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Osibisa
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  • Osibisa: Wendell Richardson (vocals, guitar); Teddy Osei (vocals, tenor saxophone, flute, african drums); Loughty Laisisi Amao (tenor & baritone saxophones, congas); Mac Tontoh (trumpet, flugelhorn, kabasa); Robert Bailey (piano, organ, timbales); Spartacus (bass guitar, percussion); Sol Amarfio (drums).
  • Recorded at Air Studios, London, England.
  • Osibisa's self-titled album opened up their unique blend of African and Western styled music to a wider audience, charting in both the U.S. and Europe. Produced by Tony Visconti, Osibisa's extraordinary merger of African drum beats, colorful rhythms, and rock-inspired keyboard and horn parts give it an expansive sound that infuses countless musical influences. Even the melodies take bits of rhythm & blues and modern rock and affix them to the accompanying percussion beats to come up with a contemporary feel with an avant-garde atmosphere. Tracks such as "Dawn," "Phallus C," and "Oranges" incorporate fragments of traditional jazz and jazz fusion mainly because of the flute and saxophone into their core, but then fashions the result to resemble the band's true heritage. Each song conjures up a certain African mysticism with its stressed rhythms and semi-primordial tempos. The most impressive track, "Music for Gong Gong," became a minor hit in the U.K. thanks to the well- balanced vocal charge and the beauty that's felt in the shingled layers of guitar, organ, and drum work. In both "Ayiko Bia" and "Akwaaba," Osibisa's Ghanian and Nigerian roots come alive through the use of the flute, flugelhorn, and trumpet -- not exactly the traditional instruments of West Africa, but they are transformed and molded to take on the band's fundamental sound. What may be the most predominant aspect about Osibisa is that the vast blend of instruments and the playful lyrics inject just enough of a modern element into the album that it's properly kept from being labeled as world music or as new age. ~ Mike DeGagne
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