“The Western world was in the throes of peace, love, and flower power as Nigeria descended into Civil War in 1967. The rock scene that developed during the following three years of bloodshed and destruction would come to heal the country, propagate the world-wide ideal of the Modern Nigerian, and propel Fela Kuti to stardom after conflict ended in 1970. Wake Up You! tells the story of this time, pays homage to these now-forgotten musicians and their struggle, and brings to light the funk and psychedelic fury they created as they wrested free of the ravages of the late 1960s and created thrilling, original Nigerian rock music throughout the 1970s.”
In July 1967 Nigeria descended into a terrible civil war that would leave an estimated 3 million dead before its end in 1970.
“The war had an immediate impact on the Lagos music scene – most of the major highlife bandleaders and musicians were of Eastern origin, and their mass defection from the capital drove the final nail into the coffin of highlife’s embattled status as Nigeria’s national music”
When weapons were finally laid down, “Head of State Yakubu Gowon magnanimously declared that the war had ended with ‘no victor and no vanquished,’ prohibiting all punitive actions or reprisals against the indigenes of the country’s Eastern Region who had attempted to secede as the renegade Republic if Biafra.”
Into this simultaneously old and new Nigeria, a flood of new sounds emerge and grow. Sounds to reflect a new reality shaped by war and peace.
Thus begins the story of ‘WAKE Up You’ – Now Again’s incredible two part anthology of ‘The Rise & Fall Of Nigerian Rock Music’ available on April 15th.
This is truly no ordinary compilation. Every single track is licensed from the bands themselves! Each CD is accompanied by an incredible 100 page booklet written by Nigerian musicologist and researcher Uchenna Ikonne who compiled the brilliant ‘Who Is William Onyeabor.’ Ikonne and Eothen Alapatt (Label boss Egon) tell the incredible story in words and music of how musical innovators came to help heal Nigeria between 1970 and 1977.
So many highlights re-upped in this crazy decade long project. The breakbeat psychfuzz of The Apostles ‘Never To Late’ & Theodore Nemy’s ‘Come Back’ and the simply gigantic Sly Stone-esque slab of blues funk ‘I wanna Break Thru’ by the Hyykers make this a must wallet dipper.
All quotes from Uchenna Ikonne’s accompanying booklet & Now Again Press Releases.
Get a sneak peak here