Monday, January 04, 2010

Fred Fisher Atalobhor & His Ogiza Dance Band

"If you want to dance, this is the album that make you dance away all the sorrows in you. And if you want to sit down listening, this is the album that can suit the purpose best. This album is designed to suit all the purposes that exist in every human being. Though it's a saying that you cannot satisfy everybody in this world, everybody cannot be disatisfied out-right because how bad something may be some people will still like it. That's why they say one man's meat is another man's poison."

-Fred Fisher Atalobhor

Bring up Nigerian music and Fela Kuti's name will be the first one thrown out there (and maybe even the last). As good as he is though, it's a shame, because Afrobeat isn't the only thing that the country's got going on. Take Fred Fisher Atalobhor & His Ogiza Dance Band for example (who coincidentally opened for Kuti at one point and who Kuti eventually stole a member from for his own backing band). Fred was a trombonist, composer, and vocalist who was active in the Nigerian music scene starting in the early 70's. Much like Fela pioneered Afrobeat, Fred created a new style of music named Asolo Rock, which blended afro funk rock and soulful melodies, and resulted in music lighter and sunnier than it's more famous counterpart.

The wonderful label Vampisoul, always on the hunt digging up treasure from around the world, has collected the best songs from four of Fred Fisher's albums: Say The Truth (1979), No Way (1981), Wahala Dey For Town (1988) and Ogiza (1990), and put them together on one double disc release titled African Carnival. It's easy to guess that based on the span of years this material covers, the texture and even recording quality vary quite a bit. You'll find music that has a very traditional afrobeatish feel and songs that are clearly products of the 80's with western influence. You'll also find vocals in English as well as what I believe is Yorubu. Unlike the political implications inherent in Kuti's music, Fisher's sound has an almost tropical, let your cares fly away feel to them.

Below are a pair of tracks from the two discs. The first one, Say the Truth, is an older one, and opens the first disc. It's a soulful number that's got a take it slow reggae beat. Ibhagbe comes from the second disc and brings a little more funk with it.

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