Artist of the Week: William Onyeabor

Artist of the week on Musikki - William Onyeabor

Artist of the week on Musikki – William Onyeabor

William Onyeabor is a funk musician from Nigeria who released eight infectious synthesizer-driven pop records on his own Wilfilms label between 1977 and 1985. Before that, he was a Russian Film Scholar and a Oxford Law Student, only to become in the mid-eighties a born-again Christian who completely renounced to his past and musical career. Welcome to Onyeabor‘s Fabulous Mind-Blowing and Hip-Challenging Universe.

When Luaka Bop released in late 2013 its fifth installment of its fabulous World Psychedelic Classics, the Western World knew nothing or very little about this disco-funk-synth master, with the exception of some long-time fans such as Damon Albarn, Carl Craig, Caribou or (of course) David Byrne. Who Is William Onyeabor? is a fine nine-track selection of his unique musical vision: three-dimensional analog synths, electro-funk grooves and fat basslines willing to experiment amidst hypnotic electronic sounds and the occasional female background vocals. One may feel that the omission of any song from what is arguably his best record (1985’s Anything You Sow) is nothing short of a tragedy, but I prefer to see it as a sign of the inevitability of second compilation. After all, the whole world could use some When The Going is Smooth and Good on its dancefloors.

João Pedro da Costa

João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.