Both sleeves use the artists image to create ornamental structures in a fine way. The orbiting ornaments have a delightful and mesmerising effect on me. The repetition used on both images generates a certain movement around the center image (the heart and the shape of nigeria) which amplify the importance of the performers. The arrow from the Great Ojo sleeve is targeting Benin City, the capital of edo-funk and hometown of Akpolla Records.
listen to funky “Uwa-Bu-Afia” from Juana-Tina, Akpolla Records, AGB 012
and “Oriovbe” from Great Ojo, Akpolla Records, AGB 128
Both records are from one of my favourite nigerian highlife labels: Akpolla Records.
This label released about 250 records in the 70´s and 80´s from famous artists like Rex Lawson, Ali Chukwuma, Rogana Ottah, I.K. Belemu plus many more amazing deep highlife and edo-funk recordings from other less known artists.
Highlife star Popular Cooper and his all beats band of Nigeria on a sociocritical soul excursion.
Simple and sad story which is repeated permanently all over the world.
I am not sure if the content from the backsleeve is meant ironic. If somebody has some information about the political circumstances of that time in Nigeria I would be happy if you let me know!
“If You Never Know Me” from Car Studio – CLP 06, 1978
A perfect correspondence between the traces of water-damage and the environment of Félix Gnoka Groguhet. I am not certain about the type of environment – maybe a salt-lake, a sacred place? If anybody has more information about it, please let me know!
For me also a perfect musical correspondence among Ivory Coast roots and latin vibes. Listen to the complete first side of this very very beautiful record:
To continue the story of the great Waziri Oshomah, here is one of my favourite songs from him. Turn up your speakers and get ready to take off with Zonuze Oluemoebe !
I prefer the back of the sleeve – a fine combination between the black and white images, the light blue and black background areas and the red spot in the bottom right corner. I like the way how both musicians in the right image fade together in their white spaces.
The guy on the front cover is not Waziri Oshomah himself but I guess it´s Chief J. A. Aigbokhade, who might have helped finance the production of the record.
A nice sleeve from King Sonny Brown on Editions Namaco . The form and pattern making up the border around the artist reminds me of baroque ornaments but also carries design elements of christian art that you may also find in Marian images. It´s a basic design pattern which certainly found in many other cultures. The big blue globe on the yellow background is the perfect surrounding for Sonny in his aureole.
“Ndeoma Biri” reminds me very much of the music of the better known Ali Chukwuma, who also released one of his greatest records (ENLP 4) in the same year (1975) on Editions Namaco.
Sunny Brown did play the trumpet with famous Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson and his rivers men, he died about one year ago – you can find more information about him in this article in the guardian.ng.
A nice track from the Slow Motion Inter. Band of Ghana with a very special (possibly female?) lead voice. Sadly no further information about the band on the sleeve… It was released in Nigeria on Benco Records, a small label which also has two splendid releases from the Holy Kings Band Of Ghana.
Fade away and slow down in these crazy hustling times with this very beautiful song!
Sadly only very few women have engaged in west african highlife music production. If they do participate, its mostly as a background singer. They are rarely seen playing an instrument, leading a band or singing the as the lead Vocalist. It seemed the Highlife buisness was a totally male dominated scene.
But there are a few records I know where women are the lead and they are mostly exceptional great and unique. My two favourites are from Nigeria: Christy Ogbah and Christy Omon Ukpebor – very funky with a strong, hypnotic voice.
The Sleeves are as often special, I like the ruff collage techniques and the graphics from the Ogbah backside. The back of Christy Omon definetly tells that she is the most important person in the squad.
Oyomon Ale – Christy Ogbah & Her Melody Group, 1978, Mosokam Records, MOSLP 1002
Ebenitye – Christy Omon Ukpebor And Her Melody Makers Of Igueben, Brother Momoh Inter. , BMI 023