Who said that all Nigerian afrobeat from the 70s was dark and though provoking with a melancholic edge despite the ongoing powerful grooves and a more or less political message denouncing the the methods of the country’s leaders to increase their own wealth and power while the simple people suffer. Well, this 1978 album by bandleader Thony Shorby Nyenwi proves this idea wrong. What we have here is a sacredly rare gem, fetching 300 € for a copy in playable condition. A crown jewel of Nigerian afrobeat and funk music that is an utter joy listening to.
Thony Nyenwi’s music is a monument of the genre carved in rock. His vocal melodies are more at the lighter and happier side of life, somehow hypnotizing with reduced note progressions on repetitive rhythm figures that rush through your whole body to make you groove along. A fine funky wah wah guitar sound and a mind blowing keyboard sound including electric piano, farfisa organ and others hook up to add colour to the stoic rhythms. The atmosphere literally cooks. This is certainly more modern with a slightly more polished feel than the political music of Fela Kuti or Segun Bucknor, but still bears an unparalleled intensity that makes this album a dance floor sweeper at each club. Coloured lights are flashing into the white haze from the fogging machines when people in glittering bell bottom trousers and twinkling shirts happily get into the groove. 70s galore. Well, the folks can also shift down a gear and rock out a sweet reggae tune that later on turns into a smooth funk, to add more variety to this black wax jewel.
No matter what Thony and his mates do here, they do it with passion and divine talent.
The arrangements are a dense network of sounds, beats, melodies, voices and it goes on and on throughout the whole record. You as a fan of 1970s black music, funk, reggae, soul, all mixed up in a typical Nigerian way, will be enchanted and become swallowed by the holy cloud emerging from the speakers. A beautiful discovery after such a long time that will bring more joy to a new generation of black music aficionadoes.