The Lijadu Sisters Afro Beat Soul Sisters

The Lijadu SistersAfro Beat Soul Sisters
It's a bit of an eyebrow raiser that it's taken this long for a compilation of Nigeria's Lijadu Sisters to emerge for North American audiences. They were on the radar of forward thinking journalists around the same time (mid- to late '70s) Fela Kuti made his initial mark on North America and their songs were certainly accessible enough to attract a cult audience. No matter, Soul Jazz, as usual, has made it all good. The twin sisters span quite a few stylistic influences, from rock (the toe-tapping "Danger" gets things going off the top) to Afrobeat to Pointer Sisters-inflected soul, to more traditional Yoruban influences. "Orere-elejigbo" is a dubwise, juju-Afrobeat trip that clearly presages what King Sunny Ade was about to do on his Island Records releases just a few years later. Also: fuzz guitar ― there's lots of it. A heroic solo in "Bayi L'ense," on top of slappity-poppity bass, is irresistible. The sisters' vocals at first seem like a weaker element in the mix, but the English language songs in particular are quite melodic and have a girl-group tightness to their harmonies that elevate the more overt disco trickery. This is highly recommended. (Soul Jazz)