Considered by many to be the "father of juju" for his many innovations, Isaiah Kehinde Dairo
was born in Kwara State, Nigeria, in 1931. One story has it that his lifelong love of music stemmed from a drum that his father, a carpenter, made for him in his youth and that accompanied him wherever he went. In early adulthood, Dairo
tried earning a living as a barber, a construction worker, and a cloth merchant, among other jobs. Dairo
sat in with early juju bands at night, led by musical pioneers Ojoge Daniel and Oladele Oro. In the mid-'50s he formed his own group, the ten-member Morning Star Orchestra
, which gained fame later as the Blue Spots.
Though highlife was the most popular form of band music in West Africa at the time, Dairo
and his band released a long succession of influential singles that, by the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, helped establish juju as the premier Nigerian sound. Dairo
changed the tenor of juju by introducing the accordion and talking drums to the orchestra and singing in a variety of regional dialects, which widened the rural appeal of the music. When his appeal began to wane at the end of the 70s, he gave up performing, turning first to managing clubs and a hotel in Lagos, then to a ministry in the Cherubim and Seraphim church movement. In 1990 he recorded his first album in 15 years with a re-formed Blue Spots