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Ibibio Sound Machine's New Album, 'Uyai,' Is An Ambitious Leap Forward For Nigerian Electronic Pop

On their second album, 'Uyai,' Ibibio Sound Machine expand on their unique fusion of British electronica and Nigerian dance pop.

On their second full-length album, Uyai, London ensemble Ibibio Sound Machine take an ambitious leap forward with a new batch of tracks that expand on their unique fusion of British electronica and Nigerian dance pop.


Containing a diverse selection of radio-ready singles and more challenging, deeply inventive tracks, the band’s follow-up record to their 2014 debut is a bold, brilliantly conceived pop album.

Frontwoman Eno Williams lends more star power to the group’s collective sound, sourcing the inexhaustible energy of R&B and big band icons Janet Jackson, Celia Cruz and the late great Sharon Jones. She’s at her most indomitable on the album’s lead single and incendiary opening number, “Give Me A Reason.”

As with the much of Uyai, save for a few intermittent English hooks, this massively fun, 80s-homaging electro-pop jam is sung in Williams’ native Ibibio language, a creative choice that consciously obscures the dark message at its core.

“Give Me A Reason,” was written about the 2014 abduction of 276 schoolgirls in the Nigerian town of Chibok. Allegedly orchestrated by Islamic extremists opposed to Western lifestyles such as the education of women, 196 of those girls remain missing to this day.

The indirect reference points to an underlying theme of power and empowerment throughout Uyai, which translates to “beauty” in Ibibio. “Why should girls be denied the right to education,” Eno stated in the album’s press release, “And why should people in general not be free to be who they want to be in their life?”

That sense of liberation makes itself known through the band’s willingness to experiment, offering up a textured and complex collection of songs that builds on the uniform funk of their first LP.

Producer Max Grunhard, the band’s alto/baritone saxophonist and synth player, explores an altogether edgier sound for the twelve-track follow-up, channeling the urgency and hardness of London’s underground club scene.

You can hear it on fat house beats of “The Chant (Iquo Isang),” which samples the Cameroonian Makossa classic “Zangaléwa” by the Golden Sounds. Elsewhere the influence comes through on techno-heavy Krautrockian cuts “The Pot Is On Fire” and “Joy (Idaresit).”

Those fiery, adrenaline-rushing tracks ultimately give way to more subdued songs like “Lullaby,” “Cry (Eyed),” and “Quiet,” offering moments of reflection and meditation between the terrific intensity that defines the rest of the album.

But Ibibio Sound Machine are fully aware of their strengths. That’s why Uyai’s closing number–the polyrhythmic, hyper-speed grooves of Afro-funk banger “Trance Dance”–is the absolute perfect send-off.

Uyai is available now.

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Listen to WurlD's New 'Love Is Contagious' EP

A sound that connects to the quintessential Afropolitan mind.

Nigerian-American singer WurlD drops his new 9-song EP, Love Is Contagious.

The new release, which is led by popular singles like "Show You Off" featuring Walshy Fire & Shizzi and "Contagious," sees the blue-haired WurlD blending elements of Nigerian juju music with pop and R&B;, making for a captivating and energetic fusion.

"Love is Contagious is a conversation about love, from the infatuation stage to drowning in the emotion to the commitment stage," mentions WurlD. "This EP is something everyone can relate to at some point in their lives. It has always been my goal to add a different range to the conversation and Love is Contagious does that, taking my fans and family on the journey a man goes through finding himself in love."

WurlD's creates "a sound that connects to the quintessential Afropolitan mind," wrote our contributor Joey Akan in an exclusive interview piece with the Lagos-born singer.

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Social Media Is Doodling On Pictures of Burundi's President In Support of Arrested Schoolgirls

Folks online are using the hashtag #FreeOurGirls to remind Burundi's president that scribbling is not a crime.

Last week, three Burundian schoolgirls were taken into custody after doodling on a picture of President Pierre Nkurunziza in their textbooks. The girls, all under the age of 18, face up to five years in prison for the act.

Now folks on social media are rallying behind the girls, using the hashtag #FreeOurGirls. People are not only voicing their unwavering support for the young girls against the heavy hand of the president, they're also using it as an opportunity to share pictures of the president with their own doodles.

In true elementary form, some images show the president with playfully drawn-on mustaches, hats and hair. One of the more creative doodles shows the president with a curled mustached and a short blue wig on.

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Nasty C. Photo by Sabelo Mkhabela.

Nasty C Says The EP He’s Working on With NO I.D. Will Sound “Close to Home”

Nasty C says the songs on the EP he's working on with No I.D. "will sound so close to home, it will feel like they should be our gospel songs."

By now you should know Nasty C is working on some music with No I.D.. Ever since images of the South African rapper and producer in studio with No I.D. and Big Sean hit the internet about a month ago, we've all been kept guessing.

However, Nasty recently shared some new details about the project. While talking to Slikour in an interview that was published on Slikour On Life, the Durban rapper shared what the response to his sophomore album Strings and Bling (2018) meant to him.

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