“William Onyeabor is one of the biggest pioneers” – DJ Kobayashi

Today we pay homage to William Onyeabor (1946-2017) – mysterious entrepreneur and village chief of Enugu, a remote town in Western Nigeria – who, between 1977 and 1985, produced and released 8 records on his own label, capturing and combining all the fine elements of afro-funk, afrobeat and electronic. It’s a masterpiece that stands in a league of its own: incredibly energized and extraordinarily eccentric – it can’t be compared to anything else because it’s so unique – but it works!

The fast tempo of the electronic drums and hurray of spacey synths fuse perfectly with the back and forth of the main vocals and choruses, in a bubbly yet sometimes specifically political commentary on the African reality of those years. It’s an incredibly groovy elongated jam spiraling into a dance record, surprising the listener with the unexpected at every new beat.

We’re very thankful to Luaka Bop (@luakabop ) for having pulled this one out of the ether of forgotten musical artifacts and for letting the memory of William Onyeabor live on through his incredible legacy.

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