the Driver’s Mate“).
“Gangar Bashi” which was translated loosely by my friend as Unsettled debt is one of my favourite Dan Maraya songs and I hope you like it too.
Dan Maraya Jos has won a string of awards, clearly more than any other artiste from the northern part of Nigeria. His awards include the United Nations Medal of Recognition in 1982 and 1984 respectively. He is also a 1990 Nigerian Music Awards winner. “The Little Orphan of Jos” has not only been conferred with the Nigerian national honour of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), he has been conferred with a PhD honoris causa degree in Law by the University of Jos. He is also the recipient of the United Nations Peace Award.
culled from COSON
No 29: Veno Marioghae – Nigeria Go Survive
(1984, “Nigeria Go Survive”, Tabansi Records)
Andrew, no check out o!
Back in 1984, when Delta State indigene Veno Marioghae, one of Nigeria’s rising stars dropped her album “Nigeria Go Survive” on Tabansi Records, no one thought that 26 years Nigeria would still be struggling with Economical Woes, Tribal & Religious Conflicts and lack of/deteriorated basic amenities like unresolved Power. Everything has definitely gone down-hill since.
“Nigeria Go Survive”, a disco/pop song detailing Nigeria’s vast human and natural potentials vis a vis the troubled reality, she held strongly that Nigeria would survive the obstacles one way or another. Released in the days when the military was in power and despite the oil wealth, the economy virtually stagnated. The song was quite timely as it was released at a time when the future of Nigeria looked bleak and no one knew what the next day had in stock. With the song, Nigeria go survive, Veno calmed the nerves of many Nigerians who had given up hope on the country. The song also spoke to those who had planned to leave Nigeria, to stay behind and help build the country. It was a very big hit back in the 80s through the 90s and into the 21st Century where a 2010 version by DMSquared featuring J’odie has been released with similar ideologies.
As patriotic as the song might be, many criticised her, for being the mouth piece of the government. Some saw her as a diversion set up by the government, when there were mounting pressures on the government to better the lives of Nigerians.
She had other hit songs like “Thank You Jah” and the Isoko “Iwa Ti Yo”. She would go on to release a 2nd successfully album with the hit song “Siobo Nome”. She left the music scene in the early nineties.
She is happily married with 3 children and currently works as an administrative worker in her church – Grace Assembly. She is currently working on album at her own pace and hopes to publish her written work soon.
culled mostly from her interview with Hazeez Balogun of Nigerian Compass Newspaper
No 28: Sunny Neji – Oruka
(2003, “Unchained”, Blue Pie)
Born on October 24, 1965 in Lagos to Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Neji, Sunny Neji, the youngest of five kids (3 boys, 2 girls) had his primary education between 1972 and 1978 in Ogoja, Cross River State, his home town. He completed his secondary education at Government, College, Ikorodu, Lagos in 1984 and proceeded to Yaba college of Technology where he obtained a Diploma in fashion design.
Sunny Neji’s active involvement with music began at an early stage. His parents’ love for music and his ol’ man’s collection of classic records provided the initial tonic. As a boy, he participated in cultural performances and steadily developed the talent through the course of his formal education. By 1987, he took his game one step further and ventured into recording earning a reputation in the jungle production scene in no time. 1991 brought the release of his debut album “Captain” on EMI.
The debut was slept on but the artiste was undaunted. He joined Colours Band with which he performed as lead singer for five years and inched his way further into the mainstream. He made a grand return to the recording circuit in 1997 with the release of his sophomore LP “Mr Fantastik” on GM Intercontinental Records and firmly established himself a bona fide star whose fame stretched from Maiduguri to Bakassi. The album sold hugely and won numerous awards for the artiste who came to be recognized as one of Nigeria’s top all-round artistes.
His 3rd offering “Roforofo” dropped in October 2000 on the same label and consolidated Sunny’s position as the contemporary highlife genre’s premiere protagonist and further showcased an already glaring steak of versatility.
In 2002, Sunny Neji lent a hand and voice to Now Muzik’s “Touch of Genius: Tribute Album to the Legendary Sir, Victor Uwaifo” project and scored again with his re-interpretation of the classic “Joromi”.
After narrowly escaping the January 27, 2002 Ikeja bomb blast disaster, Sunny Neji raised his golden voice in a piercing call for support for victims with the single “Victim of Circumstance”. The project marked his involvement with O’Jez Music, the company that came all out to support the Victim of Circumstance Project. The socially sensitive artiste also recorded the single “Wake Up!” in 2003 to challenge Nigerians to vote right in the general elections.
These special projects set the tune for his forth full length album, “Unchained”, recorded in Ghana in 2003, released on O’Jez Music, “Oruka” and “Face Me” the pre-release singles needed only a few days to completely dominate the airwaves and assure everyone that another monster hit has dropped.
Every generation needs its classics as they form a legacy for future generations. “Oruka” (wedding band) is one such song, which can be referred to as a timeless classic as it has become the theme wedding song in Nigeria and several African Countries. The next couple of years saw “Unchained” blow up to become one of the most celebrated albums in recent times from Nigeria to other parts of Africa and helped him to win several awards.
His latest work is called “Off Da Hook” and was released in 2006 and is strong in terms of creativity and strong beliefs that permeates the pop climate and our daily lives in general.
Sunny Neji is happily married with a daughter. One thing is certain – Sunny Neji is totally committed to his art and intends to keep upping the ante in every regards until he completely runs out of gas.
culled mostly from Sunny Neji’s myspace page
No 27: Bongos Ikwue – Still Searching
(1978, “Still Searching“, EMI Nigeria)
Bongos Ikwue, the music legend was born in Otukpo, Benue State, Nigeria, on the 6th of June 1942. In 1956, he attended St, Paul’s Secondary school in Zaria, Nigeria, where his friends called him “Forge” because he was always making up (forging) and singing his own songs. In 1962, While at Okene Comprehensive Secondary School, he formed a group called Cubana Boys with two other young boys, after which he headed off to the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), also in Zaria, Kaduna State, where he studied Business Administration.
While in ABU, he created his own band, called UniBello Brothers and also sang in a folk group, which was made up of university lecturers during which time, a chemistry lecturer, Mrs. Harmony taught him some Irish songs. In 1967 he founded and headed the Groovies band, which became extremely popular in the 1970’s through to the 80’s.
Many love him for his soulful, folksy songs, the most popular of which includes: “Cockcrow At Dawn”, “Still Searching”, “Amen”, “Otachikpokpo” and a host of others. His dedication to his music was obvious due to the high quality of the albums he churned out, and due to the sheer elegance and the electrifying energy of his live performances, where the band was always on key, and the musician himself was always true to every note. His ability to stay on the right note is an indicator of his hard work as a musician.
“Still Searching” was an exceptional bluesy funk number and was from the album with the same title and was released on EMI in
Apart from the raw beauty of his finely honed voice, another thing that set the musical genius apart is his dedication to the promotion of Africa and African values, by his continuous use of his native Idoma language in his songs. He is well loved by a vast majority of Nigerians with a fan base that cuts across language barriers and ethnic tension; he also has an international fan base. This is mainly because Bongos’ music genre is not easily deciphered. He is also a master of the African ideals he chooses to express.
Bongos Ikwue was always original; he never tried to imitate any artist, local or international and focused on perfecting his chosen genre. The icon never rushed to produce any song and it is this conscientiousness that ensured that he produced hit after hit without fail. Without warning or an explanation, the music icon hung up his guitar and walked away from it all.
He decided to focus more on the home front with his lovely wife and 5 children (4 girls and 1 boy). Now, after several years of absence from the music scene, during which time there was a lot of speculation regarding the man, he is set to release a new album with remakes and remixes of his old classics as well as some new songs, but the most intriguing aspect of his return is that he is returning with his family members; featured on this new album are two of his daughters who he has been working with for quite some time now.
The legend is back, and like fine wine, he can only have gotten better with time.
culled mostly from Bongos Ikwue’s website
No 26: Blackky – Rosie
(1991, “About Tyme”, Premiere Music)
Very few Nigerian albums stand the test of time. One of the few is Blackky‘s 1991 debut, “About Tyme” on Premiere Music. While multiple hit albums make a throwback of a particular one a difficult task, his success story is incomplete without mention of his 1st.
Born Nya Edward Inyang, he stormed the Nigerian music scene with his fluid raga raps, zest and dance-friendly hit songs, all of which were almost impossible to ignore or go unnoticed. He began his musical career as a DJ in 1986 during his undergraduate days as a Sociology student at the University of Lagos.
Inyang, however, got his break in 1990 when he contested and won the Lekki Sun Splash talent hunt contest which earned him a record deal with Polygram Records.
The album “About Tyme” produced a number of hits like “Blackky Skank” and the sexually charged “Sugar Stick” but it also produced what would remain the biggest hit of his whole career “Rosie” which featured opening lines that became a toast at many a nightclub. Many wouldn’t forget in a hurry the song’s chorus, “Can I have a dance, Rosie? Ah ah! My friends are watching me, Rosie ah ah ah. They will laugh-laugh at me, Rosie,” which caught on in no time and won many awards.
Between 1991 and 2005, he released six albums and won many awards. Other hits were the funny track “Bang Belly” the duet with Esse Agesse “Kissing Game” & “S&M”.
Blackky is still very active in the music industry having released his 6th album “Reggae Icon” in 2009. The artist got a career boost earlier in the year when he got a KORA Awards nomination. It is almost 2 decades since his debut album was released but I’m guessing that “Rosie” will stay a classic for a longer while.
culled mostly from Blackky’s interview with 234Next
No 25: P Square – No One Like U
(2007, “Game Over”, Squared Records)
Peter & Paul they be 1, no be 2.
The history of the Nigerian music industry will not be completed without the chapter of the group P-Square. If achievements are one of the yard sticks to measure the success of artistes, P-square will remain number one on the chart of all research groups. They have defied the odds, weathered the storm and re-written the history of the Nigerian music industry. P-Square are one of the most popular artistes in this current decade to come out of Nigeria.
Paul & Peter Okoye come from Ifite Dunu, Anambra and were born on November 18, 1981. P-Square’s entry into the Music Industry started during their school days at St. Murumba College Jos. They formed a dancing group in 1997 called Smooth Criminals who mainly danced and mimed songs by Michael Jackson, MC Hammer & Bobby Brown. They would go on to form an acapella quartet called MMPP with 2 of their friends – Michael and Melvin. The group broke up leaving behind the two Ps – Peter & Paul who went to music school to develop their skills on keyboard, drums, bass and rhythm guitar.
The duo in 1999 applied to the University of Abuja to study Business Administration. Peter and Paul formed their own group called Double P. They further change their name to P&P and Da Pees before eventually settling for P-Square. In 2001, P-Square won the “Grab Da Mic” competition; as a result their 2003 debut album titled “Last Nite” with the hit single “Kolo” got sponsored by Benson & Hedges and was released under Timbuk2 music label which was the launch-pad they needed to propel themselves to stardom. They not only won the heart of the music enthusiast but also held them spellbound with their electrifying stage performances. In 2005, P Square released their second album, “Get Squared” under their own label, Square Records. The track “Bizzy Body(remix)” which featured Weird MC in 2006 was massive in Nigeria and all over Africa.
In 2007, they dropped their best selling album so far “Game Over”. It was reported by the Marketing Handlers to have sold 8 million copies. With massive hits like “No One Like U”, “Do Me” & “Roll It”, their ever growing fan base exploded all across Africa. “No One Like U” produced by Pepperize is a commercial success and will probably remain one of their evergreen songs for eons to come. Brides seem to think they are in a club when this cut drops @ weddings.
Hello how you doing/ my angel my one and only the only one that am missing
In 2009, P-Square released their fourth studio album “Danger” which has also been reported to have gone platinum. The first single with the same name bears the trademark of what the Twins have been known for – copy-cats (baseline very similar to Eminem’s “Without Me”). They can be destined for Immortal Greatness like my friend Udeme (©Guinness) if only they can drop an album with all samples cleared cos I truly think that even when they sample, they still tweak it alot to make it sound more refreshing
They have won many Awards and were nominated by BET for the 2010 Best International Act. In April 2010, P-Square won the Artist of the Year Award and the whopping sum of $1 Million Dollars at the KORA All Africa Music Awards in Ouagadougou, Burkina-Faso.
culled mostly from wikipedia
No 24: Daddy Showkey – Diana
(1999, “The Ghetto Soldier“)
Ajegunle or AJ City as it is famously referred to, has been home to a number of stars, most notably, John Odafe Asiemo, better known as Daddy Showkey. Not only was he about the most successful act to come out of AJ City, he helped set the pace for other acts to follow whilst putting his sprawling neighbourhood on the map.
Growing up in Ajegunle, amidst poverty and turmoil, he discovered his passion at a tender age especially as his father was a show promoter. He began entertaining people before his father’s death when he was nine, starting out as an acrobat, then came boxing, acting, comedy, dancing, and finally, singing. Following his father’s death, his mother and grandmother struggled to raise him and his siblings. At 11 years old, he left home and took to the streets to live with his friends, all living from hand to mouth, although at some point, he did work as a bus conductor. While in Dr. Lucas Memorial Grammar School, Kirikiri Town, Lagos, he was involved in boxing and had the opportunity to represent his school at various competitions, winning laurels in the process. In the early 80s, he was given an opportunity to perform as an acrobat on the now rested NTA TV series, The New Village Headmaster.
His real musical journey began in 1990 with Pretty Busy Boys, a group which comprised of himself, Daddy Fresh, Cashman Davies and Sexy Pretty, which sparked the beginning of a musical revolution with their debut album “Big Belle” but the group split shortly after.
In 1992, unsure of a career in music, he joined the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna, where he spent a year and six months but left when ex-band mate, Daddy Fresh wrote a letter saying he wanted them to do a song together called “Follow Me“. The track was a hit. In 1994, the Delta State indigene, dropped his solo debut effort titled “Welcome”. The album spawned many hits, brought him fame and wealth and also provided a ray of hope for a number of Ajegunle youth to pursue their musical dreams. The song and tune of his popular hit track “Welcome” announced his arrival and the success brought many concerts and tours.
In 1999, he dropped “Ghetto Soldier” which earned him countless awards and laurels. The biggest reason for this was his juggernaut hit “Diana” which everyone fell in love with. As the years went by, he clinched product endorsement deals such as Lotto Nigeria and Globacom.
Daddy Showkey aka “Galala King” was the first artist to start the Nigerian Dancehall style. Instead of using the Jamaican patois, Daddy Showkey decided to use pidgin English for his music and invented a dance style that changed the Nigerian dancehall scene. “Galala” became one of the most popular dances not only in his home country. Showkey is an outstanding stage performer and turned into a role model for all recognized Nigerian artists.
Besides his musical talents, he has always been at the forefront of the struggle for better living for Ajegunle residents. He exhibited this by leading a peaceful protest march to the then National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) office to draw attention to the lack of electricity supply for nine months. The move paid off and electricity was restored. As a result of his hood’s love for him, he was conferred with the title of “Aare Onifaji of Ajegunle” which means the king of enjoyment. He also established a scholarship scheme for Ajegunle children.
Daddy Showkey dropped a new album called “TAKE 5ive” in 2007 under Ojez Music with a number of songs produced by OJB Jezreel. It didn’t do so well. Word is that he’s in the studio working on a new album to be titled “Big Daddy”. Let’s hope this time we can clear road for jagajaga. EJO!
culled mostly from 234Next
No 23: Femi Kuti – Beng Beng Beng
(1998, “Shoki Shoki”, Barclay)
Born 16 June 1962 in London and raised in Lagos, the son of Afro-beat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Femi Kuti’s musical career started when he began playing in his father’s band, Egypt 80. In 1986, Femi started his own band, Positive Force, and began establishing himself as an artist independent of his father’s massive legacy. In the mid-’90s, Motown offered him a record deal with its boutique label, Tabu. Femi’s eponymous debut album “Femi Kuti” resulted. Released in 1995, the album won praise throughout Europe and Africa for offering a more streamlined and accessible version of his father’s music. Femi embarked on an extended promotional tour, crossing first Africa, then Europe in 1996 and 1997. His solo career was off to a successful start, despite the dissolution of Motown’s Tabu label and Femi’s record deal with it.
Since few artists can match his father’s legacy of not only music but influence, Femi’s relation as his son is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it’s never been difficult for Femi to garner press or attention, and MCA went out of its way to push his career with ridiculous amounts of publicity. Yet on the other hand, no matter his individual accomplishments, Femi will forever be known as Fela’s son.
Practicing a similar style of Afro-beat as his father, Femi helped introduce the percussive blend of jazz and funk music to the international masses beginning in the mid 90s, along with his father’s same sense of political activism. After his father’s death in 1997, Femi suddenly found himself the subject of immense attention. He responded by signing with MCA and embarking on his solo career beginning with Shoki Shoki. He won tremendous critical celebration around the world and began making efforts to break into the U.S. mainstream in successive years.
However, this problem became the least of Femi’s concerns when his father sadly died of AIDS-related complications in 1997. Shortly afterwards, his sister, Sola, also suffered an untimely death, making 1997 a truly dark year for Femi. He would later write “’97,” a song that candidly reflects on this particularly tragic time.
Yet with tragedy comes opportunity in the world of music, and Femi ultimately signed a major-label record deal with Polygram in December 1997, only months after his father’s death. MCA made the most out of the situation, repackaging, and re-releasing much of Fela’s catalog and setting the stage for Femi’s MCA debut album in the process. Following months of press and hype, MCA released “Shoki Shoki” in early 1999 to widespread acclaim from a number of esteemed publications like the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Vibe, not to mention other smaller publications.
The massive yet controversial “Beng Beng Beng” was an instant hit with its fast paced and furiously upbeat mix of jazz, funk, Salsa and Juju beats to create a Afro-beat fusion. The song “ Beng Beng Beng” was banned in Nigeria due to its sexually charged content that is only 2nd to Memoirs of a slu…shhkid
A year later, Femi returned with his second album “Fight to Win”, and toured the States with Jane’s Addiction in an effort to cross over to a more mainstream audience. Part of this crossover effort meant aligning himself closer to hip-hop and its sizable audience. “Fight to Win” featured a number of respected rap artists like Mos Def and Common. As expected, critics celebrated the album. Over the next decade, several recordings of live shows and compilations were released, but for the most part — with the exception of making a vocal cameo as a radio station DJ in Grand Theft Auto IV — he avoided the recording studio, opting to tour instead. In 2008, he re-emerged with his first album in seven years, “Day by Day”, a definitive album that helped to establish Femi as a true original with his own unique style
culled mostly from The Shrine website
No 22: Nelly Uchendu & Mike Obianwu – Love Nwantinti-ada Eze-onye Nwulu Ozuluike
(1976, “Love Nwantinti”)
To many, the name Nelly Uchenna may not ring a bell, but hum the song “Love Nwantiti” and smiles would spread on the faces of her admirers. “Love Nwantiti” was that hit song that brought prominence to Nelly Uchendu. Nelly, who lived all her life in Enugu, would also be remembered for “Waka,” another hit song that clearly established her as the Golden Voice of the Nigerian music industry.
Nelly Uzonna Uchendu gained fame as a talented modernizer of traditional Igbo folk music from Umuchu, Aguata LGA, Enugu State, but her career has touched at least three other bases in the Nigerian music scene – highlife, English-language “pop” and Christian religious music. Uchendu’s career blossomed during the regime of old Anambra State Governor Jim Nwobodo (79-83), who was rumored to be her paramour. During this period she also had a highly-praised appearance in London with Warrior and his Original Oriental Brothers.
“Love Nwantinti”, Uchendu’s first LP, is the recording that put her on the map after some years of celebrity in her native Enugu. It is actually credited to Nelly Uchendu and pianist/organist Mike Obianwu, and what a combination it is! “Love Nwantinti” is one of the few African records feature classic piano play prominently.
Uncle Mike was not a well-known musician. He is remembered mainly for his stellar piano work on Nelly Uchendu’s famous LP Love Nwantinti (Homzy HCE 005, 1976), and the great irony of this achievement is that the album was originally credited to Obianwu himself, with Uchendu playing only a supporting role. After Uchendu’s acclaimed debut at FESTAC ’77 in Lagos, the album was reissued with a new cover credited to “Nelly Uchendu and Mike Obianwu.” He released one other album in his own name, Crashes in Love.
The liner notes state that Obianwu had 45 years of experience under his belt as of 1976. Indeed, I’m wondering if he is the uncredited pianist featured on Celestine Ukwu’s classic LP True Philosophy (Philips 6361 009, 1971). Producer H.N. Nnamchi writes, “. . . As some of these evergreen tunes gradually fading away hence I called Nelly and ‘Uncle’ Mike Obianwu to make this evergreen, exciting, top hits into an album for me and you to own in our own individual record library. . .”
The LP opens up with a medley of three tunes, actually part of a six-song medley that comprises Side 1 of Love Nwantinti. In “Love Nwantinti” (“Small Love“), Nelly sings “My life’s journey of love (“ije love“) needs just a little more time.” In “Ada Eze” (“The Chief’s Daughter”) she beseeches her best friend, “Ada Eze, come tell me what I should do in this world. What you have in your heart is love. . .” The chorus, “onyi mu oma” means “my best friend.” Finally, in “Onye Nwulu Ozuluike” (“When Somebody Dies, They Rest”), she sings “A bus has taken Joy to Sokoto in the North [“ugwu Hausa”]. A guest has no enemies. If another animal sees a monkey jumping and tries to jump himself he will be hurt. When somebody dies, they rest”
Honoured with the National Honour, Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), Nelly Uchendu, whose last moment on earth was spent battling the Anambra State government for gratuity, joined her ancestors after a brief illness. The news of her death spread like a wild fire and sent shock waves across Nigeria. Friday, May 20, 2005 was blackout for the music industry as friends, relations and colleagues gathered in Ogidi for the final burial rites. It was tears galore. Emotions were high. Sadness and agony were in the faces of the people around. That was at Ogidi, Anambra State, at the burial of Mrs. Nelly Uzonna Ikpeze (Nee Uchendu). Nelly died at the age of 55 after a brief illness. It was a very solemn ceremony as her family, colleagues, friends and well-wishers assembled to pay her last respects, and it was tribute galore, as well
Uncle Mike passed away in July, 2009
lifted off Likembe
No 21: IK Dairo – Mo Sorire
Born in Offa, Kwara State, I.K. Dairo joined his first juju band in 1942, and spent the next ten years as a migrant laborer and cloth trader, while continuing to perform music on the side. In 1956 he returned to his family’s home town, Ijebu-Ijesha, and formed his first band, the Morning Star Orchestra. In 1959 the band was rechristened the Blue Spots, a name retained until Mr. Dairo’s death.
Mr. Dairo’s meteoric rise paralleled the emergence of Nigeria as an independent nation (1960), and his music still symbolizes that period for many Nigerians. Kings, Ambassadors, Businessmen, Heads of state all counted themselves among his fans. Beginning in the late 1950s, he introduced new elements into juju music, including the ten-button accordion and Latin-derived rhythms. At the same time, Dairo conducted research into the oral traditions of the various Yoruba sub-groups. His ability to extend the appeal of juju music across ethnic lines while at the same time reaffirming the genre’s links to ‘deep’ Yoruba culture lay at the heart of his success. Dairo was also a brilliant arranger, one of the first African musicians to master the 3-minute song form, required by the recording technology of the time.
Another source of Dairo’s appeal was his skill as a composer. His songs covered a range of topics: “Salome,” a love song in praise of a young woman with “eyes like traps and teeth as white as cowries”; “O Wuro Lojo,” a song about the value of hard work (” The morning of a person’s life is like the foundation of a house–lay it on rock, not on shifting sand”); and the 1963 song “Ka Sora,” in which Dairo prophesied the Nigerian Civil War years before the outbreak of military hostilities. Mr. Dairo said that songs often came to him at night, in dreams, borne upon the wind and the wings of angels.
In 1963 Queen Elizabeth awarded Dairo the MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his contributions to the culture of the Commonwealth. He is the only African musician ever to recieve such an honor. In 1966 a music poll was held in Spear, a popular Nigerian magazine, and I. K. Dairo won handily. The readers’ responses convey some sense of his enormous appeal: “Sensible hedonist. . Dairo’s consistent drumming, sedulouslity, impartiality and unservitudeness make him the Shakespeare of Music. An earthly god of music!”; “His music contains a lot of the up and down of his world. It teaches us knowledge, moral spirits and other things.” “His is music without tears.”
Chief Dairo was well respected by his peers and fans throughout Nigeria. In January 1991 over 2,000 people turned out to celebrate Dairo’s 60th Birthday and his “official retirment” from music. Among the crowd were all of Nigeria’s top musicians civic and business leaders. Less than a month later he recieved an invitation to come on tour of North America and so posponed his retirement to take the Blue Spots on the first of three North American tours.
In the 1970s and 80s, Mr. Dairo continued to develop his cosmopolitan-traditionalist approach to juju music, touring England, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Russia, Japan, and North America. He worked for the welfare of musicians, helping to found the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) and serving as President of the Nigerian chapter of the Performing Rights Society (PRS). The leader of a burgeoning syncretic Christian movement in Lagos, he was subject of several published biographies. Mr . Dairo’s final professional position was as a member of the Ethnomusicology faculty at the University of Washington (Seattle) in 1994-95.
At the time of his death Dairo and the Blue Spots were working on material for a new album. Using material he composed during his stay in the U.S., Dairo was ecstatic about recording this new material influenced by contact with musicians from all over the world. Unfortunately, that record was never to be.
Isaiah Kehinde (I. K.) Dairo, MBE, the Nigerian musician and religious leader, died Thursday (February 7, 1996) in Efon-Alaiye, near Akure, Nigeria. He was 65.
lifted off Andrew C Frankel’s article found on Youtube
Stick around folks the next 2 days promise to be really exciting