I.K. Dairo Biography: Age, Wife, Children & Net Worth

I.K. Dairo – Let Us Be Careful

Stage Name: I.K. Dairo
Real Name: Isaiah Kehinde Dairo
Occupation: Musician
Date Of Birth/Age: 1930–1996
State of Origin: Osun State
Gender: Male
Nationality: Nigerian
Marital Status:
Known for: Let Us Be Careful

Early Life

Isaiah Kehinde Dairo, better known as I.K. Dairo, was born in Offa, part of present-day Kwara State, Nigeria. Originally from Ijebu-Jesa, his family had migrated to Offa. He attended a Christian Missionary primary school in Offa but had to leave due to financial constraints in his family. Travelling to Ijebu-Jesa, he took with him a drum built by his father at the age of seven, displaying his early passion for drumming. While working as a barber in Ijebu-Jesa, he immersed himself in the local jùjú music scene, listening to early pioneers and experimenting with drumming during his free time.

Career Beginnings

I.K. Dairo’s interest in jùjú music grew, leading him to join a band led by Taiwo Igese in 1942. However, the band disbanded within a few years. In 1948, while working as a pedestrian cloth trader in Ede, Osun State, he faced a setback when he lost his job due to participating in a local ceremony without his boss’s knowledge. Despite the setback, I.K. Dairo continued pursuing manual tasks and eventually moved to Ibadan, where he briefly played in a band with pioneer Jùjú musician Daniel Ojoge. Returning to Ijebu-Ijesa, most of his performances with Ojoge’s band took place at night.

Founding the Morning Star Orchestra

I.K. Dairo’s musical career gained momentum in 1957 when he founded the ten-piece band, the Morning Star Orchestra. The turning point came in 1960 during Nigeria’s independence celebration when the band was invited to play at a party hosted by Chief D O A Oguntoye, a prominent Ibadan-based lawyer and politician. The performance garnered attention and admiration, leading to invitations to various cultural celebrations and lavish parties. In the early 1960s, he renamed the band Blue Spots and won a televised competition in Western Nigeria, propelling him to critical and popular acclaim. During this period, he also established his record label in collaboration with Haruna Ishola.

Influences and Inspiration

I.K. Dairo’s emergence in the late 1950s coincided with Nigeria’s growing anticipation of independence. Considered a premier musician, he captured the excitement of the era through his jùjú music. The musical landscape had shifted towards more intense sounds, reflecting the lavish parties of the time. Dairo’s success in the 1960s was influenced by his incorporation of traditional sounds, political inspiration from the 1950s, and a focus on rhythm, beats, and tempo reflecting various ethnic sounds. He experimented with different Yoruba musical styles and incorporated languages like Edo, Urhobo, Itsekiri, and Hausa in some lyrics. The band’s well-organized arrangements, Yoruba and Latin American dance rhythms, and patronizing lyrics contributed to his rise in the Juju and music scene.

Notable Hits and Instruments

In 1962, I.K. Dairo released the hit song ‘Salome’ under Decca records, combining traditional Yoruba elements with urban themes. Another popular song, ‘Ka Sora’ (Let Us Be Careful), warned about the pitfalls of unreasoned governance and is sometimes seen as predictive of the Nigerian civil war. The band utilized instruments such as the amplified accordion (played by I.K. Dairo), electric guitar, talking drum, double toy, akuba, ogido, clips, maracas, agogo (bell), and samba (a square-shaped drum).

Later Career

While I.K. Dairo’s dominance in the Nigerian music scene waned by 1964, with new acts like Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Adé gaining popularity, he continued his music career. In the 1970s and 1980s, he toured Europe and North America. Involved in groups dealing with musicians’ property rights, he later joined the Ethnomusicology department at the University of Washington, Seattle, from 1994 to 1995.

Partial Discography

I.K. Dairo and the Blue Spots’ discography includes notable CDs like ‘Ashiko’ (1994), ‘Definitive Dairo,’ ‘I Remember,’ and ‘Juju Master.’ Some of their records include ‘Salome 92,’ ‘Ise Ori Ranmi Ni Mo Nse,’ ‘I Remember My Darling,’ ‘Erora Feso Jaiye,’ ‘Se B’Oluwa Lo Npese,’ ‘Yoruba Solidarity,’ ‘Mo ti yege,’ and ‘Ashiko Vols 1&2’ from the early 1970s.