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It was in Benin City, in the heart of Nigeria, that a new hybrid ofintoxicating highlife music known as Edo Funk was born.It first emerged in the late 1970s when a group of musicians beganto experiment with different ways of integrating elements from theirnative Edo culture and fusing them with new sound effects comingfrom West Africa ́s night-clubs. Unlike the rather polished 1980 ́sNigerian disco productions coming out of the internationalmetropolis of Lagos Edo Funk was raw and reduced to its bareminimum.
Someone was needed to channel this energy into a distinctive soundand Sir Victor Uwaifo appeared like a mad professor with his Joromistudio. Uwaifo took the skeletal structure of Edo music andrelentless began fusing them with synthesizers, electric guitars and80 ́s effect racks which resulted in some of the most outstanding Edorecordings ever made. An explosive spiced up brew with an oddpsychedelic note dubbed "Edo Funk".
That's the sound you'll be discovering in the first volume of theEdo Funk Explosion series which focusses on the genre’s greatestoriginators; Osayomore Joseph, Akaba Man, and Sir Victor Uwaifo:
Osayomore Joseph was one of the first musicians to bring the soundof the flute into the horn-dominated world of highlife, and hisskills as a performer made him a fixture on the Lagos scene. When hereturned to settle in Benin City in the mid 1970s – at theinvitation of the royal family – he devoted himself to themodernisation and electrification of Edo music, using funk and Afro-beat as the building blocks for songs that weren’t afraid to callout government corruption or confront the dark legacy of Nigeria’scolonial past.
Akaba Man was the philosopher king of Edo funk. Less overtlypolitical than Osayomore Joseph and less psychedelic than VictorUwaifo, he found the perfect medium for his message in the trance-like grooves of Edo funk. With pulsating rhythms awash in cosmicsynth-fields and lyrics that express a deep personal vision, hefound great success at the dawn of the 1980s as one of Benin City’smost persuasive ambassadors of funky highlife.
Victor Uwaifo was already a star in Nigeria when he built thelegendary Joromi studios in his hometown of Benin City in 1978.Using his unique guitar style as the mediating force between West-African highlife and the traditional rhythms and melodies of Edomusic, he had scored several hits in the early seventies, but oncehe had his own sixteen-track facility he was able to pursue hisobsession with the synesthetic possibilities of pure sound, addingsquelchy synths, swirling organs and studio effects to hypnoticbasslines and raw grooves. Between his own records and hisproduction for other musicians, he quickly established himself asthe godfather of Edo funk.
What unites these diverse musicians is their ability to strip funkdown to its primal essence and use it as the foundation for theirown excursions inward to the heart of Edo culture and outward to thefurthest limits of sonic alchemy. The twelve tracks on Edo FunkExplosion Volume 1 pulse with raw inspiration, mixing highlifehorns, driving rhythms, day-glo keyboards and tripped-out guitarsinto a funk experience unlike any other...