Traditional / folk music of NIGERIA


The largest ethnic groups in Nigeria are Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba people. Igbo people are mostly Christians, Hausa people are Muslims and Yoruba are mixture of both and also Yoruba religion. The folk music and culture of these ethnic groups shape the root of folk music in Nigeria today. The same as most of Africa, folk music in Nigeria linked to daily life like wedding, funeral, agriculture. Many of these folk musics are related to work songs from the fields to rivers. Same as many other African countries, rhythms are big part of these musics. Even women have complex types of rhythms for their housekeeping.

During the history, Nigeria has been under the rule of Islam, later Europeans came to Nigeria, but northern part of Nigeria kept out of their touch until nineteenth century. The southern regions was touched by Europeans on 14th and 15th centuries. Their contact was through Portuguese spice trade. Later British took control of area with slavery, although slavery banned by 1807. They had the control in different level until the independence of Nigeria on 1960. In 1960 Nigeria unified under the 250 ethnic groups but after that until today suffers from different type of dictatorships or instability in the politics.

Under the rule of Islam specially in northern area which is land of Hausa ethnic groups, folk music and rituals suffer a lot as they were banned by the Islam. However with all these restriction the folk and traditional music survive on it's way even in some cases for worshiping the local tribes gods. But today a big problem in the context of folk music for Nigeria is with globalization and it's related problems, many of these folk musics are in the danger of extinction. Nothing could be more dangerous than globalization for this traditional music and culture during the history, even radical rules of Islam.

Drumming has the big role in folk music of Nigeria. There are many different type of drum instruments in each area and each one has it's own specific role. Some of the folk drums and percussions which can be named are: Djembe, Sakara, Sato, Ema, Ekomo , Ibid, Shekere, Agogo.

Some other melodic instruments in the traditional music of Nigeria which can be named are Ubo Aka (thumb piano), Ikon (xylophone) and Agidigbo (large thumb piano box) of Yoruba-land.

These folk musics and instruments are the root of popular and modern type of folk music during the 20th century. The number of these genres are huge, but here we mention some of them.

Apala

This type of folk music originally born from the music of Yoruba people in Nigeria. It is heavily based on percussion. This music is about to wake Muslims after fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The main instruments which is used in Apala are sekere, agidigbo(thumb piano) and agogĂ´ (kind of bell). One of the most famous and most important Apala musician is Haruna Ishola. This music is also under the influence of Cuban music which itself came from Afro music.

Fuji

This folk music is one of the derivation of Apala music and has the same concept as Apala. But musically it is mixture of of different genres of folk music. According to Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister who is one of the most important musicians of this genre it is mixture of Sakara, Apala, juju, Aro, Afro, and gudugudu and highlife. He did a great effort to popularize this genre of folk music. 

Juju

This folk music originally comes from another music genre named Palm-wine music which is the music of Kru people in Liberia with some mixing with European instruments. In Nigeria it is used with guitar, banjo, shakers and hand drums. In Nigeria juju music popularized deeply with the efforts of Tunde King during 1920s and 1930s.  The incorporation of Yoruba music, brass instruments, Islamic percussion and new Brazilian techniques was lead to juju music.

Afrobeat

This music may be the most well-known music of Nigeria in the world. Without doubt Fela-Kuti is the most important character in Afrobeat and also the founder of it. Afrobeat is in fact combination of different music genres from American jazz and funk, yuroba, highlife and fuji music with focus on percussion and chant vocals. It's questions and responds between chant vocals and polyrhythms. The special character of Fela kuti as an human right activist also helped a lot to made this music well-known in the world. Many musicans and music genres in the world today are influenced by Afrobeat.

Waka

Waka is another type of traditional music in Nigeria which also comes from yoruba music genre. It was popularized by Batile Alake and then also by Salawa Abeni who is known as Queen of Waka.

Another traditional music genres which can be named is highlife which is popularized and developed between Igbo people. It originally came from Ghana, but got adopted and developed by Igbo people of Nigeria too.

The traditional music of Nigeria is huge and diverse. If you have more information about folk music of Nigeria, it's genres or instruments or you know specific songs on each genre, please kindly contact us and let us know about it or send them through Post a Song link on top of the page. Also if you see any wrong information about the song tags on the list below please kindly let us know.


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Traditional / folk songs for NIGERIA


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Batile Alake
Song:  Ore (Friendship)
By:  Batile Alake
Nigerian traditional music, folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, waka music
Batile Alake
Song:  Fasali Amoo
By:  Batile Alake
Nigerian traditional music, folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, waka music

Fela Kuti
Song:  Shakara
By:  Fela Kuti
folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, afrobeat
Fela Kuti
Song:  Zombie
By:  Fela Kuti
folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, afrobeat

Ayinde Barrister
Song:  Club 82 of Nigeria
By:  Ayinde Barrister
Nigerian traditional music, folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, fuji music
Ayinde Barrister
Song:  E Ku Odun
By:  Ayinde Barrister
Nigerian traditional music, folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, fuji music

Alhadji Haruna Ishola
Song:  Late Mary Awolowo
By:  Alhadji Haruna Ishola
Nigerian traditional music, folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, apala music
Alhadji Haruna Ishola
Song:  Agbe Ko Gbereere Tomi Wa
By:  Alhadji Haruna Ishola
Nigerian traditional music, folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, apala music

Alhadji Haruna Ishola
Song:  Ninu Ese Meji Ti Ile Aiye Fi Duro
By:  Alhadji Haruna Ishola
Nigerian traditional music, folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, apala music
Babatunde Olatunji
Song:  Shango (Chant to the God of Thunder)
By:  Babatunde Olatunji
Nigerian traditional music, folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, djembe

Babatunde Olatunji
Song:  Oya (Primitive Fire)
By:  Babatunde Olatunji
Nigerian traditional music, folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, djembe
Ayinde Bakare
Song:  Ojo Davies
By:  Ayinde Bakare
folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, juju music

Tunde King
Song:  Dunia
By:  Tunde King
folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, juju music
Tunde King
Song:  Oba Oyinbo
By:  Tunde King
folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, juju music

Tunde Nightingale
Song:  Na Poor A Poor
By:  Tunde Nightingale
folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, juju music
Tunde Nightingale
Song:  The Original Owanbe Sound
By:  Tunde Nightingale
folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, juju music

Roy Chicago
Song:  Sere Fun Mi Baby
By:  Roy Chicago
folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, highlife
Roy Chicago
Song:  Esin O Wewu
By:  Roy Chicago
folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, highlife

Oliver De Coque
Song:  Ndi Ogiriga Wara na Nwa
By:  Oliver De Coque
folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, highlife, Igbo music
Oliver De Coque
Song:  Nwanne Di Na Mba
By:  Oliver De Coque
folk music of Nigeria, Nigerian folk music, highlife, Igbo music


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