May 15, 2008

Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump

The cool little Strut Records imprint will be releasing the new Grandmaster Flash album later this year, and in addition to a fine roster that already boasts things like Disco Italia: Essential Italo Disco Classics (so all over that!) and Funky Nassau, they have a new collection that I am absolutely loving.

Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump is a compilation of “original heavyweight afrobeat highlife and afro-funk” music that I’m finding to be just the cure for ears tired of the same old same old. Quick wiki-history lesson: Following the freedom of independence from the UK in 1960, and the bloody wars and ethnic clashes that the late ’60s brought to Nigeria, the ’70s were a time of relative oil-fueled prosperity, and a time where musical expression and experimentation could grow.

During this decade Nigerian musicians melded the outside influences of European and American big band, jazz, and rock that they heard crackling over their radios with their own traditional beats, instrumentation, language, and spirit. On this compilation, leading Afro archivist Duncan Brooker worked with Strut Records founder Quinton Scott to introduce a wider audience to the eclectic, funky, bold sounds of this era.

The previous 3-CD collection of Nigerian music that Strut Records put out in 2001 (Nigeria 70) is now out of print, and sells for close to $100. So, yeah. You might think about gettin’ while the gettin’s good. The opening track:

Yabis – Sir Shina Peters & His International Stars

PREORDER — Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump is out on May 27.

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  • On the first album there is what looks like a spoken word piece from Fela Kuti– it’s a shame none of his music is on there (he was a member of Koola Lobitos if I remember correctly) if you don’t have any, I suggest giving him a whirl. His music is the pinnacle in Nigerian popular music. He’s deified in Nigeria, has a personal story that is beyond engaging and *is*always*funky*.


    sean broom — May 16, 2008 @ 7:26 am

  • I couldn’t agree more with the post above. If you dig what’s on this comp, go to the source! Fela is the standard by which all others should be judged. You need to get “Fela Kuti and the Afrika 70″ (w/ Ginger Baker). Trust Me. Go get it. Now.

    Anonymous — May 16, 2008 @ 7:30 am

  • Yes, I’m going to reiterate what the two previous posts stated, but this is a travesity that Fela is not on this compilation. It doesn’t make sense. He basically single-handedly evolved Nigerian music in the ’70s/’80s. The only thing I can think of is that all his tracks are essentially no shorter than 15 minutes. Maybe it was a time limit (e.g. have a Fela cut on the album or add three other artists.) Regardless, it’s so wrong. The Ginger album is amazing. Also check “Expensive Shit” – outstanding. But for newcomers, just get double album “Best Best Of” – you can’t go wrong there.

    Rambling Canuck — May 16, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

  • This is one of the freshest, best-paced African compilations out there. Believe me, I have listened to as many as I can find! Criticising the CD for not including Fela Kuti makes as little sense as criticising a great 70s reggae compilation for not including Bob Marley. Fela is fantastic, and we are lucky there are already dozens of recordings available. However, there is much, much more to enjoy about Nigerian music in the 70s. This CD is a great eye-opener to how much music there is. It covers more genres of music than just afrobeat. Many of these artists I have never heard of, and that should be a recommendation.

    Anonymous — May 22, 2008 @ 8:40 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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