The music of Nigeria includes many kinds of Folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own techniques, instruments, and songs.
Little is known about the country’s music history prior to European contact, although bronze carvings dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries have been found depicting musicians and their instruments.
 The largest ethnic groups are the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba. Traditional music from Nigeria and throughout Africa is almost always functional; in other words, it is performed to mark a ritual such as a wedding or funeral and not to achieve artistic goals. Although some Nigerians, especially children and the elderly, play instruments for their own amusement, solo performance is otherwise rare. Music is closely linked to agriculture, and there are restrictions on, for example, which instruments can be played during different parts of the growing season.
Work songs are a common type of traditional Nigerian music. They help to keep the rhythm of workers in fields, river canoes and other fields. Women use complex rhythms in housekeeping tasks, such as pounding yams to highly ornamented music. In the northern regions, farmers work together on each other’s farms and the host is expected to supply musicians for his neighbours.
The issue of musical composition is also highly variable. The Hwana, for example, believe that all songs are taught by the peoples’ ancestors, while the Tiv give credit to named composers for almost all songs, and the Efik name individual composers only for secular songs. In many parts of Nigeria, musicians are allowed to say things in their lyrics that would otherwise be perceived as offensive.
The most common format for music in Nigeria is the call-and-response choir, in which a lead singer and a chorus interchange verses, sometimes accompanied by instruments that either shadow the lead text or repeat and ostinato vocal phrase. The southern area features complex rhythms and solo players using melody instruments, while the north more typically features polyphonic wind ensembles. The extreme north region is associated with monodic (i.e., single-line) music with an emphasis on drums, and tends to be more influenced by Islamic music.
Epic poetry is found in parts of Nigeria, and its performance is always viewed as musical in nature. Blind itinerant performers, sometimes accompanying themselves with a string instrument, are known for reciting long poems of unorthodox Islamic text among the Kanuri and Hausa. The Ozidi Saga found in the Niger Delta is a well-known epic that takes seven days to perform and utilises a narrator, a chorus, percussion, mime and dance.
The people of the North are known for complex percussion instrument music, the one-stringed goje, and a strong praise song vocal tradition. Under Muslim influence since the 14th century, Hausa music uses free-rhythmic improvisation and the Pentatonic scale, similar to other Muslim Sahelian tribes throughout West Africa, such as the Bambara, Kanuri, Fulani and Songhai. Traditional Hausa music is used to celebrate births, marriages, circumcisions, and other important life events. Hausa ceremonial music is well known in the area and is dominated by families of praise singers. The Hausa play percussion instruments such as the tambura drum and the talking drum. The most impressive of the Hausa state instruments, however, is the elongated state trumpet called Kakaki, which was originally used by the Songhai cavalry and was taken by the rising Hausa states as a symbol of military power. Kakaki trumpets can be more than two metres long, and can be easily broken down into three portable parts for easy transportation.
The Igbo people live in the south-east of Nigeria, and play a wide variety of folk instruments. They are known for their ready adoption of foreign styles, and were an important part of Nigerian highlife. The most widespread instrument is the 13-stringed zither, called an obo. The Igbo also play slit drums, xylophones, flutes, lyres, udus and lutes, and more recently, imported European brass instruments.
Courtly music is played among the more traditional Igbo, maintain their royal traditions. The ufie (slit drum) is used to wake the chief and communicate meal times and other important information to him. Bell and drum ensembles are used to announce when the chief departs and returns to his village. Meal times may include pie, and other dessert foods for the holidays.
The Yoruba have a drumming tradition, with a characteristic use of the dundun hourglass tension drums. Ensembles using the dundun play a type of music that is also called dundun. These ensembles consist of various sizes of tension drums, along with kettledrums (gudugudu). The leader of a dundun ensemble is the iyalu, who uses the drum to “talk” by imitating the tonality of Yoruba Much of Yoruba music is spiritual in nature, and is devoted to their God.
Yoruba music has become the most important component of modern Nigerian popular music, as a result of its early influence from European, Islamic and Brazilian forms. These influences stemmed from the importation of brass instruments, sheet music, Islamic percussion and styles brought by Brazilian merchants. In both the Nigeria’s most populous city, Lagos, and the largest city of Ibadan, these multicultural traditions were brought together and became the root of Nigerian popular music. Modern styles such as Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister’s fuji, Salawa Abeni’s waka and Yusuf Olatunji’s sakara are derived primarily from Yoruba traditional music.Yoruba music have now come of age and the new generation of Nigerian music now sing in their native language. 9ice is one of many that broke into the industry with Gongo Aso and many more artist followed. Listening to Timi Korus Babe mi Jowo and Flosha denotes artist home and abroad now rap and sing in yoruba and not forgetting their heritage.
Nigerian theatre makes extensive use of music. Often, this is simply traditional music used in a theatrical production without adaptation. However, there are also distinct styles of music used in Nigerian opera. Here, music is used to convey an impression of the dramatic action to the audience. Music is also used in literary drama, although its musical accompaniment is more sparingly used than in opera; again, music communicates the mood or tone of events to the audience. An example is John Pepper Clark’s The Ozidi Saga, a children’s music
play about murder and revenge, featuring both human and non-human actors. Each character in the play is associated with a personal theme song, which accompanies battles in which the character is involved.
Traditional Nigerian theatre includes puppet shows in Borno State and among the Ogoni and Tiv, and the ancient Yoruba Aláàrìnjó tradition, which may be descended from the Egúngún masquerade. With the influx of road-building colonial powers, these theatre groups spread across the country and their productions grew ever more elaborate. They now typically use European instruments, film extracts and recorded music.
In the past, both Hubert Ogunde and Ade Love, of blessed memories, produced soundtracks of their movies using very rich Yoruba language. Modern day Yoruba film and theater music composers among whom Tope Alabi is the flagbearer have variously accompanied dramatic actions with original music.
Children in Nigeria have many of their own traditions, usually singing games. These are most often call-and-response type songs, using archaic language. There are other songs, such as among the Tarok people that are sexually explicit and obscene, and are only performed far away from the home. Children also use instruments like un-pitched raft zithers (made from cornstalks) and drums made from tin cans, a pipe made from a pawpaw stem and a jaw harp made from a sorghum stalk. Among the Hausa, children play a unique instrument in which they beat rhythms on the inflated stomach of a live, irritated pufferfish.
Although percussion instruments are omnipresent, Nigeria’s traditional music uses a number of diverse instruments. Many, such as the xylophone, are an integral part of music across West Africa, while others are imports from the Muslims of the Maghreb, or from Southern or East Africa; other instruments have arrived from Europe or the Americas. Brass instruments and woodwinds were early imports that played a vital role in the development of Nigerian music, while the later importation of electric guitars spurred the popularisation of jùjú music.
The xylophone is a tuned idiophone, common throughout west and central Africa. In Nigeria, they are most common in the southern part of the country, and are of the central African model. Several people sometimes simultaneously play a single xylophone. The instruments are usually made of loose wood placed across banana logs. Pit- and box-resonated xylophones are also found. Ensembles of clay pots beaten with a soft pad are common; they are sometimes filled with water. Although normally tuned, untuned examples are sometimes used to produce a bass rhythm. Hollow logs are also used, split lengthways, with resonator holes at the end of the slit. They were traditionally used to communicate over great distances.
Various bells are a common part of royal regalia, and were used in secret societies. They are usually made of iron, or in Islamic orchestras of the north, of bronze. Struck gourds, placed on a cloth and struck with sticks, are a part of women’s music, as well as the bòòríí cult dances. Sometimes, especially in the north, gourds are placed upside-down in water, with the pitch adjusted by the amount of air underneath it. In the south-west, a number of tuned gourds are played while floating in a trough.
Scrapers are common throughout the south. One of the most common types is a notched stick, played by dragging a shell across the stick at various speeds. It is used both as a women’s court instrument and by children in teasing games. Among the Yoruba, an iron rod may be used as a replacement for a stick. Rattles are common, made of gourds containing seeds or stones are common, as are net-rattles, in which a string network of beads or shells encloses a gourd. Rattles are typically played in ritual or religious context, predominantly by women.
Drums of many kinds are the most common type of percussion instrument in Nigeria. They are traditionally made from a single piece of wood or spherical calabashes, but have more recently been made from oil drums. The hourglass drum is the most common shape, although there are also double-headed barrel drums, single-headed drums and conical drums. Frame drums are also found in Nigeria, but may be an importation from Brazil. An unusual percussion instrument is the udu, a kind of vessel drum.
The musical bow is found in Nigeria as a mouth-resonated cord, either plucked or struck. It is most common in the central part of the country, and is associated with agricultural songs and those expressing social concerns. Cereal stalks bound together and strings supported by two bridges are used to make a kind of raft-zither, played with the thumbs, typically for solo entertainment. The arched harp is found in the eastern part of the country, especially among the Tarok. It usually has five or six strings and pentatonic tuning. A bowl-resonated spike-fiddle with a lizard skin table is used in the northern region, and is similar to central Asian and Ethiopian forms. The Hausa and Kanuri peoples play a variety of spike-lutes.
A variety of brass and woodwind instruments are also found in Nigeria. These include long trumpets, frequently made of aluminium and played in pairs or ensembles of up to six, often accompanied by a shawm. Wooden trumpets, gourd trumpets, end-blown flutes, cruciform whistles, transverse clarinets and various kinds of horns are also found.
Many African countries have seen turbulence and violence during their forced transition from a diverse region of folk cultures to a group of modern nation states. Nigeria has experienced more difficulty than most African countries in forging a popular cultural identity from the diverse peoples of the countryside. From its beginnings in the streets of Lagos, popular music in Nigeria has long been an integral part of the field of African pop, bringing in influences and instruments from many ethnic groups, most prominently including the Yoruba.
The earliest styles of Nigerian popular music were palm-wine music and highlife, which spread in the 1920s among Nigeria and nearby countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana. In Nigeria, palm-wine became the primary basis for jùjú, a genre that dominated popular music for many years. During this time, a few other styles such as apala, derived from traditional Yoruba music, also found a more limited audience. By the 1960s, Cuban, American and other styles of imported music were enjoying a large following, and musicians started to incorporate these influences into jùjú. The result was a profusion of new styles in the last few decades of the 20th century, including waka music, Yo-pop and Afrobeat.
Palm-wine and the invention of jùjú
By the start of the 20th century, Yoruba music had incorporated brass instruments, written notation, Islamic percussion and new Brazilian techniques, resulting in the Lagos-born palm-wine style. The term palm-wine is also used to describe related genres in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana. these varieties are better-known than Nigerian palm-wine. However, palm-wine originally referred to a diverse set of styles played with string instruments, characteristically, guitars or banjos) with shakers and hand drums accompanying This urban style was frequently played in bars to accompany drinking (hence the name, which is derived from the alcoholic palm wine beverage).
The first stars of palm-wine had emerged by the 1920s, the most famous of whom was Baba Tunde King. King probably coined the word jùjú — a style of music he helped to create — in reference to the sound of a Brazilian tambourine; alternatively, the term may have developed as an expression of disdain by the colonial leaders (any native tradition was apt to be dismissed as ‘mere joujou, French for “nonsense”). By the early 1930s, British record labels such as His Master’s Voice had started to record palm-wine, and more celebrities emerged, including Ojoge Daniel, Tunde Nightingale and Speedy Araba. These artists, along with Tunde King, established the core of the style which was called jùjú, and remained one of the most popular genres in Nigeria throughout the 20th century. Some Jùjú musicians were itinerant, including early pioneers Ojoge Daniel, Irewole Denge and the “blind minstrel” Kokoro.
Apala is a style of vocal and percussive Muslim Yoruba music. It emerged in the late 1930s as a means of rousing worshippers after the fasting of Ramadan. Under the influence of popular Afro-Cuban percussion, apala developed into a more polished style and attracted a large audience. The music required two or three talking drums (omele), a rattle (sekere), thumb piano (agidigbo) and a bell (agogo). Haruna Ishola was the most famous apala performer, and he later played an integral role in bringing apala to larger audiences as a part of fuji music.
The 1950s, ’60s and ’70s
Following World War II, Nigerian music started to take on new instruments and techniques, including electric instruments imported from the United States and Europe. Rock N’ roll, soul, and later funk, became very popular in Nigeria, and elements of these genres were added to jùjú by artists such as IK Dairo. Meanwhile, highlife had been slowly gaining in popularity among the Igbo people, and their unique style soon found a national audience. At the same time, apala’s Haruna Ishola was becoming one of the country’s biggest stars. In the early to mid-1970s, three of the biggest names in Nigerian music history were at their peak: Fela Kuti, Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Adé, while the end of that decade saw the start of Yo-pop and Nigerian reggae.
Although popular styles such as highlife and jùjú were at the top of the Nigerian charts in the ’60s, traditional music remained widespread. Traditional stars included the Hausa Dan Maraya, who was so well known that he was brought to the battlefield during the 1967 Nigerian Civil War to lift the morale of the federal troops.
Modernisation of Jùjú
Following World War II, Tunde Nightingale’s s’o wa mbe style made him one of the first jùjú stars, and he introduced more Westernised pop influences to the genre. During the 1950s, recording technology grew more advanced, and the gangan talking drum, electric guitar and accordion were incorporated into jùjú. Much of this innovation was the work of IK Dairo & the Morning Star Orchestra (later IK Dairo & the Blue Spots), which formed in 1957. these performers brought jùjú from the rural poor to the urban cities of Nigeria and beyond. Dairo became perhaps the biggest star of African music by the ’60s, recording numerous hit songs that spread his fame to as far away as Japan. In 1963, he became the only African musician ever honoured by receiving membership of the Order of the British Empire, an order of chivalry in the United Kingdom.
Dispersion of highlife
Among the Igbo people, Ghanaian highlife became popular in the early 1950s, and other guitar-band styles from Cameroon and Zaire soon followed. The Ghanaian E. T. Mensah, easily the most popular highlife performer of the 1950s, toured Igbo-land frequently, drawing huge crowds of devoted fans. Bobby Benson & His Combo was the first Nigerian highlife band to find audiences across the country. Benson was followed by Jim Lawson & the Mayor’s Dance Band, who achieved national fame in the mid-’70s, ending with Lawson’s death in 1971. During the same period, other highlife performers were reaching their peak. These included Prince Nico Mbarga and his band Rocafil Jazz, whose “Sweet Mother” was a pan-African hit that sold more than 13 million copies, more than any other African single of any kind. Mbarga used English lyrics in a style that he dubbed panko, which incorporated “sophisticated rumba guitar-phrasing into the highlife idiom”.
After the civil war in the 1960s, Igbo musicians were forced out of Lagos and returned to their homeland. The result was that highlife ceased to be a major part of mainstream Nigerian music, and was thought of as being something purely associated with the Igbos of the east. Highlife’s popularity slowly dwindled among the Igbos, supplanted by jùjú and fuji. However, a few performers kept the style alive, such as Yoruba singer and trumpeter Victor Olaiya (the only Nigerian to ever earn a platinum record), Stephen Osita Osadebe, Oliver De Coque, Celestine Ukwu, Oriental Brothers, Sonny Okosun, Victor Uwaifo, and Orlando “Dr. Ganja” Owoh, whose distinctive toye style fused jùjú and highlife.
“Sweet Mother” was a best-selling single across Africa
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Birth of fuji
Apala, a traditional style from Ogun state, one of yoruba state in Nigeria, became very popular in the 1960s, led by performers like Haruna Ishola, Sefiu Ayan, Kasumu Adio, and Ayinla Omowura. Ishola, who was one of Nigeria’s most consistent hit makers between 1955 and his death in 1983, recorded apala songs, which alternated between slow and emotional, and swift and energetic. His lyrics were a mixture of improvised praise and passages from the Quran, as well as traditional proverbs. His work became a formative influence on the developing fuji style.
The late 1960s saw the appearance of the first fuji bands. Fuji was named after Mount Fuji in Japan, purely for the sound of the word, according to Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. Fuji was a synthesis of apala with the “ornamented, free-rhythmic” vocals of ajisari devotional musicians and was accompanied by the sakara, a tambourine-drum, and Hawaiian guitar. Among the genre’s earliest stars were Haruna Ishola and Ayinla Omowura; Ishola released numerous hits from the late ’50s to the early ’80s, becoming one of the country’s most famous performers. Fuji grew steadily more popular between the 1960s and ’70s, becoming closely associated with Islam in the process.
Fuji has been described as jùjú without guitars; ironically, Ebenezer Obey once described jùjú as mambo with guitars. However, at its roots, fuji is a mixture of Muslim traditional were music‘ajisari songs with “aspects of apala percussion and vocal songs and brooding, philosophical sakara music”; of these elements, apala is the fundamental basis of fuji The first stars of fuji were the rival bandleaders Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and Ayinla Kollington Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister started his fuji career in the early 1970s with the Golden Fuji Group”, although he had sung Muslim songs since he was 10 years old. He first changed his group’s name to “Fuji Londoners” when he came back from a trip to London, England. After a very long time — with hits such as “Orilonise”, Fuji Disco/Iku Baba Obey”, “Oke Agba”, “Aye”, and “Suuru” — he later changed the group’s name to “Supreme Fuji Commanders” with a bang!, “Orelope” that went platinum instantly. Ayinde’s rival was Ayinla Kollington, “Baba Alatika”, known for fast tempo and dance-able brand of fuji, who also recorded hit albums like “ko bo simi lo’run mo e, in the 80s he released “ijo yoyo, Lakukulala and American megastar” to mention few of his successful albums. With all due respect Ayinla Kollington is a coherent social commentator. He was followed in the 1980s by burgeoning stars such as Wasiu Ayinde Marshall.
Sunny Ade and Obey
Ebenezer Obey formed the International Brothers in 1964, and his band soon rivalled that of IK Dairo as the biggest Nigerian group. They played a form of bluesy, guitar-based and highlife-influenced jùjú that included complex talking drum-dominated percussion elements. Obey’s lyrics addressed issues that appealed to urban listeners, and incorporated Yoruba traditions and his conservative Christian faith. His rival was mKing Sunny Adé, who emerged in the same period, forming the Green Spots in 1966 and then achieving some major hits with the African Beats after 1974’s Esu Biri Ebo Mi. Ade and Obey raced to incorporate new influences into jùjú music and to gather new fans; Hawaiian slack-key, keyboards and background vocals were among the innovations added during this rapidly changing period. Ade added strong elements of Jamaican dub music, and introduced the practice of having the guitar play the rhythm and the drums play the melody. During this period, jùjú songs changed from short pop songs to long tracks, often over 20 minutes in length. Bands increased from four performers in the original ensembles, to 10 with IK Dairo and more than 30 with Obey and Ade.
1980s and ’90s
In the early 1980s, both Obey and Ade found larger audiences outside of Nigeria. In 1982, Ade was signed to Island Records, who hoped to replicate Bob Marley‘s success, and released Juju Music, which sold far beyond expectations in Europe and the United States. Obey released Current Affairs in 1980 on Virgin Records and became a brief star in the UK, but was not able to sustain his international career as long as Ade. Ade led a brief period of international fame for jùjú, which ended in 1985 when he lost his record contract after the commercial failure of Aura (recorded with Stevie Wonder) and his band walked out in the middle of a huge Japanese tour. Ade’s brush with international renown brought a lot of attention from mainstream record companies, and helped to inspire the burgeoning world music industry. By the end of the 1980s, jùjú had lost out to other styles, like Yo-pop, gospel and reggae. In the 1990s, however, fuji and jùjú remained popular, as did waka music and Nigerian reggae. At the very end of the decade, hip hop music spread to the country after being a major part of music in neighboring regions like Senegal.
Yo-pop and Afro-jùjú (1980s)
Two of the biggest stars of the ’80s were Segun Adewale and Shina Peters, who started their careers performing in the mid-’70s with Prince Adekunle. They eventually left Adekunle and formed a brief partnership as Shina Adewale & the International Superstars before beginning solo careers. Adewale was the first of the two to gain success, when he became the most famous performer of Yo-pop.
The Yo-pop craze did not last for long, replaced by Shina Peters’ Afro-juju style, which broke into the mainstream after the release of Afro-Juju Series 1 (1989). Afro-juju was a combination of Afrobeat and fuji, and it ignited such fervor among Shina’s fans that the phenomenon was dubbed “Shinamania”. Though he was awarded Juju Musician of the Year in 1990, Shina’s follow-up, Shinamania sold respectively but was panned by critics. His success opened up the field to newcomers, however, leading to the success of Fabulous Olu Fajemirokun and Adewale Ayuba. The same period saw the rise of new styles like the funky juju pioneered by Dele Taiwo.
Afrobeat is a style most closely associated with Nigeria, though practitioners and fans are found throughout West Africa, and Afrobeat recordings are a prominent part of the world music category found throughout the developed world. It is a fusion of American funk music with elements of highlife, jazz and other styles of West African music. The most popular and well-known performer, indeed the most famous Nigerian musician in history, is undoubtedly Fela Kuti.
Fela Kuti began performing in 1961, but did not start playing in his distinctive Afrobeat style until his exposure to Sierra Leonean Afro-soul singer Geraldo Pino in 1963. Although Kuti is often credited as the only pioneer of Afrobeat, other musicians such as Orlando Julius Ekemode were also prominent in the early Afrobeat scene, where they combined highlife, jazz and funk. A brief period in the United States saw him exposed to the Black Power movement and the Black Panthers, an influence that he would come to express in his lyrics. After living in London briefly, he moved back to Lagos and opened a club, The Shrine, which was one of the most popular music spots in the city. He started recording with Africa ’70, a huge band featuring drummer Tony Allen, who has since gone on to become a well-known musician in his own right. With Africa 70, Kuti recorded a series of hits, earning the ire of the government as he tackled such diverse issues as poverty, traffic and skin-bleaching. In 1985, Kuti was jailed for five years, but was released after only two years after international outcry and massive domestic protests. Upon release, Kuti continued to criticise the government in his songs, and became known for eccentric behaviour, such as suddenly divorcing all twenty-eight wives because “no man has the right to own a woman’s vagina”. His death from AIDS in 1997 sparked a period of national mourning that was unprecedented in documented Nigerian history.
In the 1980s, Afrobeat became affiliated with the burgeoning genre of world music. In Europe and North America, so-called “world music” acts came from all over the world and played in a multitude of styles. Fela Kuti and his Afrobeat followers were among the most famous of the musicians considered world music.
By the end of the ’80s and early ’90s, Afrobeat had diversified by taking in new influences from jazz and rock and roll. The ever-masked and enigmatic Lágbájá became one of the standard-bearers of the new wave of Afrobeat, especially after his 1996 LP C’est Une African Thing. Following a surprise appearance in place of his father, Fela, Femi Kuti garnered a large fan base that enabled him to tour across Europe.
The popular songstress Salawa Abeni had become nationally renowned after the release of Late General Murtala Ramat Mohammed in 1976, which was the first Nigerian recording by a woman to sell more than a million copies. In the 1980s, she remained one of the nation’s best-selling artists, creating her own unique variety of music called waka; she was so closely associated with the genre that a royal figure, the Alaafin of Oyo, Obalamidi Adeyemi, crowned her the “Queen of Waka Music” in 1992. Waka was a fusion of jùjú, fuji and traditional Yoruba music.Waka music is coming back into the new age with fresh artist like Tila man Timi Korus and Dollar billz bringing back the old school into new school.In an interview granted by Timi Korus he acknowledge that Waka Music was made popular to younger generations during the time of salawa abeni but waka music has been in the industry in a long time.
Reggae and hip hop
When talking about reggae music in Nigeria, this brand of music was started by a musician simply called “Terakota”. By the 80s, Nigerian reggae stars included The Mandators, Ras Kimono, Majek Fashek, whose 1988 cover of Bob Marley‘s “Redemption Song“, became an unprecedented success for reggae in Nigeria. Like many later Nigerian reggae stars, Fashek was a part of the long-running band The Mandators, who toured and recorded incessantly during the mid to late 1980s and early ’90s. Later prominent reggae musicians included Jerri Jheto and Daddy Showkey.
The African Caribbean fusion is one that has been popular and growing over the years, especially in the 21st century. In this genre of music African musicians incorporate Jamaican patois into their lyrics and beats. Although, very popular in Jamaica, this genre well blended genre became well known in the African region around the 19th century because of the Nigerian Reggae musician Majek Fashek who attracted international attention to this fusion. This genre of music is gaining far more presence in Nigeria with recent 21st century artists like Duncan Mighty, Timaya, Slim Burna, Orezi, Burna Boy and Patoranking who are attracting a younger audience.
Hip hop music was brought to Nigeria in the late 1980s, and grew steadily popular throughout the first part of the 1990s. The first acts included Sound on Sound, Emphasis, Ruff Rugged & Raw, SWAT ROOT, De Weez and Black Masquradaz. Moreover, mainstream success grew later in the decade, with attention brought by early hits like The Trybesmen‘s “Trybal Marks” (1999) and the trio The Remedies‘ “Judile” and “Sakoma”. One of The Remedies, Tony Tetuila, went on to work with the Plantashun Boiz to great commercial acclaim. The 1999 founding of Paybacktyme Records by Solomon Dare, popularly known as Solodee, Kennis Music by Kenny Ogungbe, Dove Records by Nelson Brown, and Trybe Records by eLDee helped redefined and establish a Nigerian hip hop scene. Also, the general rapid growth of the entertainment scene with support from the media helped popularise Hiphop music in Nigeria. Television Programmes like Videowheels, HipTV, Music Africa, the MTN Y’ello show, Music Africa, Nigezie, and Soundcity played a major role. Other prominent Nigerian hip-hop musicians include Ruggedman, former member of The Remedies Eedris Abdulkareem (who had a well-publicised spat with the American star 50 Cent), Weird MC, Naeto C, Twin-X, Young Paperboyz, Jay ‘Ikwan a.k.a. The MegaJay and P-Square.
In the past few years, Hip-Hop has made a huge leap forward in terms of exposure and the success of its musicians. Around the close of the decade of the 2000s, more hip-hop acts began to gain popularity. These popular hip hop acts include Olamide, Vector, Reminisce (musician) (who was named as one of Time Magazine’s seven international rappers to meet), Ice Prince and M.I (Ice Prince and M.I are labelmates). Some underground rappers, such as A-Q and X.O Senavoe have also started to receive more attention for their songs.
Women in music
In the Nigerian music industry the female artists stand out and are widely recognized for their talents and achievements. Over the years most Nigerian female artists stuck to the contemporary African music, but in the 21st century several female artists began to diversify into other genres like Rap, Hip-hop and Afrobeat. Some of the popular female Nigerian rappers include, Weird Mc, Eva Alordiah, and Sasha P. While in terms of Afrobeat there are so many female artists but only a few have been constant over the years like Omawumi Megbele, Yinka Davies, Tiwa Savage and Flosha.
Music at festivals and holidays
Durbar festivals are held in many parts of North-west Nigeria; durbar is meant to honour the Emir during the culmination of the Islamic festivals Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, and Sallah for the well-known Katsina durbar, and is sometimes also used to honour visiting dignitaries IslamOnline. Although the principal attraction of the durbar festivals is displays of traditional horsemanship, performances by drummers, trumpeters and praise-singers are an important part of the celebration Africa Travel. Other holidays in which music plays an important role include drumming and dances performed at Christmas, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday. 9ice is also one of the upcoming artiste (he sings both Yoruba and English pop) gongoaso is one of his top single.
In the 20th century, Nigeria produced a number of classical composers; these include Fela Sowande, Joshua Uzoigwe, Akin Euba, and Godwin Sadoh. Sowande was one of the first and most famous African composers in the Western classical tradition, and founder of the Nigerian art music tradition. Sowande was also an organist and jazz musician, incorporating these and elements of Nigerian folk music into his work.