Considered by many to be the “father of juju” for his many innovations, Isaiah Kehinde Dairo was born in Kwara State, Nigeria, in 1931. One story has it that his lifelong love of music stemmed from a drum that his father, a carpenter, made for him in his youth and that accompanied him wherever he went. In early adulthood, Dairo tried earning a living as a barber, a construction worker, and a cloth merchant, among other jobs. Dairo sat in with early juju bands at night, led by musical pioneers Ojoge Daniel and Oladele Oro. In the mid-’50s he formed his own group, the ten-member Morning Star Orchestra, which gained fame later as the Blue Spots.
I.K. Dairo who is from Ijebu Ijesha is often called The Father of Juju Music. In the 1950s and 1960’s Juju was considered music of the ‘poorer’ people because it wasn’t modern enough for the elite of the class-conscious Nigeria. After independence, I.K. Dairo was the chief reason Juju took off.
In 1957 I.K. Dairo founded his band, the Morning Star Orchestra, later to become the Blue Spots. He incorporated rhythms from all over the country, and even introduced the accordian and slide guitar. Dairo’s lyrical skills gave him a string of hit records. In 1963 Dairo received an MBE for his achievements, the only African musician to ever hold such a title.
Though highlife was the most popular form of band music in West Africa at the time, Dairo and his band released a long succession of influential singles that, by the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, helped establish juju as the premier Nigerian sound. Dairo changed the tenor of juju by introducing the accordion and talking drums to the orchestra and singing in a variety of regional dialects, which widened the rural appeal of the music. When his appeal began to wane at the end of the 70s, he gave up performing, turning first to managing clubs and a hotel in Lagos, then to a ministry in the Cherubim and Seraphim church movement. In 1990 he recorded his first album in 15 years with a re-formed Blue Spots band. No wonder his status is in the center of his town… Rest in Peace Isaiah Kehinde Dairo A k a Baba Aladura