BAM, Luaka Bop, and Red Bull Music Academy present an amazing, not-to-be missed lineup of musicians at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 2 and 3 to celebrate the music of the elusive Nigerian synth-funk pioneer William Onyeabor. William Onyeabor self-released eight nearly impossible-to-find albums between 1978 and 1985 in south-eastern Nigeria before disappearing from the music scene. Utterly catchy and infectious, with a heavy use of synthesizers, his music sounds decades ahead of its time. Last year, after a five year odyssey to track down Onyeabor and secure his permission to release his music, David Bryne’s Luaka Bop label released World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who is William Onyeabor? The album introduced Onyeabor’s music to a wider audience and was named one of Time magazine’s top 10 albums of the year and Pitchfork’s Best Reissue of the Year 2013.
Under the musical direction of Ahmed Gallab (Sinkane), the two-night event will feature performances by David Byrne, Money Mark of the Beastie Boys, Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem, Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, Luke Jenner of The Rapture, Devonté Hynes of Blood Orange, the Lijadu Sisters, and Joshua Redman. ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor will be the first time the legendary artist’s music catalog will be performed live in the United States.
Following the Brooklyn performances, Atomic Bomb! will travel to the west coast. Shows are scheduled for May 6 at the Warfield in San Francisco, and May 8 at The Greek in Los Angeles.
Tickets and more info about the Brooklyn performances are available on the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s website. Tickets start at $35.
The official music video for William Onyeabor’s Atomic Bomb:
If you want to learn more about the mysterious William Onyeabor before the show, watch this recently released short documentary Fantastic Man—filmed in New York, London and Nigeria—that illuminates the Onyeabor myth via interviews with Western and African artists, record collectors, industry, radio deejays and Luaka Bop’s Yale Evelev and Eric Welles Nystrom.