Friday, 23 July 2010
THE LIJADU SISTERS: A BLAST FROM THE PAST.
My father must have been a passionate music lover when he was young. I've come to this conclusion because of the number of records he owns and how he keeps them stacked in the Sanyo Stereo Unit in the sitting room. While going through this stack of records in the late 90's, I came across an album of the Lijadu Sisters. The album was still in a good condition and had as its title 'Sunshine'. The sisters on the album's sleeve were identical in their looks and they were dressed in 70's clothing. I noticed that one of the tracks was titled 'Reincarnation'. I tried to listen to the album back then but other activities made me forget about the Lijadu Sisters until last year. I stumbled upon their music on YOUTUBE, and my further research has shown that the music of Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu is currently in high demand.
The Lijadu Sisters grew up in Ibadan and were inspired by the music of Aretha Franklin, Victor Olaiya and Miriam Makeba. I could not garner enough information about their teenage years, but they released their first album 'Iya Mi Jowo' ( Mother,Please ] in 1969 on the Decca Records Label. Their music was a mix of Jazz, Afro-beat ( Taking into consideration that they began performing in an era that had Joni Haastrup, Akanka Isidore and Fela Kuti & Koola Lobitos as their contemporaries ) reggae and waka. The sisters worked with the late Biddy Wright [ Biddy was the consumate musician and producer behind the group, Wura Fadaka ] on their third album 'Danger'(1976). This album had tracks like 'Life's Gone Down Low' and 'Amebo'. Another album of their's was 'Sunshine'(1978). This was the album I talked about at the beginning of this piece. A favourite song of mine 'Reincarnation' is on this album. You need to listen to this track. It is well produced and the beat is great. 'Double Trouble'(1984) seems to be the last album the sisters released before they moved to the United States.
Have you taken the time to listen to 'Orere Elejigbo'? This track really made me appreciate the Lijadu Sisters. The lyrics were well composed and the sisters were strong in the vocals. I'm not surprised that they jammed with Ginger Baker, Twins Seven Seven and Orlando Julius Ekemode. Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu were also in the video of Orlando Julius Ekemode's amazing song 'Adara'. The were the ones in the white clothing and beads. Reliable sources also say the twins had a show on NTA in the late 80's which was known as 'The Lijadu Sisters Show'. I was still very young when the sisters were reigning but their music sounds great today. They have four children between them and it is said that their offspring did not know which of the women was their mother. They also wore each other's clothes. This shows the deep bond between the sisters. The sisters are currently living in New York City, USA. RV does not know if they are still performing gigs or are still in the music business. The sisters have not granted interviews to any Newspaper or Magazine since they left for the States. They have a website which seems to be under construction. There is no central place on the web where their CD's can be bought and their Facebook Page is not interactive. The sisters should realize that they have a lot of fans who want to hear from them and possibly see them at a concert in the near future.
I decided to write this feature on the Lijadu Sisters because we often tend to forget that some people set the pace for artists of today. Before the coming of Yinka Davies,TY Bello, Lara George, Asa, Nneka Egbuna and Ayo, we had the Lijadu Sisters, Theodora Ifudu, Christy Essien Igbokwe and Onyeka Onwenu. I feel it is time our current artists should start drawing ideas from the music of legendary performers like the Lijadu Sisters. I'm not talking about sampling alone here but also the need to bring our local instruments into mainstream Nigerian R&B and Hip-Hop. Why don't you listen to Nigerian Old School Sounds today? Hmn.
Sources: Google.com, Combandrazor.blogspot.com, RV.