Compilation: Nigeria Freedom Sounds!

Calypso, highlife, apala, mambo, juju: Nigerian popular music from the 1960s is explored in a compilation by Soul Jazz Records

Soul Jazz Records will release a compilation of popular music from Nigeria, after its independence in 1960.

Nigeria Freedom Sounds! features music by artists including I.K. Dairo, E.C. Arinze, the Ishie Brothers and J.O Araba. While many of these names will not be as familiar globally as the likes of the Funkees, Fela Kuti or Orlando Julius, they are crucial in putting the country's more popular sounds in context.

While Britain’s colonial influence in the Niger area gradually increased over the 19th century, with events such as the annex of Lagos in 1861, the area was not fully occupied until 1885. On 1 January 1901, Nigeria became part of the British Empire as a protectorate and in 1914 was formally united as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, but it remained divided into the Northern and Southern Provinces and Lagos Colony.

When Nigeria gained its independence in 1960, a divided country became united and its popular cultures – music in particular – began to flourish.

Nigeria Freedom Sounds! is a 23-track compilation that captures this renaissance period from 1960 to 1963. The album includes a fusion of styles that made up the popular sound of the day: electronic instruments from western countries combined with traditional Nigerian juju, apala, Ghanaian highlife, Caribbean calypsos and mambo.