CORE MEMBERS - Ahmed Gallab (of Yeasayer; musical director), Jason Trammel on drums, Johny Lam on guitar, Ish Montgomery on bass ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ POTENTIAL GUESTS - Joshua Redman, David Byrne (of Talking Heads) Damon Albarn (of Blur/Gorillaz), Alexis Taylor (of Hot Chip), Pat Mahoney (of LCD Soundsystem), Money Mark (of the Beastie Boys), and Jas Walton (of Antibalas), Kele Okereke (of Bloc Party), Luke Jenner (of The Rapture), Ghostpoet, Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange), Young Fathers, the Lijadu Sisters, and several other less known artists
BIOGRAPHY: I'm going to sort out all of the confusion that people are undoubtedly encountering when they hear about this band. William Onyeabor was a Nigerian Funk musician who released music in the 70's and early 80's whose politically charged lyrics often challenged the issues his country was facing at the time. Onyeabor is truly a man of mystery. Despite being in what was a booming music scene at the time, Onyeabor remained an outsider to all the local musicians, resulting in few people knowing any real details about his life. This was largely due to him running his own flour mill which supplied him with enough money to build himself the only proper, professional recording studio around. So, instead of working all the local clubs to build his skills and support so that he could get a record deal, he simply started his own studio, Wilfilms and self-released eight albums between 1977-1985 (see discography.) Sometime after Onyeabor released his final album in '85, he became a born-again Christian and disappeared. Not only has he failed to make anymore music, he has been actively distancing himself from his music as much as possible. Even today, when contacted in regards to his music by Luaka Bop records, he simply asked, "Why would I talk to the about my music when all I want to talk about is God?" Flash forward to 2013, still, few people had ever heard of William Onyeabor but David Byrne decided he wanted to do his best to change that. In October of 2013. After releasing one of Onyeabor's songs on World Psychedelic Classics Vol. 3: Love's a Real Thing: The Funky Fuzzy Sounds of West Africa, David Byrne's record label, Luaka Bop, released a compilation record of nine of Onyeabor's best songs titled World Psychedelic Classics Vol. 5: Who Is William Onyeabor? Then, not long after releasing that compilation, Luaka Bop released a thirty minute documentary on their attempts to develop a biography on the mastermind, himself.
Watch this documentary if you're really curious about Onyeabor, it's only thirty minutes but it's actually really cool and is pretty much the only place besides Wikipedia and this thread that you can find information about William Onyeabor and his music.
(WILLIAM ONYEABOR DOCUMENTARY)
All of this was very exciting and cool, but not half as cool as what came next. David Byrne recruited Ahmed Gallab and his band, Sinkane, to act as the foundation for he what turned out to be a supergroup that covered Onyeabor's music. Soon after, Alexis Taylor, Patrick Mahoney, Money Mark, and Jas Walton jumped on the bandwagon to round out the rest of the core of the group. With the base for the group established, a handful of shows were announced in various major cities: NYC, LA, and San Francisco to name a few of the locations. Each city got a slightly different show because in addition to that essential group that makes up the band, they would often have numerous guests (see "Potential Guests" above for full list) join them on stage to play some of the songs.
Discography - Crashes in Love (1977) - Atomic Bomb (1978) - Tomorrow (1979) - Body & Soul (1980) - Great Lover (1981) - Hypertension (1982) - Good Name (1983) - Anything You Sow (1985) - Who is a William Onyeabor (2013)
Genre: Nigerian electro Afro-funk (with lots of synthesizer) SimilarArtists: Fela Kuti (that is as close as you can get to Onyeabor), the Funkees, the Lijadu Sisters Similar Artists @ Roo: Literally nobody
Suggested Listening: despite having so many albums, you will not find any of them online and the original pressings of his music cost upwards of $500 and he has never repressed any of his music aside from Luaka Bop's release of "Who is William Onyeabor?" So the best thing to do is search "Who is William Onyeabor?" on Spotify and just listen to the whole album (order doesn't really matter because it's a compilation.)
Live Show Experience: It's just gonna be an epic dance party. Even people who don't know Onyeabor who are just walking around and stumble across this show are going to stop and dance their asses off. Here's a review of the show they did in LA: http: ( //consequenceofsound.net/2014/05/live-review-david-byrne-the-atomic-bomb-band-at-l-a-s-greek-theatre-58/ ) So, we know the show will be amazing, the only real question left to ask is "Will there be any of the special guests from their previous performances and if so, who will it be?" Whether or not they bring out any special guests, it will be a blast.
Interesting Facts: Onyeabor reportedly attended film school in Russia before returning to Lagos. After retiring from music and becoming a Born-Again Christian, Onyeabor was crowned High Chief of Engugu.
Personal Opinion: This show is going to be kickass ESPECIALLY if some of the potential gests show up. But either way, this is going to be one of the best dance parties to ever hit the farm. I'll be there on the rail and I hope to see you all there as well.
I've been kind of bewildered by this act, so this post really helps break down wtf is going on. haha
Haha, my pleasure smelly, that's why I wanted this one because I knew it can be quite confusing trying to figure out what exactly this is because you hear about Onyeabor and a cover group and all the star guest potential and whether or not they'll actually be there, it can get hectic and nearly impossible to keep track of. I'm really glad that it accomplished that goal!!! I'm really excited/proud now, haha, because this was my first making a band a day ever and I didn't exactly choose the easiest, most straight forward band to start with.