The Soundway label has released a second volume in their Nigeria Special series. Nigeria Special 2: Modern Highlife 1970-6 features tracks that have been forgotten or out of print for nearly 35 years, but have since been tracked down and documented by Miles Cleret. The fruits of this arduous labor has taken over 10 years of dedication, research and travel to Nigeria, now culminating in the final part of Soundway’s extensive survey of Nigeria’s forgotten musical history.
The range of styles on Nigeria Special Volume 2 vary from highlife to Juju and Nigerian blues in the languages of Yoruba, Igbo, Bini and Ijaw. With a peppering of “Afro” experimentation, the same musical stew pervades volume 2 as its predecessor – some artists appear again alongside some new artists as the emphasis continues to focus on the laid-back and mid-tempo feel found on volume 1. It includes the bluesy guitar band style of The Otarus and The Peacocks International Guitar Band, sitting opposite the more uptempo sound of highlife legends Stephen Osita Osadebe (here bringing his Igbo version of the Cuban standard “Peanut Vendor”) and Paulson Kalu.
Progressive outfits Black Zenith’s’, The Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination, Tunji Oyelana, The Nkengas Opotopo and Joy Nwoso remind the listener that these were indeed experimental times with their fusions of jazz, highlife and in the case of Nwoso, opera.
Buy the album:
- In North America: Nigeria Special 2: Modern Highlife 1970-6. Other recordings available: Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues
- In Europe: Nigeria Special Vol.2: Modern Highlife Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues