Analog Africa rarely miss the mark and this new compilation from Nigeria (1980 – 85) is an absolute delight. This the Benin City sound at its finest.
The Benin Sound is a combination of funk and highlife with a strong psyche element and irresistible rhythms.
The album features the three masters of the Benin City Sound – Sir Victor Uwaifo, Akaba Man & Osayomore Joseph and all three have their own take on the Benin sound but the basis of hilife horns and throbbing bass lines is common to all three. They all bring elements of the traditional Edo sound but add their particular take to bring it into the dancefloors of Benin City.
Opening track ‘Africa Is My Root’ (Osayomore Joseph) sets the mood with an awesomely danceable number full of the best things about African dance music of the seventies and eighties. Akaba Man with his Nigie Rokets makes music with a dark and heavy bass but his vocals are more musical and less chanted while Sir Victor Uwaifo introduces effects and has a generally lighter tone.
The music isn’t slick or polished, rather it has a delightfully rough touch to the production but the key – its infectious rhythms – shines through everywhere. There isn’t a one of the twelve tracks that doesn’t make you want to get out and dance.
Great to see that Samy ben Rejeb is still finding gems in the vaults of Analog Africa.