Lagos, Nigeria, in a lengthy 2006 New Yorker article, is depicted as a post-industrial wasteland, an environmental, economic, and social disaster, fueled by corruption, crime, and the entropy of over eight million people (and counting) vying for limited space and resources. Lagos is considered a 21st century "megacity" teetering on the brink of total chaos when it's not already embroiled in it. "As a picture of the urban future, Lagos is fascinating only if you're able to leave it."
Lagos wasn't always like this, nor was Nigeria as a whole. In fact, just about 40 years ago, following the end of the Biafran War, Nigeria briefly experienced a huge economic and cultural boom, its oil revenues generating billions, the nation thriving, and the country producing an impressive number of artists, writers, and musicians. As far as the musicians go, many still only know Nigeria for Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. Some are also familiar with some combination of juju masters King Sunny Adé and Ebenezer Obey, the perfectly nicknamed highlife star Christogonus Ezebuiro "Sir Warrior" Obinna of the nebulous Oriental Brothers International Band, but they still represent just the tip of a vast West African iceberg.
Proof of this creative seventies explosion here to N'joy
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Get ready to discover a whole new realm of African Funk – because this collection digs deeper than any we've ever had before! The mighty Soundway Records have come up with a blistering batch of grooves that push way past the bigger hits on the global scene – to the real roots of the Afro Funk sound of the 70s, an assortment of Nigerian recordings that have an undeniable combination of African rhythms and American funk! Percussion is at the forefront of the set – and most tracks feature lots of skittish drum work, topped off by hard riffing on sax, guitar, and keyboards. The whole thing's very much in the best tradition of our favorite grooves by Fela – and titles include "Asa Sa" by Fred Fisher, "No Wrong Show" by Thony Shorby Nyenwi, "Omelebele" by Dr Victor Olaiya's International All Stars, "Afro Baby" by Stephen Osita Amaechi & His Afro Rhythm Skies, "Ochonma" by Martins Brothers Dance Band, "Alikali Adajo" by Sahara All Stars, "Lagos Sisi" by Bola Johnson, "Ire" by Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination, and "Son Of Mr Bull Dog" by The Mebusas.
VA - Afro Baby (flac 380mb)
01 Sahara All Stars - Alikali Adajo 8:56
02 Bola Johnson - Lagos Sisi 3:19
03 Mebusas - Son Of Mr Bull Dog 5:20
04 Fela Ransome Kuti & Africa 70 - Fogo Fogo 8:55
05 Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination - Ire 3:18
06 Tunji Oyelana & The Benders - Ipasan 5:18
07 Fred Fisher - Asa-Sa 8:06
08 Orlando Julius & His Afro Sounders - Mura Sise 6:58
09 Thony Shorby Nyenwi - No Wrong Show 5:39
10 Victor Olaiya & His International All Stars - Omelebele 5:50
11 Stephen Osita Amaechi & His Afro-Rhythm-Skies - Afro Baby 3:05
12 Martins Brothers Dance Band - Ochonma 2:55
VA - Afro Baby (ogg 161mb)
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..The Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-79. Lagos, Nigeria, 1974-1979: the funk & disco capital of West Africa. More nightclubs, bars, spots and dancefloors than any place along the coast from Dakar all the way to Kinshasa. Nigeria Disco Funk Special is an amazing collection of heavy dancefloor grooves from urban Lagos in the '70s -- hot and driving slices of funk, disco and boogie that show just how vibrant the music scene was in one of West Africa's most populous and culturally diverse cities. In the '70s, it wasn't just James Brown who influenced the musicians playing in the nightspots of Lagos -- the loose-structured and elongated jams that he was pioneering in America had been a part of Nigerian music much longer than that. This album is the sound of Cuban-heeled and micro-minied Lagos youth soaking up the sound of the American discotheque and putting their own inimitable twist on the proceedings. The CD and double gatefold vinyl include rare tracks from famous musicians like Bongos Ikwue & The Groovies and Mono Mono's Joni Haastrup, as well as selections from cult bands like Asiko Rock Group, SJOB Movement and Jay-U Experience. Other artists include: The Sahara All Stars, T-Fire, Voices Of Darkness and Dr. Adolf Aonotu. If you're already a fan of funky West African music, I recommend these sets to you without reservation. Go get them. More broadly, anyone into funk in general or the subtle permutations of vintage global pop music would be well-advised to dig this as well. From the royalty structure to the sound to the packaging to the research and of course the music, Afrofunk fans could hardly have asked for more.
VA - Nigeria Disco Funk Special (flac 346mb)
01 Sahara All Stars - Take Your Soul 7:07
02 T-Fire - Will Of The People 5:48
03 Asiko Rock Group - Lagos City 3:57
04 Johnny Haastrup - Greetings 6:12
05 Bongos Ikwue & The Groovies - You've Gotta Help Yourself 4:10
06 Jay-U Experience - Some More 7:08
07 Voices Of Darkness - Mota Ginya 6:59
08 Dr. Adolf Aonotu - Ijere 3:59
09 S-Job Movement - Love Affair 6:45
VA - Nigeria Disco Funk Special (ogg 108mb)
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Last year was a disorienting, somewhat disconnected time if you were looking for any kind of lucid pop music narrative, but one thing was for sure in 2008: All you had to do was wait a month or so, and you'd get the chance to hear yet another entry in an incredible influx of compilations, reissues, and revivals of the music of West Africa in the 1970s. There was Soundway's (so far) three-part Nigeria Special series, which gathered a bountiful collection of highlife, Afrobeat, funk, rock, and disco, and they followed it up with the eye-opening Sir Victor Uwaifo compilation Guitar Boy Superstar. Germany's freshly-minted Analog Africa label assembled a number of incredible highlife/funk/psych songs from Togo and Benin under the title African Scream Contest, then put together the staggering Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo de Cotonou highlight reel The Vodoun Effect: Funk and Sato from Benin's Obscure Label. And amidst all of this, Fela Kuti's son Seun reunited with his father's band Egypt 80 to record his debut full-length Many Things, taking the Afrobeat revival one step further by creating one of the genre's best new records of the last 25 years. All that, and Strut's ceaselessly entertaining Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump, too-- that's a ridiculously bountiful collection of music.
But even amidst all those releases, Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump isn't an afterthought-- it is, after all, the followup to one of the most crucial Afrobeat comps, 2001's Nigeria 70: The Definitive Story of 1970's Funky Lagos. The original Nigeria 70 was released four years after Fela Kuti's death and in the midst of a renewed interest in Afrobeat-- Femi Kuti's Fight to Win enlisted Mos Def and Common in a hip hop crossover bid, and Antibalas was really starting to pick up steam-- so it served as one of the most contextually important collections of the genre as it stood in its original heyday. With this reissue, it still holds that status: Nigeria 70 assembles a potent collection of names that were already famous among aficionados of African music (Fela; Tony Allen; King Sunny Ade), augments them with lesser-known musicians that those aficionados would also likely enjoy, and subsequently captures a cross-section of Nigerian culture that covers that country's adaptations of nearly everything that was going on in black music at the time.
Nigeria 70 starts with Monomono's "Loma Da Nigbehin", where the groove is stepped up, the rhythm guitar emphasized, the percussion denser yet livelier, the horn and organ solos heavier-- all developments created in the wake of Fela's revolution in militant funk. Afrobeat in that familiar vein is widely covered here, both inside and outside of the Kalakuta Republic. Two of Fela's greatest Africa '70-era recordings appear in "Upside Down" and "Jeun Ko Ku (Chop 'n' Quench)", while Afrobeat's rhythmic architect and Africa '70 alumnus Tony Allen is represented by his glimmering 1980 recording "No Discrimination". And many of the highlights from less-famous musicians-- Peter King's "Shango"; Orlando Julius Ekemode's "Alo Mi Alo"; Afro Cult Foundation's "The Quest"-- take Kuti's sounds and tweak them playfully until they become a bit more concise or abstract.
But what makes Nigeria 70 particularly compelling is its sonic diversity. Anyone expecting two and a half hours of music that sounds directly informed by Fela might be surprised to find out just how many musicians saw his music as a starting point than the sum of their sound. There's nods to psychedelic rock, both heavily fuzzed-out (Ofo & the Black Company's stomping, wailing "Allah Wakbarr") and Deadhead-friendly mellow (BLO's eerily beautiful reverie "Chant to Mother Earth"). A few forays into the late 1970s and early 80s note a disco influence that informs cuts like Joni Haastrup's 1977 song "Greetings" and Shina Williams & His African Percussionists' 1984 electro-funk workout "Agboju Logun" without removing their Afrobeat backbone. And if you're wondering how Parliament-Funkadelic was received in Nigeria, William Onyeabor's 1978 anti-imperialist synthesizer opus "Better Change Your Mind" is an intriguing hint. You could while away some time trying to figure out just how much or how little of it came from black music in America, and how much of black music in America actually owed to these sounds in the first place-- as cross-cultural development of pop music goes, the Nigerian sound is fascinatingly tangled. And now, even after the West African reissue glut of 2008, Nigeria 70 still sounds illuminating.
VA - Nigeria 70, The Definitive Story of 1970’s Funky Lagos 1 (flac 288mb)
01 Monomono Tire - Loma Da Nigbehin
02 Blo - Chant To Mother Earth
03 Fela Ransome Kuti & The Africa 70 - Jeun Ko Ku (Chop 'N' Quench)
04 Tunji Oyelana & The Benders - Ifa
05 Bala Miller & The Great Music Pyrameeds Of Afrika - Ikon Allah
06 Segun Bucknor & His Revolution - La La La
07 Peter King - Shango
08 Tony Allen & His African Messengers - No Discrimination
09 Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Melody Maestroes - Akayan Ekassa
10 William Onyeabor - Better Change Your Mind
11 Bongos Ikwue - Woman Made The Devil
VA - Nigeria 70, The Definitive Story of 1970’s Funky Lagos 1 (ogg 138mb)
VA - Nigeria 70, The Definitive Story of 1970’s Funky Lagos 2 (flac
01 Orlando Julius & The Afro Sounders - Alo Mi Alo
02 Ofo The Black Company - Allah Wakbarr
03 Sahara All Stars Band Jos - Enjoy Yourself
04 Funkees - Dancing Time
05 Afro Cult Foundation - The Quest
06 Joni Haastrup - Greetings
07 Gasper Lawal - Kita Kita
08 Lijadu Sisters - Orere Elejigbo
09 Anikulapo Kuti & The Africa 70* with Sandra Akanke Isidore - Upside Down
10 Shina Williams & His African Percussionists - Agboju Logun
11 Sunny Ade & His African Beats - Ja Fun Mi (Instrumental)
VA - Nigeria 70, The Definitive Story of 1970’s Funky Lagos 2 (ogg
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