…Her Staying Power
Waka legend, Queen Salawa Abeni clocked 58 on Sunday, May 5, 2019. QSA, as she is fondly called, is the first female recording artist in Nigeria to ever sell over one million copies.
Born Salawa Abeni Alidu, on May 5, 1961, QSA is from Ijebu Waterside but now part Epe, Lagos State.
She began her professional career in Waka music when she released her debut album, Late General Murtala Ramat Mohammed, in 1976, on Leader Records. It became the first recording by a female artist to sell over a million copies in Nigeria.
Salawa Abeni continued recording for Leader until 1986, when she ended a relationship with the record label’s owner, Lateef Adepoju.
She married Kollington Ayinla and joined his record label instead, staying with him until 1994.She was crowned “Queen of Waka Music” by the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi in 1992.
Waka is an Islamic-influenced, traditional Yoruba music style, popularized by Batile Alake; it is a much older genre than jùjú and fuji.
QSA is a mother of three lovely children.
Queen Salawa Abeni fell off the grid for about five years due to health related issues, but she returned to the music scene, bigger and better with a new album entitled Testimony.
Some of her hits include Indian Waka and Experience. Her beautiful music composing skills earned her multitude of fans nationwide; and during her reign, no social functions were completed without the touches of her electrifying beats especially in the circle of those who appreciated Waka music.
Even though Waka musical genre is dying out, Queen Salawa Abeni’s music still lives because it is part of the fabric from which Nigeria was cut.
Today, Queen Salawa Abeni is highly regarded as an icon of Nigerian music not only for paving the way for female artists but also for her staying power in the male dominated Nigerian music industry.
After four decades as a performing artist, her vocal and percussion style is still fascinating and she has even caught the attention of a younger generation of Nigerians. Her recent performance and audience reception at Felabration 2015 with her son, Big Sheff, is a valid indication that she is not going away anytime soon.
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