Africa Abroad

Twelve years ago, Masters at Work reignited interest in all things Nigeria when the musical duo released “Tribute to Fela,” featuring material from a cover of the Afrobeat icon’s 1975 song, “Expensive Sh*t.” Newcomer Wunmi provided striking lead vocals in an expressive performance that made dance music producers in London and Berlin take notice. She's been busy recording ever since. The former Soul II Soul dancer, born Ibiwunmi Omotayo Olufunke Felicity Olaiya, has lived in Nigeria and her birth city of London, but mostly calls New York City home. In addition to working with house legends Kenny Dope and Louie Vega (aka the Masters), she collaborated with King Britt and Osunlade as well as London’s Bugz in the Attic crew on a clubby rendition of Fela’s “Zombie.” Wunmi’s magnetism is rooted in her independence; she cuts a mean figure on the dancefloor and stage, with her intricately braided hair and self-designed colorful layered clothes. In 2007, she released her debut solo album, A.L.A. (Africans Living Abroad); last year she began a direct appeal campaign through creative funding Web site Kickstarter to raise money for a recording project and volunteer work in Ghana. In a video message on the site, she explains how her dream to was to record in Africa. Her fans responded by pledging more than $17,000.
Fri., May 14, 9:30 p.m., 2010

 
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