Among several forms of indigenous music, Fuji and Juju are two of its most important sounds. Because they are born from Yoruba communities, there has been some misunderstanding about which is which, and whether Juju came first, or if it was the other way round.
The first Juju recordings were created in the 1920s by AbdulRafiu Babatunde King, who popularly went by Tunde King. The Iya Ilu, the talking drum, is Juju’s dominant instrument and even years later, artists like King Sunny Ade would make it a brand trademark. Sir Shina Peters was perhaps the genre’s most popular artist in the 90s, leading a charge aptly named “Shinamania”.
Whereas Juju music was popularized in Ibadan, Oyo state, and performed in mostly market zones, Fuji was conceived from the inner boroughs of Lagos Island. Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister is widely considered as its formal founder, having been its first superstar and credited for naming it after Japan’s Fiji mountain. Other artists who popularized the style and explored its possibilities were Alhaji General Kollington Ayinla and Abbas Obesere. King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall (KWAM 1), the creator of one of the genre’s most significant albums “Talazo 84”, upholds the tradition of experimentation which marks several periods of both Fuji and Juju.
At Fuji: A Opera, we have none other than KWAM 1 as a special guest of honour. Through a partnership with the Fuji Musicians Association of Nigeria (FUMAN), he’ll be speaking with the venerable writer Lehle Balde on the origins of Fuji music, its relationship with Juju, and how well the genre can move into contemporary discussions, especially in this digital era. This historic 2-hour discussion will hold on Thursday, the 17th of December 2020 at the Cinema Hall, Alliance Francaise, The Mike Adenuga Center, Ikoyi, Lagos. Open to anyone who registers for this event, it’s an opportunity you simply can’t miss.
Register now at Eventbrite. There are limited spaces available.
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Michael is a dynamic writer who is still exploring the nuances of life and being human. When I’m not writing, I’m out with friends or spending nice time alone watching movies or TV Shows.
Michael is available on Twitter and Instagram @TheMichaelFaya