Salawa Abeni

Salawa Abeni Alidu (born 5 May 1961) is a Nigerian singer.[1] An Ijebu Yoruba from Ijebu Waterside, in Ogun State, she began her professional career in waka music when she released her debut album titled, Late General Murtala Ramat Mohammed, in 1976, on Leader Records. It became the first recording by a female artist in Yoruba Songs to sell over a million copies in Nigeria.

Salawa Abeni
Queen of Waka
Birth nameSalawa Abeni Alidu
Born (1961-05-05) May 5, 1961 (age 60)
Epe, Lagos State, Nigeria
GenresWaka music
Years active1975–present
LabelsLeader records, Kollington, Alagbada

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.[2] Waka is an Islamic-influenced, traditional Yoruba music style, popularized by Batile Alake; it is a much older genre than jùjú and fuji.


When speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria, Abeni created controversy when she advised fellow musicians to "stay away from homosexuality", likening it to drug addiction.[3] Activists called her comments "a display of ignorance",[4] however her remarks were recently echoed by Nigerian model Olajumoke Orisaguna in her YouTube video Olajumoke Sauce 7: Trends and Acceptance uploaded in February 2018.[5] Under Nigerian law based on British colonial jurisprudence, same-sex relationships between LGBT people remain a criminal offence, with maximum punishments ranging from 14 years imprisonment to the death penalty.


  • Late Murtala Muhammed (Leader, 1976)
  • Iba Omode Iba Agba (Leader, 1976)
  • Shooting Stars (Leader, 1977)
  • Ijamba Motor (Leader, 1978)
  • Okiki Kan To Sele/Yinka Esho Esor (Leader, 1979)
  • Orin Tuntun (Leader, 1979)
  • Irohin Mecca (Leader, 1980)
  • Ile Aiye (Leader, 1980)
  • Omi Yale (Leader, 1980)
  • Ija O Dara (Leader, 1981)
  • Ikilo (Leader, 1981)
  • Enie Tori Ele Ku (Leader, 1982)
  • Challenge Cup ’84 (Leader, 1983)
  • Adieu Alhaji Haruna Ishola (Leader, 1985)
  • Indian Waka (Kollington, 1986)
  • Ìfẹ́ Dára Púpọ̀ (Kollington, 1986)
  • Mo Tun De Bi Mo Se Nde (Kollington, 1986)
  • Awa Lagba (Kollington, 1987)
  • Abode America (Kollington, 1988)
  • Ileya Special (Kollington, 1988)
  • I Love You (Kollington, 1988)
  • We Are The Children (Kollington, 1989)
  • Maradonna (Kollington, 1989)
  • Candle (Kollington, 1990)
  • Experience (Alagbada, 1991)
  • Congratulations (Alagbada, 1991)
  • Cheer Up (Alagbada, 1992)
  • Waka Carnival (Alagbada, 1994)
  • Beware cassette (Sony, 1995)
  • Live In London ’96 cassette (Emperor Promotions, 1996)
  • Appreciation cassette (Sony, 1997)
  • With Barrister Evening Of Sound cassette (Zmirage Productions, 1997)
  • Good Morning In America (Alagbada, 1999)



  1. ^ Denselow, Robin (2001-07-20). "Queen Salawa Abeni". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2010.
  2. ^ (7 July 2016). 'Biography of Alaafin Of Oyo, Oba Lamidi, Olayiwola Atanda Adeyemi III'. Uche & Maureen. (Nigerian Biography). (Nigeria)
  3. ^ (28 March 2018). 'Salawa Abeni upholds indigenous traditional music'. P.M. News. (Nigeria).
  4. ^ (1 April 2018). "‘Stay away from homosexuality’ local Nigerian musician advises colleagues". (Nigeria)
  5. ^ (February 21, 2018). 'Olajumoke Sauce 7: Trends and Acceptance featuring Actor Yemi Blaq'. YouTube.
  6. ^ "Abeni, Queen Salawa." Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 4th ed.. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed February 17, 2016,