Nigerian pop star, Simisola 'Simi' Ogunleye, and identical twin sisters, Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu, known as the Lijadu Sisters, are some of the musical features on Queen Sono, Netflix’s first African original series.

Queen Sono is a six-part series led by South African actress Pearl Thusi, who plays the titular character, a spy on a mission to unravel the mysteries behind her mother’s assassination while also balancing the challenge of living a double life.

The series, shot in dozens of locations across Africa, features a range of songs from African acts throughout its run time.

Simi’s 2017 hit, Joromi, enjoys prominence in the show’s second episode, titled 'Dying Is Sore'. The song was released as part of her second studio album, Simisola, and awarded Best Recording of the Year at the 2018 Headies Awards.

Simi performing live at Homecoming concert in 2019 [Pulse]
Simi performing live at Homecoming concert in 2019 [Pulse]

In the opening scene of the same episode, the Lijadu Sisters' Orere Elejigbo, released in 1997, briefly plays.

Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu made waves on the Nigerian music scene and also found modest success abroad between the 1960s and 1980s.

Kehinde Lijadu died at the age of 71 in November 2019 [Chris Cooper]
Kehinde Lijadu died at the age of 71 in November 2019 [Chris Cooper]

Another Nigerian who registers an entry in the show is Babatunde Olatunji whose Iyanu (Surprises) plays in Queen Sono’s pilot episode, titled 'I Am Queen Sono'.

Iyanu, originally recorded in 1986, was a song on Mickey Hart's 'Planet Drum' album which won the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album of 1991. Olatunji provided clapping and vocals on the song.

Babatunde Olatunji, one of the top artists of his time, died in 2003 aged 75 [Percussive Arts Society]
Babatunde Olatunji, one of the top artists of his time, died in 2003 aged 75 [Percussive Arts Society]

Kayus Bankole, a British-born Nigerian, also gets a nod in Queen Sono with Toy, a 2018 song he recorded with his Scotland-based music band, Young Fathers. The song plays in the show’s third episode, titled 'The Devil’s Toys'.

In My View, another Young Fathers’ song, plays in the show’s season finale, titled 'State of Emergency'.

Kayus Bankole (centre) formed the Young Fathers band with Alloysious Massaquoi (left), and Graham “G” Hastings (right) in Edinburgh in 2008 [Ben A Pruchnie/Getty Images Europe]
Kayus Bankole (centre) formed the Young Fathers band with Alloysious Massaquoi (left), and Graham “G” Hastings (right) in Edinburgh in 2008 [Ben A Pruchnie/Getty Images Europe]

Other African acts whose songs feature on the show include Sauti Sol (Sambo Party), Sampa The Great (Final Form), Ricky Rick (Boss Zonke), Inge Beckmann (Korreltjie Sand), Tshiamo Rametse (Tshinataho), Caiphus Semenya (Angelina), and Okzharp and Manthe Ribane (Dear Ribane).

Others are Khulz (Qhoma), Msaki (Dreams), Moonchild Sanelly (Dance Like A Girl), Alogte Oho and His Sounds of Joy (La Ta'aba), Bhusi Mhlongo (Yehlisan'umoya Ma-Afrika), and Alice Phoebe Lou (Grey).

Sho Madjozi also performs Yambakhana with Black Motion and Sauti Sol.

Queen Sono starts streaming worldwide on Netflix on February 28, 2020.