Listen to a short excerpt from the song Salome from his album Ashiko (Warning: 869k - play back at 44100 kHz)
Chief Isaiah Kehinde Dairo, MBE (1930-1996) was widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of African popular music. He introduced important changes into juju music during the 1960s, deepening its connections to Yoruba verbal traditions while at the same time introducing such novelties as the ten-button accordion. Chief Dairo appeared on hundreds of commercial recordings from the late 1950s on and toured Europe, Asia, and the Americas on numerous occasions. Two biographical accounts devoted to Dairo's life and works have been published in Nigeria, and his work has received serious attention in the major scholarly publications on contemporary African music. In 1963 he received the MBE (Member of the British Empire) award, bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth, two years before the Beatles were similarly honored. Dairo was also a prominent leader in the Aladura (prayer-healing) church movement in Nigeria and a visionary whose songs are widely thought to have prophesied important events, including the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970).
Dairo's latest CD, Definitive Dairo (Green Linnet/ Xenophile 1996) was released posthumously. It contains 10 songs recorded at Decca in London in 1971 at the height of his career but never before released.