Fuji Music (Fújì) is a popular Nigerian music genre. It originated from improvised weré music, also known as Ajísari (which means “wake up for sari “), a genre of music performed to wake Muslims before sunrise during Ramadan Lent. Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister made music popular in the 1950s and 60s and conceived the term “fújì” in an unusual way. According to Barrister, “I came up with it when I saw a poster at an airport advertising Mount Fuji, which is the highest mountain in Japan.” Fújì should not be confused with the Yorùbá words “fuja” or “faaji”.
History of the Fuji Music Genre
Wéré music is an Islamic influenced Yorùbá music genre that was invented by Muslim singers and musicians in Yorùbá cities in southwestern Nigeria to wake up Muslims while fasting during Ramadan. In the 1950s; nearing the end of the colonial era in Nigeria, Alhaji Dauda Epo-Akara and Ganiyu Kuti developed (Gani Irefin) wéré and made it popular in Ibadan environs. In the 1950s and 60s, numerous Wéré performance groups emerged in Muslim communities in and around the cities of Ibadan, Lagos, and Ìlọrin.
These early performers drew great inspiration from Yoruba sakarā music, with the sakarā drum (without the violin-like Goje often played with an accompanying violin). Notable Wéré artists from Lagos in the early years of independence include Sikiru Omo Abiba, Ajadi Ganiyu, Ayinde Muniru Mayegun (Captain General), Ajadi Bashiru, Sikiru Onishemo, Kawu Aminu, Jibowu Barrister, Ayinde Fatayi, Kasali Alani and Sakae Olayigbadeiway, and Bashaliiruwayway.
As different styles evolved, some performers played harmonica ( harmonica ) between Wéré interludes within their compositions. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister was the singer and composer of the popular Wéré group Jibowu Barrister under the direction of Alhaji Jibowu Barrister. In the 1960s, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and other young Wéré groups rocked Lagos and its surroundings.
In one of his early albums, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister described critics who referred to Fújì as “local music” as a combination of music that consisted of Sákárà, Apala, Jùjú, Gudugudu, Aro, Afrobeat, and highlife as well. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister did a great job promoting Fújì by spreading it around the world. He began touring the European continent, particularly England, in the 1970s, and later the United States in the 1980s. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister toured internationally before other Fújì bands toured outside Nigeria.
Between 1970 and the 1980s, Fatai Adio, Saura Alhaji, Student Fuji, Rahimi Ayinde (Bokote), Ramoni Akanni, Love Azeez, Waidi Akangbe, Sikiru Olawoyin, Agbada Owo, Iyanda Sawaba, Ejire Shadua, and Wahabi Ilori were other Fújì musicians Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, Suleiman Adigun, Sakaniyau Ejire and Wasiu Ayinla. As each artist became productive, each invented and introduced their unique style of Fújì music.
While male musicians have mastered the fuji music, reflect on fuji’s origins in BEING music, women artists have developed FUJI-related styles called Islamic and Waka. Islamic is a popular name for this genre of women’s music associated with Fújì, particularly in and around the city of Ìlọrin, while Wákà is a more general pan-Yoruba term for this genre of Muslim women.
These styles emerged in the late 1950s and were originally performed by female singers for Islamic events such as weddings and celebrations for pilgrims returning from Mecca. Since the 1980s, professional Muslim singers have founded their own bands, which are identical in their instrumentation to Fújì bands.
While the themes and aesthetics of Islam are more closely related to Muslim morality than to Fújì. The majority of Islamic and waka band leaders and backing singers are women, while the rest of their bands are typically men. Artists from Islamic and Wákà are dominant on stage and in videos.
Modernization of Fuji Music
In the early 1970s, Alhaji Kolington Ayinla (Baba Alatika or Kebe-n-Kwara) became a prolific Fújì performer and barrister’s longtime musical rival. Wasiu Ayinde Marshall Barrister (K1 De Ultimate) gradually appeared (with hits like “Talazo Fuji”) under the guidance of Sikiru Ayinde Barrister. Wasiu Ayinde worked for 15 years under Sikiru Ayinde Barrister in various roles, including an instrument packer and, in particular, a road manager.
Wasiu Ayinde’s style evolved in the early 1990s when it brought youthful vigor to a genre dominated by aging frontmen. By the late 1990s, Wasiu Ayinde’s Fújì brand had become one of the most popular dance genres in Nigeria. Another artist, Adewale Ayuba, took the nation by storm in the early 1990s with its unique Fújì brand “Bonsue Fújì”, which appealed to young and old alike.
Abass Akande Obesere (Omo Rapala) also became popular in the 1990s, known for bringing the street slang “asakasa” to the Fújì scene. Since Fújì’s origin and presence, most of the lyrics of Fújì songs are in the Yorùbá language. In particular, Fújì fusions with other genres often contain texts in English or in addition to the Yorùbá language Since Fújì’s origin and present, most of the lyrics of Fújì songs are in the Yorùbá language.
In particular, Fújì fusions with other genres often contain texts in English or in addition to the Yorùbá language Since Fújì’s origin and present, most of the lyrics of Fújì songs are in the Yorùbá language. In particular, Fújì fusions with other genres often contain texts in English or in addition to the Yorùbá language Nigerian pidgin language. Because of its popularity with young Nigerians, Fújì hook lines often become the main hook lines in Nigerian hip-hop music.
Further growth Recorded in Fuji Music
Popular modern Fújì musicians in Nigeria are Rasheed Ayinde Adekunle Merenge, Abass Akande Obesere (PK 1), Sir Shina Akanni, Alhaji Isiaka Iyanda Sawaba, Adewale Ayuba, Wasiu Alabi (Oganla 1), King Dr. Saheed Osupa (His Majesty), Late Sunny T. Adesokan (Omo Ina ton ko fújì), Alayeluwa Sulaimon Alao Adekunle Malaika (KS1, original) , Shefiu Adekunle Alao (Omo Oko), Sule Adio (Atawéwé), Tajudeen Alabi Istijabah (Oju Kwara).
Others are, Wasiu Ajani water), Taiye currency, Alhaji Komi Jackson, Remi Aluko (Igwe fújì), Muri Alabi Thunder, Karube Aloma, Oyama Azeez (Arabesa, Alapatinrin, the modern real Fuji creator), Murphy Adisa Sabaika (Madiba 2), Abiodun Ike Minister (Aremo Alayeluwa), Tunde Ileiru, Karubey Shimiu, Adeolu Akanni (Paso Egba), Shamu Nokia, Sunny Melody, Olusegun Ologo, Segun Michael, Bola Abimbola and Sulaimon Alao Adekunle (KS1 Malaika).
Today Fújì music is attracting more and more younger generations. Many popular and successful Fújì artists emerged in the 2000s, including Shanko Rasheed, Wasiu Container, Cripsymixtee, Konkolo Wally G, Global T, and Muri Ikoko. In this generation of singers, Wasiu Ayinde Marshall continues to be the most recognizable name in the genre. Since their rise in the 1990s, Abass Akande Obesere, Wasiu Alabi Pasuma (Oganla Fuji), and King Saheed Osupa have dominated the Fújì scene even today.