Lovely album from 1976 by the nigerian twins Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu. Groovy afrobeat with arrangements from Biddy Wright. ………….
the lijadu sisters were the most successful female group in nigeria in the 1970s, whose influences ranged from female soul singers such as aretha franklin, the pointer sisters & miriam makeba to the afro-beat of fela anikulapo kuti as well as the juju music of ik dairo & the highlife of victor olaiya. this album brings together the best of the identical twins’ previously impossible to find tracks from the 4 albums recorded for the afrodisia label in nigeria - ‘danger’ (1976), ‘mother africa’ (1977), ‘sunshine’ (1978) & ‘horizon unlimited’ (1979). ….
Afro-Beat fans might want to check this one out: The Lijadu Sisters were practically the only female stars of the Nigerian 1970’s pop scene… Sisters Kenhinde and Taiwo Lijadu were relatives of the legendary Fela Kuti, performing for several years behind the scenes as session vocalists before recording their own first single in the late 1960s. They later toured with prog-rock drummer Ginger Baker during his early 1970s foray into African music. The Lijadus released four albums in the 1970s, all produced by and featuring the music of multi-instrumentalist Biddy Wright, whose distinctive funk-meets-psychedelic guitar work gives an unusual edge to this debut album. The sisters also have fabulous voices and gorgeous harmonies, particularly on the opening tracks (the album’s second half is a bit ragged, but the opening track, “Danger” is awesome…) A genuine gem from the classic Afro-Beat scene. This disc is the first of four straight-up reissues of their music, and is definitely worth tracking down. (DJ Joe Sixpack, Slipcue Guide To World Music)………….
Lijadu Sisters didn’t produce as much material as Fela Kuti, Nigeria’s ruling musical monarch during the ‘70s, but their groove-laden Afro-beat was just as hard-hitting – and, on their 1976 debut Danger, even more interesting to listeners outside of Africa. The steely, clattering beats and deep, nimble bass are close to Fela trademarks, but the title track here has compelling work from organist Johny Wood and an extended solo on distorted guitar from Biddy Wright. Although most of the songs are extended groove workouts, Lijadu Sisters also vary the tempo, slipping into a midtempo groove for the wailing “Amebo.” A worthy companion to Nigeria’s musical masterpieces of the '70s…..by John Bush…………..
The Lijadu Sisters debut album, Danger (originally released in 1976), is as funky and mellifluous as it gets, the twins gorgeous harmonies underpinned by a solid Afro-rock beat and framed by Biddy Wright’s funky organ and guitar work. Danger has a vibe of uplifting positivity which would be a feature of all four of the Lijadu Sisters albums. Lyrically, most of the songs address social and political issues, sometimes directly, sometimes through metaphor and allusion.
Twins Taiwo and Kehinde were born in Jos, in northern Nigeria, on October 22, 1948. They enjoyed singing from an early age, and remember with special fondness discs by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and, Fela Kuti (their second cousin!). 'All our records include songs with deep messages,’ says Kehinde. 'Artists should be the voice of the world. Not just of their own people, but of the wider world, for a problem which faces one, faces all.’
Through their career, the sisters met the British drummer Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith, Airplane), who in the first half of the 1070s was a frequent visitor to Nigeria. In 1972, the Lijadu Sisters performed with Baker’s band at the cultural festival accompanying the Munich Olympics in Germany.
Another fortuitous encounter was with the multi-instrumentalist Biddy Wright. Wright co-arranged and played on all four of the classic 1970s Lijadu Sisters albums, which are now being re-released by Knitting Factory Records Danger (1976), Mother Africa (1977), Sunshine (1978) and Horizon Unlimited (1979). Assisted only by traditional drummers and percussionists, Wright played most of the instruments on the three discs. Wright, along with Taiwo and Kehinde, were able to flawlessly bring traditional and electric styles together……………
I heard a song by the Lijadu Sisters on a compilation last year and was impressed enough to seek out a full album by them, this 1976 recording being my first choice. Overall, I like it, but I don’t think it’s quite the great lost afro-beat album that some listeners might expect. However, I do like the variety of sounds on here, from upbeat, funky tunes to much slower, more haunting numbers.
The Lijadu Sisters were in fact real sisters, and twins at that! They have been described in reviews, and in the liner notes that come with this CD, as having “ravishing voices” and “gorgeous harmonies.” Well, their singing voices are pleasant enough, but quite frankly I’m not knocked out enough to proclaim their voices as quite that wonderful. For my money, I think the Mahotella Queens are much better at singing and harmonizing. That observation aside, there is still a lot to like on this album, although it’s a short one at only 32 minutes. As noted previously, some of the tracks are indeed lively and infectious, while other tunes are slower and moodier. Some very interesting, socially-concsious lyrics too. One of the real strengths to this group, was the unheralded man who played the organ and guitar on all the songs: Biddy Wright. He also produced this album. His talents and production flourishes, in my opinion, really make this album a winner.
One of the more interesting songs on this album is “Bobby,” a tune that exudes a breezy ska-like vibe, almost like something you’d hear on the second album by the Specials. A very distinctive track, as is the closing number, the long and atmospheric “Lord Have Mercy.”
The CD comes with a thin 4-page booklet that includes a biography about the Lijadu Sisters and details about this album. Sadly, no photos of the sisters or the talented Mr. Wright. Still, this is impressive enough that I’ll be seeking out the other studio albums by them that Knitting Factory has reissued….ByDonald E. Gilliland………..
Credits Alto Saxophone – Felix Shittu Bass Guitar – Ade Jolaoso Design Concept – Ideas Organisation Engineer [Recording] – Emmanuel Akpabio, John Malife, Jubril Ogungbade, Lak Adeniran Keyboards – Johnny Wood* Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Tenor Saxophone, Percussion, Bass Guitar, Producer – Biddy Wright Written-By, Arranged By – Lijadu Sisters
Tracklist A1 Danger 5:47 A2 Amebo 4:00 A3 Life’s Gone Down Low 4:50 B1 Cashing In 5:57 B2 Bobby 4:20 B3 Lord Have Mercy 7:08