Friday, November 09, 2018

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-William Onyeabor

Artist:William Onyeabor
Song:Body and Soul
Album:Who Is William Onyeabor?

So I'm going to answer the question asked by this CD. Who is William Onyeabor? Afrobeat fans may already know about him but even at home in Nigeria he is an enigma partially because he quit the music business in the 80s. He was born Mar. 26, 1946 in Enugu, Nigeria. He studied piano as a child. Onyeabor moved to Europe and studied cinematography in Russia. He came home to Nigeria to start his own company Wilfilms. This was at a time when guys like Fela Kuti became really popular. Instead of making films, he decided to record music in his home studio. Onyeabor released seven albums from 1977-85 on his own label. Body and Soul is from the 1980 album Body and Soul. Then in 1985 he became a born again Christian and denounced his music. He wouldn't even do interviews anymore. Onyeabor owned a flour mill and was made High Chief of Enugu. Years later David Byrne was looking for music to release on his Luaka Bop label. A couple of Onyeabor tracks appeared on various artists CDs. There was enough interest to release the CD Who Is William Onyeabor? in 2013. Luaka Bop also released a box set and all the original albums gave been released on vinyl for DJs. They also released some remixes. And the William Onyeabor tribute band Atomic Bomb! Band led by Ahmed Gallab toured and recorded an album on Luaka Bop. Special guests on some of the tour dates included David Byrne, Damon Albarn of Blur, Amadou and Mariam and jazz musicians Pharoah Sanders, Joshua Redman, Charles Lloyd and David Murray. In a 2014 BBC Radio interview, Onyeabor announced plans to record new music. Sadly he never got to do that as he died on Jan. 16, 2017 at age 70. Here's the video of Body and Soul by William Onyeabor.

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