Little is known about Nigerian musician William Onyeabor, other than the fact that he is a pioneer in electronic and synthesizer music in Africa in the 1970’s and 80’s. In the late 90s, DJs, musicians, and music enthusiasts in the west re-discovered William Onyeabor through compilations and his vinyl catalog. Questions soon arose about the man behind the music (William Onyeabor also dabbled in filmmaking). Noisey recently released a documentary Fantastic Man, which tries to uncover the story of William Onyeabor, and get an interview with him. Along the way, the Noisey documentary gives us primer on African popular music from the post-colonial days to the present (Indigenous folk, rock, soul, blues, funk, jazz, highlife, afro beat etc).
Musician David Byrne’s world music record label Luaka Bop recently put out a compilation: Who is William Onyeabor? (2013), which made Time magazine’s top 10 albums list of 2013. David Byrne also leads a tribute show with The Atomic Bomb! Band, and a rotating cast of guest musicians. Enjoy the documentary, music performance on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and music videos playlist from Luaka Bop below.
‘Fantastic Man‘ (Full Length) – A Film About William Onyeabor
David Byrne & the Atomic Bomb Band! featuring The Lijadu Sisters, Sinkane, Money Mark (Beastie Boys, DVDASA Podcast), Pat Mahoney (LCD) performing “Fantastic Man” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 4-29-2014
Who is William Onyeabor? music videos playlist from David Byrne’s world music label Luaka Bop