I know the much vaunted AOTM post is looming around the corner but I thought I cannot exclude this splendid work of art by Dele Sosimi. He was the band leader for Fela’s Egypt 80 and founded Positive Force with Fela. He also hosts a bi-monthly Afrobeat night in London, which I will have to attend.
There is Femi and Seun Kuti, of course, and the ever-dextrous iconic Tony Allen, who guests hither and yon. But nobody is keeping Fela’s Afrobeat flag flying as proudly as Dele Sosimi: composer, keyboard player, bandleader and wearer of some of the finest Abeti Aja dog-ear caps in the world. Songlines
From the first, this album is invigorating, the Fela sound distilled for modern times and recorded on excellent equipment. The second track Na My Turn is suffused with political disaffection, which one would hope would no longer be needed in 2015 but there you are. Dele was both eviscerating politicians in Nigeria and the UK General Election. a fascinating piece. Dele was born in Hackney, London, so his dual political nationality is fascinating.
Na My Turn is a very timely political statement, coming as it does at the time of the upcoming elections in both Dele’s ‘homeland’ of Nigeria, and prior to the forthcoming UK General Election in May. Echoing the feelings of many in both Africa and at home, Dele has grown tired of the same old leaders from the same old parties and makes a stand that it’s now his turn for president! His turn for Governor! And who wouldn’t vote for this man with his striking words and forceful backing from his mighty Afrobbeat Orchestra! Bandcamp
The relentless energy of the album follows through every track. The title track is suffused with combative fire. The drums are exquisite, the funk horns fill the soul and the keyboard synth is a direct call back to his beloved former bandmate Fela. This is a tribute to Fela and his mammoth contribution to Afropop as a genre while bringing Afropo into the present day.
I won’t say any more, but, as should be clear, I hope you will be able to enjoy this wonderful album for yourselves. This is likely going to be my most listened to album of the year (last year was Kraftwerk). It is exciting, new yet firmly rooted in my beloved Fela and brings one up at times when it is most needed.