In this Nigerian / British invasion in serious progress on the world stages, Obongjayar (aka Steven Umoh) seems to evolve off track. Neither afrobeat nor afrobeats in the program (or so few), this guy wanders elsewhere and makes his trace… so let’s follow this trace on these 12 songs of an album released in May 2022 : Some Nights I Dream of Doors. His ashen voice flies over an inspired, universal synth-pop or even art-pop, certainly of African descent during certain sequences but also drawing on non-ethnic world resources in terms of composition, keyboard and modular synth arrangements, beatmaking, saxophone and more. Now living in the UK, he uses processes not common in Africa, which is no guarantee of success, but Obongjayar proves to be a very good melodist as well as a solid lyricist and above all, a free artist. Imaginative, diversified, adventurous, his compositions sometimes carry loads of a beautiful complexity and, especially, all stand out from the first measures. It is pleasing to see such artists emerge from urban Africa (Calabar, in this case), which demonstrates the depth of what has been achieved and what is to come. To be discovered on stage (Rio Tinto) without paying a single penny, on July 6 at the FIJM.
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