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David Byrne Speaks On William Onyeabor

David Byrne speaks on Nigerian electro-synth pioneer William Onyeabor.


Back in 1988, Talking Heads frontman and indie godfather David Byrne founded Luaka Bop. Then an imprint specializing in Brazilian music, the NYC-based label has since become home to some of our favorite records and artist from across the globe, such as Sierra Leone's Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang. Most recently, Luaka Bop is behind a younger generation's fascination with 1970s Nigerian synth-funk. Back in July we wondered "Who is William Onyeabor?" Nine months later, Onyeabor is far from an unknown name in music circles and beyond. Next month the spectacle-like Atomic Bomb! live tributes to the music of William Onyeabor head to NYC as a part of Red Bull Music Academy. With Byrne at the helm of a bill that includes a reunited Lijadu Sisters, Sinkane, Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), and Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), we asked the Luaka Bop founder to share some thoughts on his interest in William Onyeabor:

Onyeabor isn't exactly new, but for sure he's smooth and good, as he would put it. Eric at Luaka has the best stories as he visited Onyeabor and wrote up his experiences on the Todomundo website.

I first heard an Onyeabor track on a collection of 70s African recordings that Yale Evelev put together for Luaka called Love's a Real Thing. The Onyeabor recording was unusual in that most African pop groups at the time were playing guitars and maybe some organ and electric piano (like on the Fela recordings) but Onyeabor went fully into synthesizer land - which was unheard of in Africa at the time.

Very positive "conscious" lyrics on some songs- maybe he was hearing some Curtis Mayfield? But then he became born again or something and the music stopped- Things Fall Apart for real.

David

Catch Atomic Bomb! The Music of William Onyeabor next month with David Byrne, Sinkane, Alexis Taylor, Pat Mahoney, Kele Okereke, The Lijadu Sisters, Joshua Redman, Money Mark, and more!

May 2nd - BAM, Brooklyn, NY

May 3rd - BAM, Brooklyn, NY

May 6th - The Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA

May 8th - The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

News Brief
Photo: Akinola Boluwatife

Whoisakin Channels His Love For Anime In the New Video For ‘Magic’

The single, featuring Olayinka Ehi, comes off his latest EP Full Moon Weekends.

Nigerian singer-songwriter Whoisakin is sharing a new music video to accompany his hit summer release, "Magic".

His roots certainly show true as his Lagos inspired trap soul/R&B sounds fill us up with feelings of summer and a love made from dreams.

High off of a recent feature in Rolling Stone, Whoisakin's latest music video comes off of his debut EP Full Moon Weekends, his first release as a part of Mr Eazi's #emPawa30 project.

With all of the successes and accomplishments that have come along with it, the original story behind the song isn't as sweet, "Magic was actually inspired by a summer 2019 fling I had with some girl", the 22-year-old singer says, "Even though I thought the relationship had potential at the early stages, she never felt the same way and it was just 'vibes' for her. I mean the moments were beautiful but they never lasted. I made the record a few weeks after we were over. She got upset at me and that was it."

He went on to speak about his first release into the music industry as, "a full story about me and my relationships in 2019, basically. I was doing an internship with some construction company at the time so I had a whole lot of time to live life (especially the nightlife), experience new things. So, I felt like an animated series for the whole tape would be the best way to share the story better. Plus, I'm a big anime fan."


Check out Whoisakin's music video for "Magic" here.


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