Music

Nigerian Duo the Lijadu Sisters’ Full Discography to Be Reissued in Partnership With Numero Group

The Lijadu Sisters and Numero Group have signed an expansive new partnership that seeks to bring justice to the legendary Nigerian duo’s catalog, it was announced on Wednesday (July 10).

Composed of identical twin sisters Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu — who are second cousins to Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti — the Lijadu Sisters arose as fearless and groundbreaking leaders in the male-dominated Nigerian pop music scene. The duo fused Afrobeat, pop, psychedelic rock, reggae, disco and jazz music with messages about gender equality, government corruption, love and more in both English and Yoruba. They toured with Nigerian jùjú musician King Sunny Adé, David Byrne, Ginger Baker and Art Blakey and, during a 2014 appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, performed in the Atomic Bomb! band tribute to Nigerian musician William Onyeabor.

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The sisters, whose alté ethos paved the way for modern female African artists like Amaarae and Tems, released five albums in the 1970s under Decca Records’ Afrodisia imprint. That was followed by Double Trouble, a 1984 compilation featuring hits from those albums released by Shanachie Records. The Nigerian duo later signed a 10-year licensing agreement with Knitting Factory Records around 2011, according to a recent Rolling Stone profile, with four albums being reissued under the deal. They regained control of their catalog in 2021, two years after Kehinde died of metastatic breast cancer at age 71.

While their work has inspired a wide range of artists, according to the Rolling Stone profile, the sisters’ music and likeness has been exploited for decades and they’ve struggled with copyright infringements and unpaid royalties. Nas‘ “Life’s Gone Low” track from his 2006 The Prophecy, Vol 2: The Beginning of the N mixtape contains an uncredited sample of the duo’s “Life’s Gone Down Low” from their 1976 album Danger. And Taiwo’s current manager, Eric Welles-Nyström, told Rolling Stone that Ayra Starr failed to properly clear “Orere-Elejigbo,” a song from the sisters’ 1979 album Horizon Unlimited that Starr sampled on her 2021 track “Sare”. He added that they’ve found more than 50 total infringements of the sisters’ work to date.

The new partnership with Numero Group is meant to honor the duo’s legacy through the launch of a multi-year, multi-record reissue campaign to finally — and rightfully — bring their entire discography to the masses.

Kicking off the campaign will be the release of a remastered and restored version of Horizon Unlimited, which contains the hit “Come On Home.” Five-time Grammy-winning engineer Michael Graves, who remastered Blondie‘s Against The Odds: 1974-1982 and Written In Their Soul: The Stax Songwriter Demos, is remastering the six-track album, which is currently available on DSPs and will be re-released on CD and vinyl on Sept. 20. The album’s physical packaging will include the first-ever transcription of the record’s lyrics in both Yoruba and English along with corrected album credits, original artwork and more.

Numero Group will eventually reissue all of the band’s albums as well as a collection of rediscovered, previously unavailable singles, promo EPs and rare recordings.

“I think one of the most exciting things about the reintroduction of Horizon Unlimited is the fact that young folk love our music and are surprised at the upbeat tempo and the lyrics, which are not only of today, but also very futuristic as well,” said Taiwo in a press release. “Horizon Unlimited was our last album with Decca that came out in 1979. It’s been a long time since then and this really is part of a much longer story, but amongst one of the most significant things I remember was that we, The Lijadu Sisters, paid for all the studio and band session fees. At the time, this was unusual, and not the arrangement we had with that record label. We were originally meant to record at Decca West Africa in Lagos, but when we got to the studio, no one had told us that it was being upgraded — from eight tracks to 24. So we brought everyone to London and made the album there instead.”

The Lijadu Sisters’ partnership with Numero Group “is allowing us to reach out to younger people. What’s going to come is creative collaborations with their music or their story, working with filmmakers and writers, trying to set stuff up creatively for Taiwo and younger artists,” Taiwo’s current manager, Eric Welles-Nyström, told Rolling Stone.

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