Published Sep 16, 2016This triple-album mines deep cuts from the Nigerian disco-soul era in the 1970s. The American influences are inescapable, as is the passion that seeps into this comprehensive array of singles that blend Afro-funk with James Brown-styled sensibilities. Christy Essien effortlessly captures an early '70s "Think (About) It" Lyn Collins vibe on "You Can' Change a Man," "Afrikana Disco" lives up to its title — "Boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie-down!" — and the flute intro on Joni Haastrup's "Greetings" is abundantly funky on the soul orchestra tip. "
Wake Up Africa" rides a swaggering bass line as it delivers its simple yet powerful message, while "Mr. Been To" by Arakatula — "Welcome to your home, your motherland" — funkily examines expat life. Unfortunately, the localized flair of "Soul Fever" barely hangs together as it pays homage to the disco sound, but it's the sole weak spot on the project. The album ultimately brings to light funk sounds from Western Africa that might have otherwise gone overlooked; it's a wealth of underrated groovy delights. (Soul Jazz)