March 20 2012
Every week we have a theme for our trip on Sound Travels. This week we take a peek at a style of music from Africa called Juju. If you've got a taste for African music, then this may not be a new discovery for you. Maybe, just maybe you've heard the sublimely sunny sounds of juju music's biggest international star, King Sunny Ade. There is however, much more to this style of sound that despite its name, has very little to do with voodoo.
Juju, despite being a term that also refers to African religion and in particularly, vodun;juju is also bewiching in its own musical way. Highlife guitar and talking drums weave psychedelic melodies in a lush, jungle of polyrythmatic niceness. It's fitting that this music is from the heart of Africa and grew from Yoruba drum tradions in Nigeria in the early 20th century after the introduction of electric instruments developed in the West.
So if King Sunny Ade is the big name, let's hear some and let me also introduce you to some other bright stars of this oft-overlooked aspect of African music. Artists likeEbenezer Obey whose sound was often the equal of Ade's. Or the Afro-juju sound of the recently re-released material of The Lijadu Sisters. My favorite from today may actually be the psychedelic genius of the lesser-known-but-as-great work of Bob Ohiri & His Uhuru Sounds. Here's what we heard today...
King Sunny Ade "Iro" Aura
The Lijadu Sisters "Life's Gone Down Low" Danger
Ebenezer Obey & His International Brothers "Oro Se Rere" In London
Bob Ohiri & His Uhuru Sounds "Nigeria London Na Lagos" Uhuru Aiye