Isaiah Kehinde Dairo, a humble, gentle and a very polite man who today is and who forever may be holding the hegemony of the Juju empire was born in 1930 at Offa in Northern Nigeria. ikdairo1.jpg - 15.5 KThis genius who brought Yoruba's indigenous Juju to nation-wide recognition attended the CMS School at Offa for only two years after which financial strains forced him out. In company of his retiring father who served the Nigerian Railway Corporation as a carpenter for many years, he left Offa for Ijebu-Ijesha - his hometown. The year was 1937.
Shortly before they were to leave Offa something remarkable happened: the father drawing on his carpentry skill made a drum for young Dairo. Little could it be guessed that such a gift summarised his whole mission on earth. Isaiah was so fond of this drum that he would not part with it - early in the morning, at meal time, going to fetch water or doing any other thing his drum was beside him.
At Ijebu-Ijesha, he became a barber after some months of training. When he was not busy at barbing, he was on his drum so much that his father was alarmed. At evenings he would go and watch his predecessors of Juju music at play. These were Orioke, Oladele Oro and Mike - all of whom were then based at Ijebu-Ijesha. From the knowledge I K gained from his father as a carpenter, he made drum after drum for himself. Not long after, he succeeded in gathering some boys to make up a band. One Taiye Igese was the captain. This was in 1942. The band soon broke up .
Dairo who afterwards was to become the most popular of Nigerian musicians, went to Ede as an Osomalo - a pedestrian cloth seller from one locality to the other. He did this for four years after which he became a road worker for six months. When he saw that pays were not regular, he became a labourer clearing cocoa farms at Oko Apara near Oshogbo. At Oshogbo I K heard rumours about the construction of the Queen's College, Ede and of the Ede Water Supply Scheme. Soon after, he was at Ede working in these undertakings under Cappa and D'alberto. Wages then ranged from l/9d to 2s daily. Kehinde made a little of savings at Ede and with this he came to Ibadan. At Ibadan, he again worked with Cappa and D'alberto who were then busy on the University of Ibadan. This was the place where I K experienced the greatest hardship. He carried blocks upon blocks on his bare head so much that these shove a ring on this head. He was, however, relieved of this heavy labour when he was made a carpenter. Pays there were within the range of l/9d and 2/3d daily. I K indeed did much of labourer work to earn a living: to free himself from the fetters of inherited poverty. What an encouragement to some of us! If Isaiah had not inherited wealth, and if he had none thrown to him, he was bent on achieving one. And this he has done.
Kehinde did not at any time leave his drum behind. At day, he did his manual labour; at night he played with Ojoge Daniel - a Juju musician based at Ibadan. Ojoge soon stopped him and I K sought fresh avenues. Jobless he roamed for some time until advised by one Enoch to work with Hausa labourers in producing gravels for road. In those days labourer work was much valued and before one was taken he must have, at least, seen the foreman - to offer some sort of bribe. This was probably the only certificate required for entry.
Having wandered so long, I K felt homesick. Twelve years had elapsed since he left home and he had yet nothing. So with only a sixpence a guitar and carpentry tools, he reached his place of birth. With nothing but confidence, he formed his first band. The year: 1957. They were all ten. The band went by the name Morning Star Orchestra. They were invited to marriage ceremonies, burials, etc. to play.
In Sir I.K Dairo Songs 1.0.2Bug Fixes