How Fuji music rose from Yoruba-Islamic-style song to an internationally recognized genre

Ajisari or Ajiwere music was modified to become Fuji music. Traditional Islamic music known as ajiwere is played in Nigeria throughout Ramadan to energise Muslims. The usage of Yoruba language and indigenous musical instruments, together with the incorporation of Quranic allusions and references, increased the popularity of the genre within Yoruba communities.

The Yoruba Sakara music genre served as an inspiration for the first Ajiwere musicians. Sakara music is made up of praise songs that only use native Yoruba instruments, like the tambourine-like little circular Sakara drum and the solemn-sounding Goje violin.

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Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, the lead singer and composer of the well-known Ajisari ensemble Jibowu Barrister, is credited with developing and popularizing the Fuji style of music. Alhaji Jibowu Barrister served as the group’s leader. Fuji music is a type of Ajiwere/Ajisari music as a result.

Ayinde Barrister came up with the name “Fuji” after seeing a poster of Japan’s Mount Fuji in an airport.

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Other Nigerian music styles like Apala, Sakara, Juju, Aro, Afro, Gudugudu, and Highlife were merged into the Fuji music by Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.

Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister combined beats from the Sakara drum with inspiration from these various genres. To produce a unique kind of music, Juju and Highlife performers also included foreign instruments.

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Ayinde Wasiu Mashal (KWAM 1), Pasuma Wonder, Abass Akande Obesere, Saheed Osupa, Adewale Ayuba, Taiye Currency, Sule Alao Malaika, Shefiu Alao, Muri Thunder, Remi Aluko, and many others are well-known contemporary Fuji musicians in Nigeria.

The song “Egungun be Careful” by Obesere, which was created more than ten years ago, recently made a resurgence after being turned into a meme. It has greatly increased Obesere’s and the Fuji music’s resurgence in prominence.

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Considering the Covid-19 pandemic and the safety precautions to adhere to, KWAM did a short song during a recent live performance to highlight some safety measures required during this period.

The style and sound of Fuji music have changed from one generation to the next. With Fuji musicians traversing the world and playing this distinctive type of music for fans everywhere, the sound of Fuji music is well-known on a global scale.

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