William Onyeabor - Who Is William Onyeabor? - Nigerian Afro Funk Synth and Disco 3LP
Who Is William Onyeabor?
Label: Luaka Bop
Cat#: LP 0079
Series: World Psychedelic Classics Five
Format: 3 × Vinyl, LP, Compilation
Released: 29 Oct 2013
Genre: Electronic, Folk, World, & Country
Style: African, Leftfield Funk Disco
A1 Body And Soul 10:08
A2 Atomic Bomb 7:51
B1 Good Name 10:08
B2 Something You Will Never Forget 10:07
C1 Why Go To War 9:06
C2 Love Is Blind 7:57
D1 Heaven And Hell 4:03
D2 Let's Fall In Love 7:23
D3 Fantastic Man 6:27
E1 The Way To Win Your Love 7:24
E2 Love Me Now 7:12
E3 Jungle Gods 4:03
F1 When The Going Is Smooth And Good 12:53
F2 Untitled 0:45
Art Direction [Sleeve Art Curated By] Trevor Schoonmaker
Artwork Paul Tyree-Francis
Compiled By Uchenna Ikonne
Executive-Producer Yale Evelev
Liner Notes Vivien Goldman
Mastered By Scott Hull
Transferred By [Vinyl Transfers] Colin Young, Kieran Hebden
Written-By, Recorded By William Onyeabor
F2 Untitled not mentioned on the cover or label.
Comes with a code to download tracks A1 to F1.
Tracks E1 to F2 not on CD version.
Includes printed inner sleeves.
" I did study so many things, but they have nothing to do with my natural talent, because you don't study talent."
William Onyeabor is a funk musician from Nigeria, born in 1945 or 1946. Onyeabor's songs are often heavily rhythmic and synthesized, occasionally epic in scope, with lyrics decrying war sung by both Onyeabor himself and female backing vocalists.
In the early 21st century, a shadowy figure rose from the dust that settled atop forgotten record collections throughout Africa, leaving behind a trail of clues in what seemed like a wild good chase, but in October 2013, Luaka Bop will unmask a phantom: the great William Onyeabor. 13 tracks from Nigerian electro-funk originator, a mystery man of epic proportions, and an elusive master of synth & good vibes. Name-checked by anybody & everybody, including Four Tet & Caribou.
Onyeabor lays down some amazing grooves of interlocking organ, guitar, bass, and presumably drum machine. Some of the songs appear to be solely comprised of synthesizer as the guitar does not appear on a few. It matters little. The groove is irresistible and changes little through each song. Onyeabor sings in English and the lyrics never get so cheesy that they are a negative.
The gap between rich and poor was broadening abruptly into a deep, virtually unbridgeable crevasse. The surge in the price of oil that was bringing London to its knees (and producing the bereft climate that spawned punk) was fattening Lagos - at least the city's rich. Meanwhile, in that same city, it was common for taxpaying civilians to be hauled from their cars and horsewhipped in the street in front of their children for some phony infraction of authoritarian rules. Onyeabor's politics, dancing on their bubbly synthesized beat, bit deep and permanently. Laconically crooning "You want another guy to stop a bullet for you?" in 1979's "Why Go to War," Onyeabor still sounds all too relevant, right now.
"Atomic Bomb," Onyeabor's dance anthem, played on fears that were very real at the time - and still are. Temitope Kogbe, a Nigerian DJ who grew up dancing to his father's copy of Onyeabor's Atomic Bomb LP, reminds us, "Though the Cold War...had petered off in the West, Africa was the new theater for this confrontation - in Angola, Mozambique, and most tragically in the Congo, where in 1961, the U.S.-backed Mobutu to kill Patrice Lumumba, who was feared to be a communist. So the Cold War and its threat of Atomic Bomb was still very much in the spirit of the times when the record was released in 1978."
But Onyeabor's specifically political music did not dominate his output, unlike, say, Fela Kuti, whose songs were a running commentary on the military dictatorships. Onyeabor's looks and sounds are both oceans away from the bleak perception of his struggling, starving territory. In the few extant photographs of Onyeabor, he sometimes embodies the "Fantastic Man," in white flares and a gold-buttoned navy jacket, looking like a contented capitalist on his yacht. Elsewhere, he wears a white disco suit, as if he was a Philly soul man.
His musical and sartorial choices place him as an outernational artist, not defined or confined by accidents of birth. The music, too, is a cosmopolitan brew - these are charming, imaginative, infectious dance tracks. Onyeabor's biography is full of missing links. He, too, is a kind of missing link - Nigeria's answer to synth-pop and New Wave. Within the African canon, he is a progressive adventurer who wielded the brand-new synthesizer like a musical passport. Now you can hear the uncharted, outer-space places his musical journey took him.
William Onyeabor - When the Going Is Smooth & Good
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'Fantastic Man' (Full Length) - A Film About William Onyeabor
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William Onyeabor - Atomic Bomb
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William Onyeabor - Love Me Now
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William Onyeabor- Fantastic Man
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