Juju Music: The Party’s delight
Juju music is a popular music genre that derived its name from a Yoruba word “juju” or “jiju” which means “something being thrown” or “throwing.” It is a very popular and funky kind of music enjoyed by mostly the South-western part of Nigeria.
Juju music was said to have been created by AbdulRafiu Babatunde King, also known as Tunde King. He was not the creator of Juju music but he did the first jùjú recordings with Ojoge Daniel in the 1920s. The lead and predominant instrument of Jùjú is the Iya Ilu,”‘ talking drum. Some Jùjú musicians were itinerant, including early pioneers Ojoge Daniel, Irewole Denge and the “blind minstrel” Kokoro.
Afro-juju is a style of Nigerian popular music, a mixture of Jùjú music and Afrobeat. Its most famous exponent was Shina Peters, who was so popular that the press called the phenomenon “Shinamania”. Afro-juju’s peak of popularity came in the early 1990s.
In recent times, electric instruments began to be included, and pioneering musicians like Ernest Olatunde Thomas, aka, Tunde Nightingale, Fatai Rolling-Dollar, I. K. Dairo, Dele Ojo, Ayinde Bakare, Adeolu Akinsanya, King Sunny Adé, and Ebenezer Obey made the genre the most popular in Nigeria, incorporating new influences like funk, reggae and Afrobeat and creating new sub-genres. Some new generation juju artistes include Oludare Olateju and Bola Abimbola. Although Juju music, like apala, sakara, fuji, and waka was created by Muslim Yoruba (NOTE: Tunde King was a Muslim and an alhaji until his death in the 1980s); however, the music itself remains secular. King Sunny Adé was the first to include the pedal steel guitar, which had previously been used only in Hawaiian music and American country music.
Jùjú music is performed primarily by artists from the southwestern region of Nigeria, where the Yoruba are the most numerous ethnic group. One of the centres of the performance of Jùjú music is in Ibadan. Most jùjú musicians are based in the zone of market forces, and most of these are in an area of immigrant neighbourhoods. Most Audience prefer juju music live rather than in recording. The bands that perform do not have a guaranteed wage; instead they rely upon donations from patrons. Most bands will only perform during the weeknights, leaving the weekends free for more lucrative gigs. Jùjú music is usually played at celebrations called àríyá. These celebrations are events like naming ceremony, weddings, birthdays, funerals, title-taking ceremonies, house warming and so on.