Nigerian Afropop Superband, LAGBAJA returns to US for the first time in 9 years


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Nigerian Afropop Superband, LÁGBÁJÁ returns to US for the first time in 9 years

A chorus of African drums establish the rhythmic entrance for the band, the pounding beat yields to a plaintive voice calling out over the punctuation of the percussion, and eventually a statuesque and provocative figure appears dressed in traditional Yoruba attire, his face is shrouded by a colorful mask.  He is Lágbájá, (the masked one) the creative and musical force behind the band and one of Nigeria’s most popular contemporary artists.  Standing all of 6 feet 5 inches in height he creates a formidable presence wherever he goes, and is one of the most recognized and beloved figures on the musical scene in Nigeria today. However, he is not just a musician, but a true Renaissance man, an activist on political and social themes, a software developer, and a celebrity who has appeared on national TV shows such as Project Fame, and X-Factor West Africa where he served as a mentor to aspiring young artists.

With a collection of 10 musicians and crew, this most popular band from West Africa will make its first appearance in the US since 2006.  They will perform some 20 different concerts across the US including some premier international festivals including:  New Orleans Jazz Festival, Festival International de Louisiane (Lafayette), and Lake Arts Festival in Black Mountain, NC.  Other major appearances include Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids, Atlanta, New York and Washington DC.  Full details of the tour can be found at:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1569658236637748/ .  The band has performed not only in the US and Canada but internationally in Europe, South America, and across Africa.  They have also shared the stage with such distinguished names as George Benson, Salif Keita, Papa Wemba, Youssou N’Dour, Earl Klugh and Hugh Masekela

Lágbájá is a Yoruba word that means somebody, nobody, anybody or everybody. It perfectly depicts the anonymity of the so called “common man”. The omnipresent mask and the name symbolize the faceless, the voiceless in the society, particularly in Africa. Once you see Lágbájá’s mask you are reminded of your own facelessness.  While the appearance of the band and the presence of traditional instruments might make one think that this band is something of a museum piece, nothing could be further from the truth.  The music of Lágbájá incorporates what he likes to refer to as “Africano” music, emphasizing the interplay of traditional African drums and Western instruments which create a unique and enchanting soundscape. His music is a product of various influences ranging from traditional Yoruba music to Jazz.  This Africano music incorporates the many iterations of African music across the diaspora including blues, jazz, calypso,  funk, and hip-hop.

In additional to composing music for his band, this musical pioneer has also developed software that brings the African talking drum to the digital world. In a bid to share his African grooves with the rest of the world and make African rhythms understandable and accessible to everyone, Lágbájá has developed and produced the first ever comprehensive digital library of “drag and drop” Yoruba grooves he calls “Africano Manchine”. An artistic marriage of man and machine, Africano Manchine works seamlessly with popular Digital Audio Workstations such as Ableton Live and Pro Tools and plays a major role in his newly pioneered Elektro Groove Music (EGM).

But perhaps the most important part of Lágbájá’s work is on the socio-political scene in Nigeria.  As an activist performer, he has been inspired by the legacy left by the late Fela Kuti a human rights activitist and political maverick who used his music to speak out against injustices in Nigerian society.  In the most recent presidential elections, it was the voice of Lágbájá that was ubiquitous in the media and through his music, inciting Nigerians to get involved in choosing their future.  He produced an EP aimed directly at the Nigerian public and placing the responsibility for their society directly on their own shoulders.  “200 Million Mumu” was an indictment of the electorate and their abdication of responsibility, dubbing them Mumu, or cattle, simply following the herd.   He said that he created the piece from a “weeping heart.”  “Undoubtedly, we the people are to blame for our woes,” Lágájá states in the accompanying video (https://youtu.be/vPytmuhYDAU ) “The ‘leaders’ have discovered that they can get away with anything… ANYTHING! Because of our docile “mumurity” as uncritical and comatose minions. Because we never stand up to them and demand probity.”  The video proceeds with images of past Nigerian despots including the recently defeated Goodluck Jonathan, who became the first incumbent president to lose a re-election bid.  While the tone of the video is accusatory and angry, the author keeps the feeling light by using humor and even presenting himself as a cartoon character complete with mask and Yoruba attire.  This is a technique Lágbájá has employed successfully throughout his career using the masked character as a foil to his biting social commentary.   http://youtu.be/01zvnAivCbU   The performer goes on,  “the simplest way to start (fighting the status quo) is to fight with your mind…fight with your vote!”

While the artist may appear to be a complicated and complex individual, without a doubt the best way to understand his message is to hear the music and see the band appear live.  North American audiences will finally that opportunity once again beginning April 18th.

For more information about your local performance by Lágbájá contacting:_______________________.

Tour representation, press materials and interviews can be arranged by contacting:  Alma Artist Booking, info@almaaristbooking.com 248-268-4239

More information at:  http://almaartistbooking.com/lagbaja/