William Onyeabor has passed away. Onyeabor was the inspiring, pioneering, experimental, electronic Nigerian funk musician from the 70s who release nine incredible albums, which he pressed himself, and then Jesus, possibly, made him disappear from the music scene. You can probably tell how we would love this story.
A few years ago Luaka Bop unearthed this magical music, and after what some say was five years of negotiations, licensed the phenomenal collection Who Is William Onyeabor.
Luaka Bop put together a touring group, The Atomic Bomb Band, featuring a cavalcade of stars not always all at once but always star powered with the likes of David Byrne, Ahmed Gallab, Alexis Taylor, Money Mark and Pat Mahoney and way more and performed Onyeabor's mesmerising sometimes meandering songs all over the globe to massive critical acclaim.
And couple of years ago I was at WOMAD with all of the gang when Atomic Bomb Band took to the stage to close the evening. The music was a joyous communal revelation, simply a revelation. Easily one of my greatest musical moments.
Recently William Onyeabor was said to be working on new music. "I only create music that will help the world." He said. Helped me.
Oh, if you only watch one music documentary this year you should maybe make it this 30 odd minute Fantastic Man from Noisey featuring the likes of Fema Kuti and Damon Albarn.
And check out WIlliam Onyeabor's stuff on Spotify. Surely will have you tapping your toes.
William Onyeabor website