The Semi Colon Serves Up a 'Nigeria Special'

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Nekwaha Semi Colon"
  • Artist: The Semi Colon
  • CD: Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-6
  • Genre: Afro-Pop
the cover of Nigeria Special 300

Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-6 does a nice job surveying the sounds of Nigeria in the '70s. hide caption

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Fela Kuti's musical shadow hangs heavy over Nigeria, but his country's audio coffers are crammed with many other classic head-nodders, most unheard by Western ears — at least before the salad days of the recent boom in compilations of African music.

Two recent collections from the Soundway label do a nice job surveying the sounds of Nigeria in the '70s: the two-CD Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-6 and the single-disc Nigeria Disco Funk Special: The Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-79. Both comps are essential blasts brimming with dance fodder, but the former offers a more diverse array of styles — virtually all of which are embodied by The Semi Colon in "Nekwaha Semi Colon." As the song progresses, the chanted, Fela-like vocals elbow through a Cuban-tinged 4/4 Afro-pop beat, while an acid-blues guitar smacks them all with licks straight out of the Haight-Ashbury underground.

According to the liner notes in the lavishly documented CD package, group leader Lasbrey Colon is giving his bandmates shout-outs in the song, crooning, "Look at them / Semi Colon / Singing, dancing everywhere they go / Come and see for yourself." It's really a sonic billboard for the band — and for Soundway's compilations of Nigerian mega-jams.

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Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues

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Album
Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Nigerian Blues
Artist
Various Artists
Label
Soundway
Released
2007

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