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Monday, Feb 22 2010 | 15:00 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

Soundway Records storms into 2010 with a cherry-picked selection of explosive afrobeat from 1970’s Nigeria complementing the burgeoning “Nigeria Special” series. Focusing on the big band sound dominated by wailing saxophones, brass solos and relentless poly-rhythmic grooves, “Nigeria Afrobeat Special” delivers a no-nonsense collection of tracks that (bar one) have never been re-issued outside of Nigeria.

“Nigeria Afrobeat Special” will be released as a CD digipak with 16 page booklet with extensive liner notes, artist photos and stories behind the music and triple LP featuring five bonus tracks not available on the CD.

“Nigeria Afrobeat Special” is the fourth addition to the “Nigeria Special” series, a project initiated by Miles Cleret, owner of the Soundway Records label back in 2004. Cleret’s ambition to distinguish the blossoming music scenes of 1970’s Nigeria has lent to an indispensable series of CD and LP compilations documenting the influence of western blues, rock and disco amongst artists and musicians versed in the local musical styles of highlife and juju.

It was Fela Kuti and his musical and political ideals that formed the core of afrobeat’s message. Blending highlife, Yoruba music, funk and jazz, Fela dominated the musical tapestry of 1970’s Nigeria and his influence in Nigeria and West Africa led to a craze where most of the bands of the day incorporated this new sound into their repertoires to satisfy the tastes of the audiences of the time. This compilation highlights some of those recordings that have, until now, not seen the light of day.

The collection features Fela’s rival and fellow afrobeat veteran Orlando Julius, represented with the track “Afro-Blues” – amazing that this has previously managed to escape re-issue. Also featured are tracks by big names on the Nigerian scene – Eric Akaeze, Bongos Ikwue & Segun Bucknorm, as well as a Victor Uwaifo-produced cut by previously unknown artist Andrew ‘Madman’ Jaga. The album also features a cut featuring Pax Nicholas, a singer whose album “Na Teef Know De Road Of Teef” has recently been made available after 30 years on Daptone Records.

It was not just African musicians who responded and picked up the afrobeat/Fela Kuti mantel. Fela’s legacy influenced bands and musicians the world over with luminaries like the late godfather of soul, James Brown, name-checking Fela as a catalyst to his sound and today groups such as Antibalas and contemporaries the world over, who play a version of the sound that started life in Lagos.

Appropriately, Fela’s highly sought-after version of “Who’re You” lends this set its lead. Originally released on 7″ in 1971, it would later be re-recorded at Abbey Road for his album “Fela’s London Scene”, and here is re-issued for the first time ever.


01. Fela & The Africa 70 – Who’re you? (Original 45 Version)
02. Eric Showboy Akaeze & His Royal Ericos – We Dey Find Money
03. The Anansa Professionals – Enwan
04. Saxon Lee & The Shadows International – Mind Your Business
05. Bongos Ikwue & The Groovies – Otachikpopo
06. Orlando Julius & His Afro-Sounders – Afro-Blues
07. Bob Ohiri & His Uhuru Sounds – Ariwo Yaa
08. Mad Man Jaga – Hankuri
09. Godwin Omabuwa & His Casanova Dandies – Do The Afro Shuffle
10. Segun Bucknor’s Revolution – Gbomojo
11. The Black Santiagos – Ole

The compilation VariousNigeria Afrobeat Special – The New Explosive Sound in 1970s Nigeria (Soundway) has been released February 19, 2010.

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