Mar 2, 2010

Najite Olokun - Africa Before Invasion




Information

Najite Agindotan was born in Nigeria and learned the elements of the Afro-beat style from its originator, Fela Kuti, who formally took Agindotan on as a godson following his father's death. Now living in Los Angeles, Agindotan has a band of his own, and while his style certainly owes a clear debt to Kuti, he has absorbed many other musical styles as well. These are all proudly displayed on the debut album of his ensemble, the Najite Olokun Prophecy. In true West African style, the album's five tracks range in length from long to longer; they offer a winning combination of jazz horn charts, incredibly complex and multi-layered percussion, and actual song structure, though the song structure is generally embedded in and subservient to the rippling long-form foundation of congas and talking drums. The first two tracks on this album are the weakest ones; the third track, "Honesty," is the first to build up some real musical tension and structural interest -- by the time you get to the percussion break halfway through the song's seven-plus minutes and then segue into the call-and-response vocals, you're thoroughly hooked and likely to remain that way throughout the even longer (but also even funkier and more interesting) "Aorieo" and the spectacular highlife workout of "A.B.I." Fans of Fela Kuti will resonate to this album immediately, but even those unfamiliar with the various traditions of West African pop music will find plenty to enjoy here. Recommended. ~ Rick Anderson

NAJITE OLOKUN PROPHECY"Africa Before Invasion"The Godson of FELA KUTIDiscover "Showtime", "Lasisi", "Honesty", "Aorieo" and "A.B.I." and join the exciting success of NAJITEGuitar, Horns, Percussions, Vocals and Keybord AFRO BEATNAJITE BIOGRAPHYSon of an Urhobo tribal chieftan, NAJITE Agindotan is an amazing drummer who, from a very young age, traveled with the Urhobo cultural music troupe under his father's direction. They traveled throughout West Africa and performed at national festivals in Nigeria, their native country. Fervent participant, NAJITE took part in all kinds of cultural activities such as theater performances, traditional dancing and drumming.

In his early teens, NAJITE was introduced to the internationally Nigerian superstar FELA KUTI and his new music called AFROBEAT, a very potent combination of popular Nigerian dance styles layered with funk guitars and an Africanized reinterpretation of the arrangements pioneered by James Brown. Later, NAIITE became a student of FELA KUTI, and upon the death of his father, he was taken by FELA as his Godson in a traditional ritual ceremony at the African Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria.

Not only has NAJITE been born and bred into his Nigerian and Western African cultural traditions, and subsequently been taken by FELA's massive Nigerian influence but he was also introduced to the wonders of African Diaspora culture, after relocating to Los Angeles, California. His talent still more grew working with jazz luminaries such as Horace Tapscott's Pan-African People's Orchestra, Billy Higgins and many others. Also during this period, NAJITE was privileged to contribute to the work of African artists such as Hugh Masekela, Remi Kebaka, and FELA KUTI. Other of his accomplishments in Los Angeles includes receiving prestigious awards and grants from the NAACP, the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Order now, the CD of NAJITE called"Africa Before Invasion". A success combining the funky style of the founder of Afro beat, FELA KUTI and jazz.

Source


Son of an Urhobo tribal chieftan, NAJITE Agindotan is an amazing drummer who, from a very young age, traveled with the Urhobo cultural music troupe under his father's direction. They traveled throughout West Africa and performed at national festivals in Nigeria, their native country. Fervent participant, NAJITE took part in all kinds of cultural activities such as theater performances, traditional dancing and drumming.

In his early teens, NAJITE was introduced to the internationally Nigerian superstar FELA KUTI and his new music called AFROBEAT, a very potent combination of popular Nigerian dance styles layered with funk guitars and an Africanized reinterpretation of the arrangements pioneered by James Brown. Later, NAIITE became a student of FELA KUTI, and upon the death of his father, he was taken by FELA as his Godson in a traditional ritual ceremony at the African Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria.
Not only has NAJITE been born and bred into his Nigerian and Western African cultural traditions, and subsequently been taken by FELA's massive Nigerian influence but he was also introduced to the wonders of African Diaspora culture, after relocating to Los Angeles, California. His talent still more grew working with jazz luminaries such as Horace Tapscott's Pan-African People's Orchestra, Billy Higgins and many others. Also during this period, NAJITE was privileged to contribute to the work of African artists such as Hugh Masekela, Remi Kebaka, and FELA KUTI. Other of his accomplishments in Los Angeles includes receiving prestigious awards and grants from the NAACP, the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Source


As many western listeners have discovered through groups like the Antibalas Orchestra , Nigerian pop star Fela Kuti's 1970's invention called Afro-beat is anything but dead. Fela started out as a jazz player, branching out to highlife as a natural extension of this music—since it represented direct fusion between West African traditions and the rhythms, instruments, and styles of the New World (especially jazz). Highlife paid the bills, and when Fela Kuti brought funk into the mix, his music reached new heights. Suddenly he rocketed to stardom. Millions of listeners followed his every move.

Enter Najite. The drummer played congas with Fela, absorbing his musical approach and the specific ways in which it could be realized. On this disc, the latest of his recordings (which for the most part are unavailable in the U.S.), the Nigerian percussionist steps forward to lead his own ensemble. His music draws much more heavily from jazz than its predecessors, which renders it particularly accessible to listeners familiar with the New World improvisational tradition. Najite is quite direct about his heritage: "If you love Africa, raise up your hands!" (Hint: check out the record's title, which is quite ironic relative to the stew of styles here.)

His group comprises 17 musicians, including four drummers. It's tight, flexible, and downright funky. The second tune, "Lasisi," takes an undulating beat, stringing it between dramatic horn heads and around solos by various instrumentalists, including—most notably—pianist Nate Morgan. Morgan travels eagerly through constantly evolving chordal voicings around a flowing theme. Najite himself goes out to lead percussionists and vocalists on the talking drum, a relatively unusual event in the old- school style. Rather than evoking all the myriad "syllables" of the instrument's flexible language, he directs it toward pitches and sonorities that reinforce the piece's theme.

The leader is not at all afraid to pursue the blend of cross-cultural traditions that have defined West African popular music for decades. "Honesty" starts out with a minor theme reminiscent of East Asian music, heading into a festive Caribbean rhythm. Its extended lilt supports an unusually jazzy evocation of beach-side abandon, with the kind of interlaced West African drumming that practically begs the listener to get up and dance. Don't mind, your mother isn't watching.

Whatever the intricate details of this recording, it's all about dance in the end. The five extended pieces on Africa Before Invasion range from seven to eleven minutes, allowing musicians and listeners alike to stretch out. No need to dwell on the lyrics—just dig the jam.





Tracklist

1. Showtime
2. Lasisi
3. Honesty
4. Aorieo
5. A.B.I.

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