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Osibisa

Biography

Osibisa were among the first Afro-Pop bands to cross over to European and American audiences in the early 1970s. The band's members, hailing from Ghana and the Caribbean, came together in London and quickly made an impression on the university circuit. Mixing African, Caribbean, soul and rock elements into a fiery musical inferno that helped define the term "Afro-rock," they continually packed London dancefloors, thanks in no small part to a strong rhythm section that includes a standard drum kit, African drums/percussion, Cuban timbales and funky bass and organ. The group embellished the sound with jazzy brass and flute, while the fact that they sang mostly in English undoubtedly helped them cross over to non-African audiences. While Fela Kuti was singing about the serious issues, Osibisa -- which means "happiness" in the Akan language -- simply wanted to party. But that didn't mean the group would compromise its musical ideals: at the dawn of the 1980s, pressure increased on Osibisa to make concessions to disco's growing popularity. Bowing to the changing marketplace, the group took a hiatus through much of the '80s and '90s, reforming in 1996 under Teddy Osei's leadership. The band continues to tour and record, pumping out a vital mix of jazz, highlife, soul and rock.
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