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Sikiru Adepoju — Nigeria’s Forgotten Grammy Award Trailblazer

Sikiru Adepoju — Nigeria’s Forgotten Grammy Award Trailblazer

Did you know that contrary to popular opinion, Nigerian Afrobeats Superstar Burna Boy, who walked away with the Best Global Music Album at the 63rd Grammy Award in 2021, isn’t the first Nigerian in history to have done so? 

Many argue that the first Nigerian to ever win a Grammy is Sade Adu who picked up the ‘Best New Artist‘ award in 1986. Although this claim is technically correct, as Sade is Nigerian-born, we can’t deny that she’s generally recognized globally more as a British act.

Nigeria’s forgotten Grammy Award-winning trailblazer is none other than Sikiru Adepoju. Born on 10th November 1950, Sikiru is a Nigerian percussionist and recording artiste.

A maestro of the talking drum, Sikiru Adepoju, is from a musical family in Eruwa, Nigeria. His father, Chief Ayanleke Adepoju, whose name Ayan means “descended from drummers,” taught him and his brothers how to play the talking drum at a very young age.

Sikiru Adepoju in his teens performed on tour and recorded numerous albums with the Inter-Reformers Band, a group led by Nigerian Juju singer Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, one of the forefathers of Afrobeat.

He won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album in 2008 for his contribution to Mickey Hart’s Global Drum Project at the 51st annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.




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