Haruna travled all over the world playing this apala music, he was even decorated with an award by the Queen of England. Ishola would sit when performing, surrounded by two talking drummers, shaker and bell, and a chorus of singers. Also central to his sound was the agidigbo, a hollow lamellophone (thumb piano), both plucked and struck to create a hypnotic ostinato at the center of the apala sound. Andy Frankel, who produced Apala Messenger (IndigiDisc 2001), an excellent retrospective of Ishola's work, lived in Nigeria during the 1980s. He writes in the CD liner notes, "Among the most memorable anecdotes were that Haruna Ishola's voice was so powerful that his praise singing could kill its intended recipient if not provided with restraint.
It went without saying that if you had to go, being done in by the praises of this man was not a bad option." In 1969, Ishola started STAR Records Ltd., in partnership with jùjú music legend I.K. Dairo. This was the first African record label owned by its artists. Ishola died in 1983, but his large catalog of recordings both on Decca and STAR ensure that he will not soon be forgotten. Haruna ishola is widely known as baba ngani agba Read more on Last.fm.
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