. issue XXI : iii .
Here’s the second of four promised reissues by Knitting Factory of the Lijadu Sisters, twins who were among the few women fronting bands in Nigeria in the 1970’s. The first volume, Danger, had an American-influenced sound heavy on the funk, soul and rock. Mother Africa, originally released by Afrodesia in 1977, complements its predecessor with a focus on popular Nigerian, and especially Yoruban, styles. You get mellow acoustic guitar-lead palm-wine (“Iya Mi Jowo”), deeply soulful and grooving fuji (“Bayi L’ense”), and juju (“Orin Aro”) with its characteristic lilting melodies, relaxed but insistent rhythm, and twangy guitar solos. (As an aside, the Lijadus were part of juju superstar King Sunny Ade’s 1982 USA tour, which included a gig at Richmond’s Mosque Theater.) Instrumentation is fairly minimal, generally nothing but guitar, talking drums and shekere, leaving plenty of sonic room for the Lijadus’ voices, which are generally heard in close harmony or in unison. Two volumes in, this reissue series is proving to be most worthwhile — I can’t wait to hear what surprises volumes 3 and 4 have in store.