World Music Day: Three Defining Nigerian Musical Genres

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NO MUSIC DAYJune 21, 2013 — Lagos – Today, June 21, is marked as World Music Day or Fête de la Musique! To celebrate this day, NLIPW looks at three genres of Nigerian music: Jùjú, Afro-juju and Afrobeat!


Jùjú is a style of Nigerian popular music, derived from the fusion of traditional Yoruba instruments such as the talking drum, banjos, guitars, hand drums, shakers, amplified sounds and powerful vocals. The name comes from a Yoruba word “juju” or “jiju” meaning “something being thrown.” There is no relationship between Jùjú music and ‘juju’ (to cast a spell or the use of magic objects or witchcraft). Jùjú evolved in the 1920s in urban clubs in Nigeria. Some early pioneers of Jùjú music in Nigeria include Tunde King, Irewole Denge, Ojoge Daniel, Speedy Araba and King Sunny Ade.


When the average Nigerian thinks of Afro-juju, what comes to mind is “Sir” Shina Peters, a Nigerian musician who was famous for the phenomenon “Shinamania”. Afro-juju is a style of Nigerian popular music, that combines Jùjú music and Afrobeat. This fusion style music genre gained popularity in the early 1990s and is a more percussion heavy form of Jùjú music.


Afrobeat is a fusion of traditional Yoruba music, percussion instruments, highlife, jazz, funk and chanted vocals. Nigerian-born multi-instrumentalist Fela Anikulapo Kuti is credited as the founder of this genre of music. Using afrobeat, Fela changed the musical structure in Nigeria and conveyed his views about the political structure in Nigeria.

Like language, the classification of Nigerian musical genres continues to evolve but for today we say happy World Music Day! Let’s celebrate originality & respect intellectual property rights of singers, composers & writers!

This article is intended to provide general information about the subject matter. Professional legal advice should be sought about specific circumstances.


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About Bob Aroture 564 Articles
Bob is a Senior Editor and Content Development Manager at Nigerian Law Intellectual Property Watch. He holds a BS degree, with a major in biochemistry. He works directly with the Newsroom Team. His focus areas are technology and innovation, and pharmaceutical technology. Email: