Inspired by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Victor Olaiya and Miriam Makeba, twin sisters Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu were often known as West Africa’s answer to the Pointer Sisters.
Their sound was a vibrant fusion of Afrobeat, reggae, jazz, Memphis soul and disco and, just like their Nigerian cousin Fela Kuti, music was to be a lifelong career for the pair. Still performing to this day the sisters started out in mid-60’s after music producer Lemmy Jackson guided them into early success. Spanning over three decades with a total of six albums the Lijadu Sisters rose from a time where female recording artists were a rarity and through their achievement came the accolade of being one of the only woman bands to “break through the backing singer/dancer ceiling.” Speaking of this Taiwo Lijadu has documented how, “The music business was hard for women in Nigeria. Back then, they didn’t think women had brains.“
One of their first songs to be released was arranged with assistance from jazz saxophone player Orlando Julius and this was followed by their debut album Iya Mi Jowo in 1969 which was released after the duet won a record contract with Decca Records!
Their second record, released nearly seven years later in 1976, was entitled Danger and features the aptly crafted artwork detailing pair running/dancing amidst an array of high voltage power cables. The album’s title track portrays danger as a lost love whilst today’s song, Life’s Gone Down Low (featuring on the same album), depicts danger as something far more foreboding as it predicts the downfall of man. Perhaps even an anthem for modern day, we could all gain something from the imminent message the sisters were foretelling in this track as lyrics declare, “Lifes gonna give you/a little bit of understanding/Stop and look oh yeah/Or we headed for the nuclear power.” Musically the song is delivered with a slow-paced sheen allowing lyrics to unfold naturally, bright in its delivery despite the pondering lyrical content. Through bright vocal harmonising and repeated lyrics the song gets inot your head as it unfolds with an optimistic outlook highlighting how “its not to late for me and you if we hurry.” Check it out above.