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Listen to Some Rare Highlife, Afro-Funk & Juju Songs In 'Nigeria 70'

A new compilation of vintage gems from Strut Records.

Strut Records is readying the release of their new compilation, Nigeria 70: No Wahala: Highlife, Afro-Funk & Juju 1973-1987.

The fourth installment in their Nigeria 70 series, which started back in 2001, focuses on a time in Nigerian music when styles like juju and highlife became more influenced by Western jazz, soul and funk. And we're premiering it here today.

Duncan Brooker, the compilation's longtime curator, particularly wanted to feature some Ukwuani acts from the Niger Delta for this 12-song compilation—a solid collection of vintage gems that will have you hooked for days.


Prince Nico Mbarga. Photo courtesy of Strut Records.

"With the fourth and latest Nigeria 70 installment, the aim was to uncover more rare archive gems and regional styles not yet featured in the series," Duncan Brooker writes to OkayAfrica. "We have placed the spotlight on some great late '70s highlife with the sweet vocal style of unheralded session man Idowu Odeyemi and Prince Nico Mbarga's timely message about world problems, 'Sickness.' There are two killer Ukwuani dance floor tracks from the Western Niger Delta region from International Brothers and Rogana Ottah and we go back to the core of the series with some classic funk and afrobeat from Don Bruce & The Angels, Saxon Lee & Shadows International (featuring vocals from Pax Nicholas) and Felixson Ngasia."

"Familiar names include "Guitar Boy" Sir Victor Uwaifo with a funky ekassa and Etubom Rex Williams with a heavy psychedelic funk jam. There have been many Nigerian compilations released since the original Nigeria 70 album back in 2001 but hopefully this volume explores more uncharted territory with every track previously unreleased outside of Nigeria," Brooker adds.

Listen to our premiere of NIgeria 70: No Wahala below. The compilation is out tomorrow, March 29, on Strut Records.

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Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images.

Angélique Kidjo on Africa Day: 'We demand not to be at the mercy of our circumstances anymore.'

We speak to the inimitable Angélique Kidjo who shares some of her refreshing thoughts on Africa Day.

Today is Africa Day and while primarily a commemoration of the formation of the African Union (AU) back in 1963, it has also become an opportunity to unapologetically celebrate Africa while providing a moment for reflection on how far we've come as a continent and as a people.

With this year's theme focused on "Silencing the Guns in the context of the COVID19", there has never been a more important time for deep reflection on our collective present and future as Africans.

And who better to share in that reflection than the legendary and inimitable Beninese musician Angélique Kidjo? A fierce African and artist who has paved the way for many of her contemporaries including Burna Boy, Davido, Thandiswa Mazwai, and several others, the four-time Grammy award winner emphasises the urgent need for unity among Africans. 'It's about time that people start realising that Africa is a continent. I've been saying this my entire career,' she says passionately.

OkayAfrica spoke briefly to Kidjo who shared some of her refreshing thoughts on this year's Africa Day.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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