By Uche Amunike
The news of Juju music maestro, Dayo Kujore’s death, at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, where he was receiving treatment for an undisclosed ailment, has been confirmed by his family.
Kujore, who was known for popular hits like ‘Superjet’ and ‘Soko Xtra’ would have turned 64 on April 4 2022.
He emerged on the music scene in 1991 with the album ‘Super Jet’ which brought him a lot of popularity at a time when veterans like King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and Sir Shina Peters were already popular in the industry.
He started playing the guitar when he was just 10 years old and being a guitarist in his church brought fame and wealth into his family. It was his expertise on the guitar that earned him the nickname, Wonder boy.
The young Kujore was born in his native Igbore Robiyan, Abeokuta in Ogun State to his parents, Pa Micheal Odejimi Kujore and Madam Esther Kujore, who were clerics of the African Church. He attended African Church Primary School and from there, proceeded to African Church Secondary School for his post-primary education. After that, he attended Sabo Technical School, Ojuelegba, Lagos State, where he studied Engineering.
His role model was Prince Adekunle of the Blessed memory for whom he played lead guitar on the album’s title, ‘Aditu Ede Adekunle Gbede’, ‘Eda Nreti Eleya’, ‘Nibo left ‘Toluwasi’, ‘You Tell me That You Love me Baby’ and many more. He also played the piano which made him fall in love with music.
It was traveling Juju musicians that came to perform in his village at special events that spotted him as a young talent and invited him to join them during their performances, which he did.
The late Adekunle taught Kujore how to maintain a music band and arrange music properly, back in the days. He released his first album, ‘Ha! Jesu Mbe’ in 1977. His other hits include ‘Elevation’, ‘Joy’, ‘Easy Life’s and the popular ‘Soko Xtra’.
He actually played alongside General Prince Adekunle, Segun Adewale and Sir Shina Peters. It was after performing with maestros like Chief Composer Jossy Olu Oguntade, MD Jaiyesinmi and Prince Adekunle that he formed a band called ‘The Superstars’, with some of his fellow youths. Shortly after, he went solo.
Even though the late Dayo Kujore’s death was reported by his wife and daughter, a formal announcement is expected to be issued by his family.
Kujore was among the pioneers of the Nigerian-styled musical art form and was motivated to play juju music by Joseph Oguntade who used to visit African church in Igboro during harvest festival to play juju music.
At the time when there were rumours about the late Kujore and Sir Shina Peters being in some sort of rivalry, he denied such claims and explained that both of them saw those reports and laughed over them as they were quite unfounded.
His words: ‘I have never fought with Sir Shina Peters. When we read the news that we were fighting, we laughed over it together’, he assured.
The Late Dayo Kujore’s death came as a shock to his several wives and children, including Ayinke Kujore, his last child who is a broadcaster.