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Ronnie Graham, an historian who specialises in West Africa, has attributed the success of the Nigerian music industry to the country's culture—its "thirst for aesthetic and material success and a voracious appetite for life, love and music, [and] a huge domestic market, big enough to sustain artists who sing in regional languages and experiment with indigenous styles".

The first stars of fuji were the rival bandleaders Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and Ayinla Kollington.

Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister started his fuji career in the early 1970s with the Golden Fuji Group," although he had sung Muslim songs since he was 10 years old.

In the early to mid 1970s, three of the biggest names in Nigerian music history were at their peak: Fela Kuti, Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Ade, while the end of that decade saw the start of Yo-pop and Nigerian reggae.

Although popular styles such as highlife and jùjú were at the top of the Nigerian charts in the '60s, traditional music remained widespread. Dairo Following World War II, Tunde Nightingale's s'o wa mbe style made him one of the first jùjú stars, and he introduced more Westernised pop influences to the genre.

Ishola, who was one of Nigeria's most consistent hit makers between 1955 and his death in 1983, recorded apala songs, which alternated between slow and emotional, and swift and energetic.

His lyrics were a mixture of improvised praise and passages from the Quran, as well as traditional proverbs.

These included Rocafil Jazz and Prince Nico Mbarga, whose "Sweet Mother" was a pan-African hit that sold more than 13 million copies, more than any other African single of any kind.

Mbarga used English lyrics in a style that he dubbed panko, which incorporated "sophisticated rumba guitar-phrasing into the highlife idiom".

Fuji was named after Mount Fuji in Japan, purely for the sound of the word, according to Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.

Fuji was a synthesis of apala with the "ornamented, free-rhythmic" vocals of ajisari devotional musicians and was accompanied by the sakara, a tambourine-drum, and Hawaiian guitar.

Meanwhile, highlife had been slowly gaining in popularity among the Igbo people, and their unique style soon found a national audience.

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