Words: Amy Keresztes

I was excited to see this piece in the Guardian this week asserting “It’s about time the Lijadu Sisters’ unique, punkish slant on 1970s funk, soul and disco got its rightful dues.” If you know Nigerian music, you know King Sunny Ade and Fela Kuti, but few people seem to be as familiar with the Lijadu sisters. It’s not too late to remedy this for yourself with this excellent compilation album.

Known as the most successful female musicians in Nigeria in the 70s, twin sisters Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu are difficult to pin down, genre-wise. Their warm, soulful, body-moving music has been labelled everything in various combinations of “jazz,” “dubwise,” “highlife,” “funk,” “Afrobeat” and many more, but once you hear this track and others, you’ll be calling it mostly just smashing.

With fuzzy guitar, slap bass galore, clean harmonies, and an indisputably groovy sound, “Orere Elejigbo” is smooth, wise, and habit-forming. The sisters wrote their own music and lyrics, and their belief in the personal as political comes through loud and clear in both English and Yoruba. But apart from its force as social and feminist statement, the song is simply fun: moving and swaying with a rare and beautiful energy.

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