Boomkat Product Review
Soundway turn to Nigerian polymath Tunji Oyelana and his band, The Benders for the latest treasure in their mighty catalogue. 'A Nigerian Retrospective 1966-79' collects 20 songs covering myriad fusions of highlife, afrobeat, afrorock, funk, calypso, juju and reggae, all fronted by the beaming presence of singer songwriter, Oyelana; a multifaceted artist, actor, bandleader, academic, dramatist and comedian who can claim equally pioneering status as his far better known and fellow countryman, Fela Kuti. And it's partly due to Kuti's international success why Tunji's brilliant music is largely unavailable or overlooked outside his homeland. So, for many of us, welcome to the world of Tunji Oyelana, a sound brimming with dancefloor fire, as on the deadly, swingeing polyrhythms of 'Ipasan', in the tightest funk shuffle of his 1971 hit 'Agba Lo De' - here in LP and original 45 versions - on the rudest breakbeat downstroke of 'Ifa' (breaks hunters beware!) and the outstanding rollige of 'Panbolanbola'. But, like we say, there's an incredible depth and range to his oeuvre, taking in psychedelic, organ-driven slomp groove of 'Ogun Adubi', and the taut, burning guitar licks of 'Omoba D'eru Ri', or slow, swaying songcraft of 'To Whom It May Concern' and the delightfully infectious calypso, 'Aiye Nla'. Whether you're a connoisseur or have an occasional thing for Afrobeat, we reckon this collection will blow your mind. Highly recommended!