Babatunde Olatunji - vocals, drums, percussion; Sikiru Adepoju - drums, talking drum; Iyalu Akanbi - vocals; Rotimi Byrd - drums, djembe; Frank Ekeh - percussion, vocals, agogo, shekere; Marija Especialze - percussion, agogo, shekere; Sanga Francis - drums, djembe; C.K. Ganyo - percussion, drums, djembe; Mickey Hart - percussion, drums; Olabisi Hunter - vocals; Sundiatta Keith - drums, djembe; Yao Tamakloe - vocals; J Vega - guitar, bass
Babatunde Olatunji came to America in the early 1960s from his native Nigeria to study medicine. While he was attending school, he formed a group made up of other African musicians living in the states as a way to curb their homesickness. Playing drum-oriented African music, the impromptu jam sessions turned into club gigs, and suddenly the music revolution taking place in the 1960s embraced what was at the time, one of the earliest examples of World Beat music.
Babatunde Olatunji abandoned his interest in medicine and became a full time musician. Between 1964 and 1967, Olatunji recorded four albums which were embraced by both music critics and fans who had an interest in other cultures and styles of music. It is reported that the albums he made in the 1960s were a huge influence on jazz icon John Coltrane. He continued recording and touring through the '70s and early '80s, playing jazz and R&B festivals, and performing at many urban events in American cities, trying to accentuate the African heritage of its citizens.
Olatunji has developed a style of African music that is not afraid to incorporate some of the more popular elements of Western music. In many of his rhythmic songs, you can hear thumping bass lines, synthesizers, and rock guitar chord patterns. His music is also highlighted by his very colorful and charismatic stage persona. Olatunji has always been about incorporating African music as a way to bridge the cultural gap between blacks and whites. On "Loyin, Loyin" he repeats the Nigerian line and encourages the audience to sing, which translates: "Your life will be as sweet as honey."
This performance was recorded at Wolfgang's, a club launched by the late concert promoter Bill Graham prior to his death in 1991. At this show, Olatunji is joined onstage by special guest Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, a long time supporter.
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