Sound Way ought to win a Nobel Prize in funk. Over the last few years, the label has released a load of rare treasures from the ’70s, when apparently funk and soul were kings in Africa and everything musicians could get their hands on from the West was stirred into the local fiery beats already there. The nine songs on Nigeria Disco Funk Special borrow from disco but remain rooted in the funk and Afro-pop rhythms that make for a fun, danceable, and brutally hardcore sound.
It is no accident that a genre of Afro-pop is called highlife — this music was made to remind you to et over yourself and kick out the jams. Asiko’s “Lagos City” and Dr. Adolf Ahanotu’s “Ijuere” will please funk fans the most; they boil with insane, sharp funk guitar, cutting all the way through. The dancehalls of Lagos must have shook in bliss when tunes like “Take Your Soul” by the
Sahara All Stars of Jos or “Mota Ginya” by Voices of Darkness kicked in. On these tracks the disco signatures of dense keyboard and wall-of-sound production are there, but the percussion is harsher and establishes more of a groove than its often static Western counterpart. This is disco by way of the JB’s or Chic.
Nigeria Disco Funk Special reminds us that great music comes from everywhere, in every country. You just need to dig for it. Fortunately,
Sound Way continues to do some of the work for us.