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Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife Afro-Sounds

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Audio CD, February 5, 2008
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Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife Afro-Sounds + Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Ghanaian Blue 1968-1981 + Nigeria Special 2: Modern Highlife 1970-6
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Editorial Reviews

Subtitled: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-76. ...& Nigerian Blues, 1970-1976. Since 2002, Soundway Records has been synonymous with high-quality and groundbreaking compilations of music from Africa, the Caribbean and South America. Nigeria Special is the most ambitious project yet for the label -- a truly in-depth, double album look at Nigerian music in the early to mid-'70s, encompassing a broad range of styles. Compiler and DJ Miles Cleret has spent five years working on this album -- involving trips to Lagos and around Nigeria interviewing musicians and researching recordings, as well as a suitable amount of time scouring dusty record stores and warehouses for elusive sounds. This compilation presents some of the best un-reissued and forgotten sounds from Nigeria, covering the amazingly vibrant and diverse styles that emerged and flourished at the time. Everything from highlife, jazz, Afro-beat and blues to more traditional styles are represented to give as comprehensive a survey of the scene as possible. The 32-page booklet covers a history of the time plus in-depth information on the artists and musicians, as well as a look at the amazing pop-art cover designs of Nigerian records. Soundway. 2007.

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. AyammaThe Anambra Beats 4:07$0.89  Buy MP3 
  2. Okwukwe Na NchekwubeCelestine Ukwu & His Philosophers National 6:10$0.89  Buy MP3 
  3. AmalinjaThe Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination 5:16$0.89  Buy MP3 
  4. Akula Owu OnyearaThe Funkees 7:30$0.89  Buy MP3 
  5. Oja OmobaDele Ojo & His Star Brothers Band 3:41$0.89  Buy MP3 
  6. Koma MosiThe Harbours Band 2:56$0.89  Buy MP3 
  7. Nekwaha Semi ColonThe Semi Colon 3:31$0.89  Buy MP3 
  8. Osalobua RekpamaSir Victor Uwaifo & His Melody Maestros 3:21$0.89  Buy MP3 
  9. Onwu Ama DikeSt. Augustine & His Rovers Dance Band 6:07$0.89  Buy MP3 
10. Feso JaiyeThe Sahara All Stars Of Jos 4:09$0.89  Buy MP3 
11. Ema Kowa Lasa Lle WaMono Mono 6:50$0.89  Buy MP3 
12. To Whom It May ConcernTunji Oyelana And The Benders 2:58$0.89  Buy MP3 
13. UgaliThe Tony Benson Sextet 5:23$0.89  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Asiko Mi NiThe Nigerian Police Force Band 5:12$0.89  Buy MP3 
  2. Torri WowoGodwin Ezike & The Ambassadors 3:09$0.89  Buy MP3 
  3. BelemaOpotopo 6:14$0.89  Buy MP3 
  4. AlabekeDan Satch & His Atomic 8 Dance Band Of Aba 4:35$0.89  Buy MP3 
  5. ArrainoPopular Cooper & His All Beats Band 3:04$0.89  Buy MP3 
  6. Simini-YagaCollins Oke Elaiho and His Odologie Nobles Dance Band 3:40$0.89  Buy MP3 
  7. Buroda MaseBola Johnson & His Easy Life Top Beats 4:56$0.89  Buy MP3 
  8. I Want a Break Thru'The Hykkers 3:02$0.89  Buy MP3 
  9. Business Before PleasureGeorge Akaeze & His Augmented Hits 4:38$0.89  Buy MP3 
10. Omo Yen Wu MiShadow Abraham With Mono Mono Friends 3:29$0.89  Buy MP3 
11. Blak SoundLeo Fadaka, The Heroes 4:56$0.89  Buy MP3 
12. Eguae ObaOsayomore Joseph, The Creative 7 4:30$0.89  Buy MP3 
13. AkpaisonEtubom Rex Williams & His Nigerian Artistes 2:30$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 5, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Soundway Records
  • ASIN: B000WM8IAU
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,355 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Classic Gibbon on February 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD
A wonderful and intelligently compiled collection of Nigerian electric highlife and Afro-rock from the early 1970's. With a four panel digipack case, a well written and informative booklet and 2 discs of impossibly rare music, excellently mastered for CD reissue, this is an absolute bargain.

Unlike many of the recent reissue collections of Nigerian music this one bypasses the more well known Afrobeat selections and concentrates on some of the more obscure sounds created in the nation's most fertile period. There is irresistably infectious highlife, there's embryonic Afrobeat style workouts and there are a few straight ahead rock sounds, although with a definite African influence.

The compilers deserve a big pat on the back for releasing such a varied, but consistently excellent album. Hopefully they have plans to extend this series and uncover further selections of some of the most joyous music on the planet.

If you're a fan of Fela, Femi, Franco, Nigerian, Ghanaian or Congolese music there is very little chance you'll be disappointed by this set. And at just over 24 dollars it's an absolute steal
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on July 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Nigerian music had a brief renaissance in the first half of the 70s, when the country was temporarily between wars and dictatorships. The scene seems to have exploded with experimentation inspired by sounds from the West, mixed with new interpretations of the perennially popular Highlife. I have no idea if this anthology is a representative sample of the scene, or if the best or most important songs and artists have been collected. But I do know that the anthology is uniformly fascinating and will be a real treat for anyone interested in a deeper exploration of modern West African music. While the collection's subtitle indicates "Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues," that will hardly prepare the listener for the musical variety herein.

Collectors and experts might be able to fit most of the tracks here into the long-term development of Highlife, but adventurous listeners will be astounded by the experimentation found in the anthology's most offbeat tracks. For example, Celestine Ukwu & His Philosophers National, The Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination, and Mono Mono deliver what could be considered dark underground alternatives to Highlife. Tracks by Collins Oke Elaiho & His Odoligie Nobles Dance Band and Leo Fadaka & The Heroes sound like late-period Bob Marley half a decade before schedule. The selection from The Semi Colon illustrates the distant connections between Afro-Cuban and West African sounds, with some rock mixed in. Bola Johnson & His Easy Life Top Beats deliver a strange acid jazz take on authentic regional sounds, and the selection from George Akaeze & His Augmented Hits is heavily inspired by Bo Diddley.

In addition to those enthralling tracks, I for one am also hearing funk all over this anthology.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Craig Riecke on November 4, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I've owned this mangificent set a year now, and it's still in heavy rotation. If the phrase "Highlife, Afro Sounds and Nigerian Blues" leaves you going "huh?" I can tell you ... it's no easier to describe the sounds represented here as time goes on. It's kind of like if, 20 years after Elvis, people still hadn't invented the term Rock and Roll.

"Amaninja", for example, skips like a record with a big claw mark swiped across it. I think it's 7/4 time. The voice is squealy, yet has weird low overtones in it. There's a lot of echo. It's that kind of impossible combination of sounds that makes the song indelible, and it describes feelings locked in my consciousness before. That's just one example, but there are lots of others.

What keeps them altogether is this African philosophy of "rhythm as melody". You repeat the notes, but vary the beats underneath. James Brown may have introduced the instruments that make it work here(electric guitar and organ), but the Nigerians take it far beyond funk.

Other Soundways compilations are just as good, but this one set an early high water mark for head-bobbing, brain frying fun. After hearing this, I find Western music just way too boring.
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