OJ Ekemode began recording in Nigeria in the mid-1960s, and by fusing local rhythms with the international musical influences flowing through Africa at the time – Cuban, funk, jazz, soul - he helped lay the foundation for Afrobeat. While Fela Kuti and Tony Allen built and expanded on that foundation in Nigeria, OJ became Afrobeat's ambassador, living in various places and always, always, creating.
Dance Afro-Beat was recorded in Nigeria, but released in the US on Ekemode's Afro-Beat Records label, and soon after picked up and distributed by Shanachie Records. Today's offering is from an album acquired while the ink was still wet. Unfortunately some of my Nigerian album collection suffered some water damage, a few years ago, and several record sleeves were ruined. Luckily no harm was done to the vinyl, and after using a vacuum record cleaner, the sound is as good as new. I apologize for the album art; I gleaned it from the web, where images of the Shanachie release are easy to find.
Yesterday's mail brought me Super Afro-Soul and Orlando Julius and the Afro Sounders, both impressively packaged releases packed with photos of and information about this extraordinary talent. You can click on their images to find them.