Queen Salawa Abeni was born on May 5, 1 96 1 at Epe in Lagos, Nigeria. She made her professional debut on December 6, 1 975. at the age of 1 4. At 15 she released her first album 'Late General Murtala Ramat Mohammed'' for Lateef Adepoju's Leader Records in May 1976. The album became the first record by a female artist in Nigerian musical history to sell over 1 million copies. She went on to record a further 14 albums for Leader Records and left the company after her relationship with Lmeef Adepoju, who fathered her first child came to an end.
She married one of Nigeria's greatest singers Kollington Ayinla in 1986 after he signed her up to his label. With Kollington Ayinla she released 15 albums. She left Kollington Ayinla, who fathered her three otherchildren, in 1994.
In 1992 Salawa Alawa was formally crowned Queen of Waka Music by Obalamidi Adeyemi. The Afaaffn of Oyo, one of Nigeria's traditional rulers for her services to Nigerian music and millions of records. Queen Salawa Abeni is the only African woman to have been credited with creating a musical style. "Waka" has developed out of Yoruba folkloric, juju and fiji. It is a remarkable rhythmical music that is driven by the rich eloquence of the massed talking drums, the infectious bata drums and underpinned by Yoruba ethnic drums.
Salawa Abeni is a cultural phenomenon whose music crosses ethnic and religious divisions. Her forthright lyrics made her an icon to Igbogun, millions of Nigerian women.In full flow she becomes one of the most thrilling spectacles in African music today that is why she headlines all the major festivals in Nigeria and 100,000 people regularly attend her open air shows in Lagos.
In Nigeria, Queen Salawa Abeni is more than just a singer.She is a social phenomenon.She is the only woman to have over 36 solo albumswith sales in millions.
Her pioneering work puts her achievements alongside the giants of African must such as Miriam Makeba, Fela Kuti, Mane Dibango, Dodu Pukwana Hugh Masekela Abdullah Ibrahim, Ali Farka Touree, Oumare Sangare, King Sunny Ade Baaba Maal Youssou N'Dour and Papa Wemba.
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