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Ojo Balingo, the mysterious juju master

Thanks to BBE, juju music finds its way out of the Yoruba’s circle with the reissue of an enigmatic album of Ojo Balingo.

British label keeps its exploration of record label Tabansi’s archives with a fake dusty compilation of juju music orchestrated by the very confidential Ojo Balingo.

Popularise by King Sunny Adé in the 80s, juju (or jùjú) saw the light of day in the 20s, through Nigerian South-West clubs, with the concerts of Tunde King — one of the first to record this genre. Tabansi released in 1985 this album with an ambiguous title, « Afrotunes – Best of Juju Vol. II – Oba Mimo Olorun Ayo ». Even if it was stamped as “Various Artists”, the album is made of two long pieces of height tracks split and played by the same musicians.

As this long jam goes by, we heard the main ingredients of juju, a genre built to be played live. The album blends traditions with avant-garde, between Yoruba percussions and funky grooves, psychedelic rock effects and political texts that resounds with tamas. 

Afrotunes – Best of Juju Vol. II – Oba Mimo Olorun Ayo, released on June 28, 2019, via BBE Music. Preorder here and listen to the album teaser here.

Read next: 5 Nigerian classic albums of the 80s