A dance music that combines Yoruba percussions with Funk and Reggae, performed mostly in the Yoruba dialect. It is distinguished by the singing of religious and cultural lyrics and the usage of percussion instruments, such as the talking drum. The genre has developed through time to include jazz and Western pop influences. Nigeria and the rest of the African diaspora both appreciate juju music, which is one of the most well-known genres of African music.


Juju music began to form when Tunde King, who was believed to be the father of the genre, decided to introduce some percussion instruments like Juju drum and Sekere into the unique Native Blues music he performed at the time. Native Blues is a Nigerian variant of Palm-wine Music. The name Juju is believed to be derived from the addition of the Juju musical instrument coupled with the fact that Tunde King was a nocturnal and private performer, performing only at private parties and social gatherings for the elites in the late evenings. Tunde King’s music was regarded as music made for the enjoyment of nocturnal spirits and the mystic powers of the night, therefore the term Juju was attached to his music. The primary instruments in Juju music were the guitar or goje, Sekere, and Juju drum. 

Juju music continued to evolve over the years as performers added other instruments and developed their unique performance styles. In the mid-1950s, Juju bands began to experiment with big-band structures like Jazz Bands, as new instruments became available to music performers. Akanbi Ege Wright introduced the talking drum (gan-gan) to Juju Music, while Sunday Harbour Giant, a Kruman, added the penny-whistle flute, mouth organ, and mandolin to his ensemble. Juju Music has graduated to a full band with various musical instruments, most notably the guitar and the talking drum. The addition of new instruments birthed new performance styles and variances of juju music. When the talking drum was added, a strong relationship began to develop between proverbs/punchlines spoken or sung and speech drumming in Juju Music.
Both King Sunny Ade (KSA) and Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey are regarded as the pioneers of modern-day Juju music. King Sunny Ade started out as an apprentice with Moses Olaiya aka Baba Sala. He later broke away from the apprenticeship to form his own band. Ebenezer Obey started his career five years earlier than Sunny Ade. Sunny Ade was an apprentice with Fatai Rolling Dollar’s band before he started the International Brothers’ band, who later changed their name to Inter-Reformers. While King Sunny Ade’s music was more up-tempo, fast-paced, and made for the dance floor, Ebenezer Obey’s music was more introspective while still maintaining danceable rhythms. After Bob Marley’s death, Island Records set out to raise another third-world superstar and signed King Sunny Ade. Sunny Ade went on to release a couple of albums under Island Records and gained a wide following as he was soon tagged ‘the African Bob Marley.’ While KSA was making international strides, Ebenezer Obey made a household album that catered to all the Yorubas' ceremonial events. From Weddings to birthdays, as well as naming ceremonies were not left out of his all-included project. Juju music still held its ground in the 90s with names like Dele Taiwo, Micheal Adebayo (Micho Ade), Dayo Kujore, etc. Sir Shina Peters re-strategized Juju with an even faster pace, heavier percussions, and lesser use of the guitar, and called his style Afrojuju. Although likened to King Sunny Ade’s style of Juju, Sir Shina Peters' percussion pattern was different. He released 3 albums (Ace, Shinamania, & Dancing Time) that became very successful. Juju music started receding in popularity in the 90s as Fuji music became the most prominent Yoruba music genre.

Form and Style

Juju music emphasizes the guitar and talking drum, making them the most prominent instruments used in the genre. However, it de-emphasizes the brass section that is a staple of Highlife music which is a precursor to Juju music..

Singing Style

Juju music is mostly performed in the Yoruba language spoken by the people of Southwestern Nigeria. The singing is often done at a relaxed pace to match the main rhythm of Juju music. The Call and response style that is common with other similar genres is a major feature with Juju music.


Some common themes you would find in Juju music include: Enjoyment Faaji (Partying) Yoruba folklore


Juju music has always been the go-to music for the Yoruba elite whenever there was a need for any celebration. It is the default Faaji music for Yorubas of a certain age.


The timbre of Juju music is usually polyphonic, rounded, and smooth.


We do not have an accurate arrangement or bar structure for this genre yet. We shall update this property as soon as we have the right data.

Key Instruments