The Nigerian-British bassist Michael Olatuja works across idiom, in bands oriented around jazz, gospel, R&B and neo-soul, traditional African music — the whole continuum. He and his wife Alicia Olatuja, a vocalist, make music together that reflects all these impulses. The Olatuja Project released The Promise last year, combining Yoruba vocals and talking drums with familiar and funky Western music languages; it performs as a large group, with a rhythm section and backup singers.
The Checkout: Live series paired the Olatuja Project with drummer E.J. Strickland's Stevie Wonder tribute in a double bill, in performance at 92Y Tribeca in downtown New York City. The concert was broadcast on air via WBGO and in an online video webcast on NPR Music. For more information about this series and the full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.
- "Odun De"
- "Sumo Mi"
- Bass Intro/"Iye"
- "Hold Me"
- "The Promise (Iyanu)"
- Alicia Olatuja, lead vocals
- Michael Olatuja, electric bass
- Christian Sands, piano/keyboard
- John Davis, drums
- Kofo Wonder, talking drum
- Rasul A-Salaam, backing vocals
- Deah Harriott, backing vocals
- Ayana George, backing vocals
- Durell Ron Comedy, dance
Producer and Host: Josh Jackson; Audio Engineer: David Tallacksen; Production Assistant: Michael Downes. Recorded Jan. 18, 2012 at 92Y Tribeca in New York, N.Y. Photo by John Rogers for NPR / johnrogersnyc.com