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Kehinde Lijadu, One Half of the Legendary Lijadu Sisters Has Passed Away

Tributes have been pouring in for Kehinde Lijadu of the celebrated Nigerian twin duo, known for their funky harmonies and themes of women's empowerment. She was 71.

Nigerians continue to mourn the loss of one of their musical legends, Kehinde Lijadu—one half of the identical twin duo Lijadu Sisters who passed away on Saturday morning after reportedly suffering a stroke, according to Music In Africa. She was 71.

Originally from Ibadan, the Lijadu Sisters, rose to fame in the 1970s. Kehinde was the second-born of the twins (in Yoruba culture, this made her the elder twin). They released their first Iya Mi Jowo in 1969 and dropped several albums throughout the 70s and 80s, including the album Danger (1976), which featured the politically-charged anthem "Cashing In," Sunshine (1978) and Horizon Unlimited (1979) which featured the standout track "Orere Elejigbo." As some of the only female acts in Nigeria's male-dominated music industry at the time, they often spoke about the challenges facing women in the scene, and the importance of social progress and women's empowerment.


They became full blown pop stars in Nigeria in the 70s and 80s and also gained success in US and Europe, where they brought their unique harmonies and genre-bending sound which fused elements of Afrobeat, funk, jazz, psychedelic rock and reggae. They performed alongside drummer Ginger Baker and his band Salt at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, one of their earliest performances outside of Nigeria. Baker also worked closely with their second cousin, the legendary Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti.

They moved to Brooklyn in the 80s, performing with other Nigerian musical acts like King Sunny Ade. Taiwo and Kehinde continued working into the 2010s, appearing on the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon in 2014 as part of the Atomic! Bomb Band tribute to the elusive Nigerian artist WIlliam Onyeabor. They toured several American cities with the band during this time.

OkayAfrica visited the legendary singers at their Bronx home that same year for the "Lijadu Lessons," where they discussed their bond, the influence of their mother and overcoming adversity and speaking out against oppression. "I will forever be the mouthpiece of those who are oppressed worldwide," says Kehinde In one clip. Watch it below and check out the full series here.

You can now donate to the GoFundMe fundraiser for Kehinde Lijadu's memorial service, it was started by her sister Taiwo. Keep up with Taiwo on the Lijadu Sisters' official website and Bandcamp.

Lijadu Lessons: Part One "Speaking Out" www.youtube.com

Kehinde will be remembered for her contribution to Nigeria's rich musical legacy, her promotion of women's rights, and outright sublime music. Tributes have been pouring out for the late singer, from those who were touched by her music.






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Photo: Courtesy of Saphir Niakadie

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