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Nigeria: Afrobeats’ unpaid debt to highlife’s Crosdale Juba

By Dami Ajayi
Posted on Tuesday, 25 May 2021 17:38, updated on Thursday, 27 May 2021 16:26

Women dance during "Felabration," at the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria early Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Contemporary Nigerian music in its present incarnation owes a lot to highlife- the popular West African dance music in the post-colonial era of the 1960s. Case in point: Crosdale Juba, Ikale’s great trumpeter.

Highlife, the West African dance music popular in the immediate post-colonial era of the 60s, is a source material for a handful of megahits in the last two decades since afrobeats emerged.

Paul Play Dairo’s Mosorire, an up-tempo remake of his juju legend father IK Dairo’s song of the same title, is one of such early hits that predate the contentious catch-all phrase, afrobeats.

The consensus on Davido’s Son of Mercy EP may be that it was an A&R catastrophe, but a little-known gem exists on that record.