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World Music CD Reviews Africa

Various Artists

By Michael Stone
Published July 22, 2008

Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump

As happened elsewhere in the waning days of British Empire, Nigerian independence made for a musical breakout, and the 1970s produced a rollicking, influential legacy. Open to a world of influences—R&B, funk, reggae, English rock, Afro-Cuban music—working-class Nigerian music fused these and more with the popular dockside, highlife, juju, and palm wine sounds. This compilation probes beyond such well-known figures as Fela Kuti and King Sunny Adé, introducing listeners to bands whose inventive names reflect the joyous mélange documented here, among them Ashanti Afrika Jah, Sir Shina Peters & His International Stars, Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Melody Maestros, Bola Johnson & His Easy Life Top Beats, as well as Tony Tete Harbor & The Star Heaters of Nigeria. Journalist-musician John Collins, who first came to Ghana in 1952 and has been heavily involved in the West African music scene since the ’60s, pens the notes. He offers some valuable insight into his history of performing with Fela, E.T. Mensah, and Victor Uwaifo, as well as his tenure at the Bokoor Recording Studio, just outside of Accra.