430

Various Artists: Lagos Chop Up

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Various Artists: Lagos Chop Up
An inspired trawl through the treasure trove that is urban Nigerian social music of the late '60s through mid '80s—a laid-back, all-night, intertribal dance party featuring classic highlife, Afrobeat, juju, and fuji hits of the era in all their four-track, one-take, original glory.

The '70s, give or take, were arguably the Golden Age of indigenous West African dance music: the decade before it forged wholesale fusions with Western pop and became global rather than local in genesis and outlook. Horns, electric guitars, and kit drums had been introduced from the West, and jazz and funk ran through highlife and Afrobeat, but in all other respects the music remained intensely African: sung in native languages, shaped by the region's traditional folk songs and driven by its uniquely rich cross-rhythms, and displaying a purely African sensibility in its lyric subject matter and extended playing times.

The album kick starts with the raw and youthful juju of Sir Shina Peters and Segun Adewale (trading together as Sir Shina Adewale). Adewale would go on to create the high energy yopop style which briefly threatened to dislodge established juju stars Sunny Ade and Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey in the mid '80s, and the cranked-up drive is apparent already. Other young radicals include Kollington Ayinla, whose intense, viscerally thrilling, drum-driven fuji displaced its more staid apala parent in the late '80s.

There are two superb Afrobeat tracks—Nigerian Army Rhythm Band's "Ebawa Se (Party With Us)" and Shina Williams & His African Percussions' fifteen-minute closing medley. The Rhythm Band's lineup includes saxophonist/bassist Ojo Segun Okeji, who had been a member of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti's pre-Africa 70 group Koola Lobitos—the cool, chugging, jazz-meets-highlife groove is pure early Fela. Williams' more codified Afrobeat is propelled by a relentless and greasy organ, guitar, and drums groove, broken up by a raucous trombone solo and Fela-esque call and response vocals.

The rest of the tracks are mostly highlifes, in the style's various guises—the R&B tinge of trumpeter/vocalist Dr Victor Olaiya, the so-called Evil Genius of Highlife; the horns and guitars Eastern region style of Steven Amechi, Oliver De Coque, and Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson; and the more rootsical, percussion-dominated Etuborn Rex Williams and Workers Brigade Band #1.

In a word, it's heaven. As is the companion album Lagos All Routes, featuring more classic cuts from Ebenezer Obey, Sir Victor Uwaifo, Travellers Lodge Atomic, Super Negro Bantous, Haruna Ishola, and other rainforest and savannah spacemen.

Track Listing

Awe Ni Superstars (We Are Superstars); Omelebele; Uwa Idem Mi; Alhaji Sikura Adenni; Softly Softly Catchee Monkey; Ebawa Se (Party With Us); Selense; The Tragedy Story Of Two Friends; Onye Na Eli Nkwu (A Drinker); Owuno Oerina; Kpanlogo; Medley - Ise Aje Male (Any Work Is Hard)/Egbe Kegbe (Bad Company)/Emi Koni Koja Ayemi (I Know My Limits).

Personnel

Sir Shina Adewale; Dr Victor Olaiya; Etuborn Rex Williams; Kollington Ayinla; Ikenga Super Stars Of Africa; Nigerian Army Rhythm Band; Eastern Minstrels; Oliver De Coque; Steven Amechi & His Rhythm Skies; Cardinal Rex Lawson; Workers Brigade Band #1; Shina Williams & His African Percussions.

Album information

Title: Lagos Chop Up | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Honest Jons Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Earth
Earth
Dave Liebman
Read Urban(e)
Urban(e)
Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra
Read Hiding Place
Hiding Place
Mark Murphy, Folk Artist
Read The Truce
The Truce
Markus Reuter
Read Data Lords
Data Lords
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Read In Igma
In Igma
Pedro Melo Alves
Read Blood Moon
Blood Moon
Ingrid Laubrock + Kris Davis

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.