What do you get when you put together San Francisco Bay Area rare-groove musicologist/musicians with a West African musical master, whose resume includes playing/recording in such seminal Nigerian afrobeat and highlife acts as Sonny Okosuns & Ozziddi and OJ Ekemode? You get LAGOS ROOTS! Each member of Lagos Roots is a seasoned artist with reputations worthy of individual praise. And together, they are receiving it, capturing the hearts of world music and funky break-beat lovers with their ability to draw out an authentic and contagious afrobeat sound!
Fronted by Geoffrey Omadhebo (Sonny Okosuns, OJ Ekemode), this 17-piece afrobeat ensemble brings it back to the root: straight to 1970’s West Africa. Unfiltered, deeply-grooved and intense Nigerian Afrobeat – tribal funk rhythms keeping you dialed-in on the dance floor and sweating to the music of the Kalakuta Republic. The band's performances feature a healthy blend of Fela Kuti’s Afrika 70 classic repertoire along with Omadhebo's own politically-charged compositions.
Based in Oakland, California, Lagos Roots has emerged from a long held dream to put together a band of original master musicians with members of the new afrobeat generation. In this way, the band represents an important step in the evolution of the style of Nigerian afrobeat once imagined by Fela Kuti & the Afrika 70. In classic afrobeat fashion, the band’s tunes speak for themselves –- giving a sharp reminder to audiences of this music’s ability to fuse controversial themes with propulsive rhythms -- and they are driven home with dynamic, provocative and explosive stage performances.
At its inception in 2010, Lagos Roots was centered around a core group of musicians whose pedigrees literally defined the afrobeat genre. In addition to band leader, Omadhebo, who began his career in early 1970's Lagos, Nigeria (singing, playing drums and recording hits with Sonny Okosuns, Wrinkars Experience, One World and OJ Ekemode’s Nigerian Allstars), these original core members included Tutu Shorunmu (guitar, Afrika 70, Segun Bucknor), Christy Agbe (vocals, Afrika 70), Friday Jumbo (congas, Afrika 70, Monomono) and Babatunde Williams (trumpet, Koola Lobitos, Afrika 70, Manu Dibango). The group was rounded out then (as now) by a group of dedicated San Francisco Bay Area musicians, all steeped (via osmosis) in the rich musical heritage of West Africa.
The Lagos Roots of 2014 showcases Geoffrey Omadhebo as the principal torchbearer and direct musical link to the fabled 70’s Nigerian music scene. Along with Geoffrey, the 16 additional members who comprise the rhythm section, horn section, background vocalists and dance performers of today’s Lagos Roots, combine their collective study and expertise of West African music to put forth an experience, perhaps best described by local music aficionado and co-owner of Oakland's New Parish Music Hall, Michael O’Connor, as "simply, one of the best Afrobeat bands I've ever seen."
Lagos Roots brings an extraordinary assemblage to the stage – combining Omadhebo’s authentic, over-the-top vocal delivery with infectious call-and-response choruses, intricately-locked guitar lines, authentic afro-funk vintage keyboards, massive horn-blasted melodies and backgrounds, and a driving/groove-obsessed trap drum and percussion section.
Do yourself a favor: go see LAGOS ROOTS!
Everybody say YEAH YEAH!