Friday, April 10, 2009

Nigeria 70 redux

Tony Allen

A little less than a year ago (back here), I wrote about the new Strut Records compilation Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump and commented it was a long awaited follow-up to another compilation the label put out before disappearing for a while: simply Nigeria 70. For Afrobeat fans, that previous compilation is somewhat the Holy Grail of the genre, as it's been out of print for many years and used original copies of it market with a whopping price tag of $100+. Thankfully, with the re-emergence of Strut Records, Afrobeat fans don't have to save up their allowance anymore; a few weeks ago the label finally re-issued it making it obtainable for the masses.

While most assume that Fela Kuti (who is represented here on two tracks and whose drummer, Tony Allen, is pictured above) is the be all and end all when it comes to Nigerian music, the truth is its music is as varied as the music here in the States, with him only representing a small slice of what the country has to offer. The liner notes which accompany the release do an incredible job of sketching out the many styles represented on the compilation, including their development and Western influences (in both directions), as well as detailing the history of each track, song by song. It's impossible for me to do here what is done in extensive detail in the notes, so I'll simply end with you'll learn a TON.

While the original release had three discs (two with music and one with interviews and history), the new release only contains the musical ones. The remaining material though can be downloaded for free from HERE (which even those of you who haven't bought the release can sneak a listen to). The biggest drawback of this compilation: it's going to turn you on to some incredible artists (some of which also appear on Lagos Jump) that you'll have to head to Nigeria to crate-dig for and you'll probably need a turntable when you come back. In the meantime, I'll leave you with Shango, an afro-jazzy number from Peter King.

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