Being in the footsteps of Fela is high praise, and not at all like being labeled as The Next Dylan1
Nigeria has a storied legacy of fierce anti-government musicians, most famous among them the Afrobeat king Fela Kuti (currently enjoying a posthumous popular revival with the hit Broadway show “Fela!”). But since Fela’s death in 1997, there hasn’t been an obvious heir apparent to his musical prowess and political agitations, even among Fela’s two musician sons.
In the magnetic singer Nneka (Nneka Egbuna, 29), the opening act for Nas and Damian Marley’s Distant Relatives summer tour, Nigeria has found another performer capable of drawing global attention.
Nneka pulled herself up from a hardscrabble background in the oil-producing Niger Delta region of southern Nigeria and with no family support emigrated to Germany when she was 19 (her father is Nigerian and her mother is German). After years spent struggling to earn a living – including a stint cleaning bathrooms – Nneka found music.
While she has been recording for years in Germany, her first U.S. album, “Concrete Jungle,” was released just last year. Give it a listen and just try not to have it’s hard-driving first single, “Heartbeat,” get stuck in your head.
(click to continue reading Nneka: In the Footsteps of Fela – Speakeasy – WSJ.)
Sounds worth a listen at least
2010 album from the Nigerian-German Hip Hop/Soul singer/songwriter. Concrete Jungle is a collection of songs that put the singer/songwriter at the forefront. The album is an offering of love, hope and optimism dedicated to the people of Warri & the Niger Delta of Nigeria. Holding it all together is the emotional focus of her beautiful voice, located in a place somewhere between yearning and rage.
- well, let’s hope so anyway [↩]