Tunde Nightingale

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Earnest Olatunde Thomas (10 December 1922 – 1981),[1] known as Tunde Nightingale or The Western Nightingale, was a Nigerian singer and guitarist, best known for his unique jùjú music style, following in the tradition of Tunde King.

Born in Ibadan, he attended school in Lagos, served in the army, and worked for a railway company. He formed his first group, comprising guitar, tambourine, and shekere, in 1944. His contemporaries included Ayinde Bakare, I. K. Dairo and Dele Ojo.[2] By 1952 his group had expanded to eight members, and played at the West African Club in Ibadan. His style of music was known as So Wàmbè ("Is it there?"), possibly a double entendre reference to the beads draped over the hips of dancing women.[1][3] By the 1960s, his popularity had grown among Lagos socialites, who sponsored him on a tour abroad. When he returned, he signed with the TYC label. In all, he recorded over 40 albums in his career. Modern stars like King Sunny Adé and Queen Ayo Balogun continue to be influenced by his style. Apart from the fact that he "sounded", literally, like a nightingale, he also kept a live bird in his home.[4]


  1. ^ a b Waterman, Christopher Alan (1990). Juju: A Social History and Ethnography of an African Popular Music. University of Chicago Press. pp. 110–112. ISBN 0226874656. 
  2. ^ Omojola, Bode (2012). Yorùbá Music in the Twentieth Century: Identity, Agency, and Performance Practice. University of Rochester Press. p. 166. ISBN 1580464092. 
  3. ^ Biography by Leon Jackson at Allmusic.com
  4. ^ Nightingale "TUNDE NIGHTINGALE: A LEGEND FOR ALL TIMES" Check |url= value (help). African Songs UK. Retrieved 2009-11-02.