Last friday I was invited by Radio Troptopia / Cashmere Radio to do a highlife special.
It´s mainly focused on 1980´s highlife from Ghana and Izon / Ijaw highlife from Nigeria. You will find some special tracks there. The show was made in a relaxed atmosphere with berlin based DJ´s Edna Martinez and Radio Hobo.
I want to recommend to you this great Juju mix with hypnotic beautiful animations by KêtuRecords Marseille. If you ever interested in Juju music, this is something from somebody who is really deep in it. I´m very impressed by the mix and the images! Take your time and enjoy the whole thing.
The bird as the primary musician is pictured also on labels of west-african records. In my perception they are used more often than other animals (dogs, lions, elephants). Here are some fine examples from what I found until today.
Owoh Records – Orlando Owoh´s personal label, an nigerian JuJu / Highlife musician.
Mari Josh Records, nigerian juju music
Femco Recods from Nigeria with a reggae record from Bassey Black
Frank International Records from Nigeria, I guess it´s a personal label from “Frank International and his Band Group”
Humming Bird Productions, UK, synth highlife from 1991
Famous Happy Bird released some essential ghanian highlife records, mostly from the African Brothers. Like a lot of records from small ghanian labels it was made by Ambassador Records, who did run the first ghanian owned record plant in Kumasi.
Mali Kunkan, eminent label who released a series of classic recordings from Mali’s best regional orchestras. Some of them were reissued during the last years by Kindred Spirits.
Jibros Records, another small nigerian label who released a record from an ghanian highlife artist
Franco Records, small nigerian label with 1980´s highlife music
Awoko Records, small nigerian label, released also some very very rare Afrofunk records.
Tabansi, famous nigerian highlife, juju, afrobeat, funk & boogie label
Stanley Murphy on Disco 2000, Ivory Coast
Feathers, released highlife and funk from Nigeria.
BOB international records / fancy was located in Nigeria and released music from ghanaian artists
Highlife from Ghana, small label based in London in the 1980`s
I.K. Bros Records, fine nigerian highlife from Franco Lee Ezute and his Harmony Kings International
Ebohon Records, one more nigerian label with a Waziri Oshomah release
Odec, nigerian highlife, I think mostly from the 1980´s.
I will play for you “Flash Special” from Rogana Ottah and his Black Heroes International. He is singing for us something about the black flamingos…
The National Arts Theatre in Lagos was built in 1976 ahead of the Second World and Black Festival of Arts and Culture, FESTAC 77. It was the primary centre for the performing arts in Nigeria and was built during the military regime of Olusegnu Obasanjo. People say its exterior is shaped like a military hat. The building was designed and constructed by Bulgarian construction companies. It´s the bigger sister of the Sports Hall Varna in Bulgaria and has a 5000-seat main hall, two big cinemas and facilities for simultaneous translation of 8 languages etc..
The second FESTAC 77 was the biggest international culture festival which happened in Africa until today. Probably that´s the reason why it was a very important building for the culture workers of Nigeria and as it´s looks above a popular place for shooting record cover pictures. Some of the most famous Nigerian highlife artists made a cover with posturing themself in front of the National Arts Theatre. I guess they also performed inside.
Nowadays it´s in need of renovation and in bigger parts unusable. While its smaller halls are occasionally used for theatre performances, banquets and weddings, the main hall has been deserted since the early 1990s. During the last years the government announced plans to privatize the building which was followed by wide protests from the Nigerian public and artists. I´m not sure what´s the actual state of affairs.
Visual artists Daniel Kötter und Constanze Fischbeck made in 2011 an experimental documentary about the the building (Staats-Theater #1 LAGOS) and curated the collaborative art project National Theatre POP UP in Lagos two years later.
I would like to play from the records above the very funky highlife track “Omhona-Omhona” from Waziri Oshomah. One of my most favourite nigerian highlife artists, his recordings for the Shanu Olu label in the later seventies are outstanding beautiful for me.