DAIRO Kehinde Isaac



Kehinde Isaac

A Talented Artiste by(Benson Idonije). siah Kehinde Dairo was denied the fulloppor tunity of formal education, but that notwith standing, he was able to take his musicianship to unprecedented heights. Aside from being hon oured with the Member ofthe British Empire (MBE) by the Queen of England, he was also offered the opportunity to teach African music in an American University, towards the end ofhis musical career. His music did itall for him, even though the road to star dom was rough. Born on 6 January 193 l at Offa in Kwara State to Mr and Mrs Ogundairo ofIjebu-Ijesha, Osun State, Dairo dropped out ofschool at a very early age. He was born into a polygamous home of three wives and nineteen children. Up till 1940, his father worked as a seniorcarpenter with the Nigerian Railway Cor poration in Otta. He was a disciplinarian, but accord ing to Dairo he was also a caring father; "we lived our life comfortably, father took care ofus. During those days, money had value so it could buy a lot and as a result we bought much food stuff with little amount." Born into a Christian family, his musical inspi ration first took root in the church which the family attended regularly. It was at primary school, however that he first gave expression to his talent for music, when he set up a puppet musical group with other kids. They went about drumming, singing and thrill ing people with their childish meaningless songs. Some of the children carried tins, cans and sticks as their musical instruments, but Dairo always carried his samba drum with him everywhere he went. Dairo once explained; "Wewould gather ourselves together at a certain spot, most often at evening times and play our usualjargons which some grown-ups used to come around and watch. We all felt happy being watched". At school, he was the 'Drummer boy'. He of ten beat the drum for the school at both the opening and closing of assemblies. He also played at other occasions where his drumming was required. Dairo became so popular and interested in drumming for the school that it became an obsession; "I was not alwayspaying attention to what we were taught in the classroom because my mind was always on the drum I was going to beat at the close ofthe assem bly. I always looked forward to the dawn ofanother day for me to play the drums at the school's opening assembly." Music, as a career, began to prove a probable alternative when his father retired from the Nigerian Railways in 1940, and the family had to move back hometo Ijebu-Ijesha to pursue farming. Young Dairo who was then only nine years worked very hard on the farm and made plenty ofmoney, but he soon left farming for barbing where he also made impact. He did numerous odd jobs at various times which in cludedclothselling,roadwork,farmwork,amongoth ers. He, however, combined these chores with his drumming which mattered more to him. His music career started at the age offifteen in 1946,playingashikojujuinthe native blues idiom. He played the samba drum in theAdekunle OriOke JujuBandOrchestraagainsthisfather's wishes, com biningitconvenientlywithtradingapprenticeshipsince music was played at night. He soon left for another juju music outfit led byone Taiyeloju Igese. Hesang and played tambourine for the band. Dairo joined Ojoge Daniel in 1950, and Rose Adetola in 1953 before setting up his own group, 'MorningStars Orchestra' at Ibadan in 1954. The group disbanded in 1956 as a result ofwhich he had to go back to his hometown, Ijebu-Ijesha to continue his carpentry work. The rebirth of Morning Stars occurred in 1957.Dairo puttogether a 25-piece band, which eventually propelled him into stardom. The name 'Morning Stars ' was changed to 'Blue Spots Band' in I960, by which time the band had started to enjoy tremendous popularity. By 1960, Dairo's music began to receive wide spread acceptance. Recording companies started to fall over themselves to sign him on their labels. Ho tels, clubhouses, associations, and societies scram bled for I.K Dairo. During the Nigerian Independ ence Celebration on l October 1960, Dairo played several official engagements. His music dominated the air waves ofthe then Western Nigerian Broad casting Service and Nigerian BroadcastingCorpora tion. The cumulativeeffect ofthis popularity eventu ally earned him the MBE from the Queen ofEngland - a rare honour for any musician in those days. Acombination ofhighlife and Nigerian indig enous rhythms, Dairo's juju took on a completely different approach that was pleasant to the ears. A prolific composer, his music was full of messages and was devoid of protest, rebellion and abuse. It was full of admonition, exhortation, love, peace and all the virtues of life. This endeared him to the entirerecordbuying public,especially parents who liked Dairo's traditional moralvalues. Besides,untiltheseventies when high voltage amplification was introducedto therecordingindustry,Dairo'smusicwaspleasantto listento atclose range,andheenjoyedthe patronage of the elitesinNigerian society. Dairobrought excitementanddirectaudience involvementtojuju music.What madehismusicspe cial was the introduction of the accordion and the talkingdrums— musicalinstrumentsthatwerehith ertoabsent fromjujumusicensembles. Formanyyears, hewas inthe forefront ofthe musical entertainmentindustry inNigeria. Hewasthe chairman ofthe Musical Copyrights Society ofNi geria(MCSN); andthe brainsbehind the formation of the Juju Band Leaders Association ofNigeria (JUBAL) where he served asthe pioneer president. Dairo was a member of the Association of Business ExecutivesIncorporated(USA),andhealsobelonged tomanysocialclubs andsocietiessuchasIjebu-Ijesha Union, Island Club andHigh Society ofLagos. Aside from the MBE which he received on 23 June 1963, Dairo's works in the music industry haveearned him manyaccolades andawardsathome and abroad. Prominent among them was the Ma hoganyAwardconferred on him in 1991 by the En tertainment CriticsAssociation ofGhana(ECRAG). Others include the Ambassador of Yoruba Social Music (USA), AfricanEminent Personality award (USA), OmoEto(Nigeria),BabaAward(Nigeria),andmany others. Dairo's lyrics and rhythmic patterns have international appeal because he did not limit his singing to Yoruba Language. He recorded songs in English, Hausa,Edo, Fanti,Ga,Igbo and even the Congolese Language ofthe Democratic Republic ofCongo. In 1966, he accompanied General Yakubu Gowon(Rtd.)andhisentourage on astatevisittothe Republic ofBeninwhereheentertainedthe president andhis Beninois counterpartatthe Airport'srecep tion venue. In July 1971, he embarked on a Euro peantourthattookhimto London,Brusselsand Paris. He then went to Congo, Brazzaville where he fea tured in aTrade Fair.He has also performed in Ja pan, CanadaandAmericaasidefromtouringtheWest African Coast. Dairowas selected by the World Jury to par ticipate inthe finals ofthe World PopularSongsFes tival in Tokyo, Japan from 17to 19November in 1972.Thiswas inrecognition ofhis recordasone of the best sixteen musicians from all over the world. He camebackwith medals andprizes. Consequent uponthe ravereviews ofhis per formanceinJapan in 1987,recordingcompanies in AmericaandCanadadeveloped profound interest in his music. Asaresult ofthevisit,Music oftheWorld prepared andreleasedsix recordings ofDairoin 1991 oncompactdisc. Amongthem areOmogeSuper,the American version of / Remember; Motiyege; Alabiyamo EkuEwu;Feso Jaiye; and / Remember myDarling. Duringhismusicaltours ofNorth Americaand Canada in 1991 and 1992,his performance attracted the attention of Washington State University in Seattle (USA). This earned him a one-year lecture programme in African music.It was a wonderful crowning achievement, at the end of which the university authority awarded him professorship in African Music. Also, the city Mayor was said to have declared an I.K Dairo Day for him as a glowing tribute to his contribution during his stay at the university.
Gender: Male
Name of Spouse
Father's Name
Mother's Name
Profession Musician
Working Experience
Last Update

“Please send your updated CV to: [email protected]” – Editor

© Blerf

All entries available on this Website shall be updated from time to time in order to add, modify or amend the information or contents of an existing entry. Accordingly, no legal proceedings whatsoever shall be entertained by the biographer on account of any information deemed to be inadequate or incomplete.


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


©2024 Biographical Legacy and Research Foundation. Powered by 24hubs

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?