If Fela Kuti was a child of James Brown, fellow Nigerian William Onyeabor is something like the next-generation musical offspring of Parliament-Funkadelic. His songs are extended call-and-response disco-funk jams driven by the space-age sound of synthesizers and drum machines -- very new tools when Onyeabor was recording in the late '70s and '80s, especially in Africa. After years of existing mainly as secret grail passed between electronic music DJs and other crate diggers, Onyeabor's handful of studio LPs have been licensed and boiled down to a killer compilation by Luaka Bop, the tastemaking world music label started by David Byrne.The above text is quoted from NPR, where you can head now for a full album stream of Who Is William Onyeabor?, the compilation of Nigerian cult-funk singer William Onyeabor's music which comes out on David Byrne's Luaka Bop label next week (10/29). The Guardian also just did a feature video on him, and mentioned that Four Tet, Caribou, and Damon Albarn are all fans.
So who IS William Onyeabor? Part of the album's conceit is that even the compilers don't fully know. The liner notes, by veteran British journalist Vivien Goldman, note that Onyeabor is a crowned chief in his hometown village of Enugu, Eastern Nigeria, where he lives in "a hidden palace in the woods" and is a booster of the local Christian music scene. But he essentially left his own music career in the '80s, in the wake of the recordings collected here, presumably when he became a born-again Christian.
Luaka Bop will be teaming up with OkayAfrica to celebrate with the release with some parties worldwide, including one in Brooklyn happening on Saturday (10/26) at Buka Nigerian Restaurant (945 Fulton St), plus an afterparty down the block at Doris (1088 Fulton St). There will be DJ sets from Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Lizzi Bougatsos (Gang Gang Dance), and Tim Koh (Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti). RSVP for all parties is open now. The full list of parties and the flyer are below.
All William Onyeabor party dates are listed, along with trailer videos for the album and parties, plus the flyer, below...
William Onyeabor Party Trailer
William Onyeabor Album Trailer
William Onyeabor Parties
10/24 PARIS - Le Comptoir General
With Sofrito, Joakim, Superfly, Pilooski, Secousse
10/24 STOCKHOLM - Sodra Bar
With Peter Morén's Onyeaborians, Ok Star Orchestra, Tight Silk, Miriam Pemberton (Holodisc), Karl Jonas Winqvist (First Floor Power), & Gavin Maycroft (Oma333) in collaboration with Mother
LONDON - Rough Trade & After Party at Ridley Road Market Bar
With Thris & Nic (Boiler Room), DJ Fitz, Duncan Brooker (Strut, Nigeria 70), Barry's Lounge
10/ 26 NEW YORK - Buka Nigerian Restaurant & After party at Doris (Brooklyn)
With Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Lizzi Bougatsos (Gang Gang Dance), Tim Koh (Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti)
10/26 BERLIN - Oye Records & After Party at Humboldthain Club
With Auntie Flo, Lee Douglas, Eli Pavel, Nomad & Vulkandance Berlin, Kalakuta Soul Soundsystem
10/30 TOKYO - Forestlimit
With Daedelus, Oorutaichi, Masaaki Hara, Frosty in collboraton with Dublab.jp
10/31 OSLO - Studio Two
With Rune Lindbaek, VJ Arminwerx, Selectah X, Fred B
11/1 MANCHESTER - Piccadilly Records
With Illum Sphere, Jon K in collaboration with Hoya Hoya
Date TBC - LOS ANGELES - No Vacancy
With Peaking Lights, Turquoise Wisdom, Mathieu Schreyer, Hunee, Lovefingers, Secret Circuit in collaboration with Ana Calderon
11/16 LAGOS- Bogobiri House
With IKON (SDC) & Ade Fakile (Plastic People, London)