The Lijadu Sisters, Danger

Richard Gehr

By Richard Gehr

on 11.11.11 in Reviews


Lijadu Sisters
An introduction to twin singer-songwriters’ take on R&B, funk, acid rock and Afrobeat

Born in 1948, identical twin singer-songwriters Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu number among the many revelations of the past few years’ explosion of rediscovered Nigerian funk. The first, and arguably best, of four albums the Lijadus’ released on Decca’s regionally prodigious Afrodisia label between 1976-79, Danger provides a fine introduction to their idiosyncratic take on R&B, funk, reggae, acid rock, Afrobeat and percussive Yoruban waka music. Singing almost exclusively in unison, the sisters excoriate a malignant male in the title track, condemn bureaucratic gossips (“Amebo”), denounce government corruption (“Cashing In”) and encourage their countrymen to pull together (“Life’s Gone Down Low”). But their voices would be less affective without the fabulous fuzz tones and disco-lerious keyboards of their virtual one-man band and producer, Biddy Wright (d. 2000), who transforms the twins’ one-verse vamps into breezy, super-clean Afropop. Biddy’s guitar weeps exqusitely beside piped-in crashing waves on “Lord Have Mercy,” the slow, simmering downer (“I saw a child today, he was dying on the street”) that closes this welcome reissue.