Demos Deniran & His Dynamic Africa Rhythmers - Music Prof Y.S. - solo Austin Omo - Gani Drums
1 Festac (Ariya) 2 Ojo Ro Kiletutu 3 Ole Darun / Ola O Kitan 4 Bi Igbin Fa
You want obscure Nigerian Afrobeat? Check out this slice from Demos Deniran (real name Moses Adeniran according to song credits). Little out there on him beyond a brief mention on the Nigerian Gospel Music Scene website as one of "a crop of gospel singers (who) have followed the funky path." It seems he was also active in grassroots politics through his music, as mentioned in a report on court proceedings on the corruption of Nigeria's own version of the RIAA.
Deniran passed on in 1995 but remains highly respected in Nigerian musical, political and religious circles with stars such as Sonny Okosun (who also sadly passed away two months ago this weekend - find his LP Liberation on Shanachie if you can) and Ebenezer Obey coming out en masse to perform tributes to him, including recording an album called Final Race. According to this article from Nigeria, which recounts the cultural elite of Nigeria dropping like flies from all kinds of weird medical problems and no access to funds, his cause of death was due to an unspecified chronic ailment. It also includes a lot of interesting incidental info on the Festac Town (a subdivision of Lagos created around the pavillion - pictured on the back of the LP above - erected for the African Festival of Arts & Culture or FESTAC in 1977 and the home of the Nigerian 419 scam) music scene from around the time this album was recorded up until recently. Incidentally, it also highlights how just because organizations collect royalties on behalf of artists doesn't mean the artists actually see commensurate (or any) payment from the same.
In chapter 9 of the book "World Music: A Global Journey" a musician named Adesanya Adeyeye recalls "performing with Demos Deniran’s Dynamo Luko Funk group at the Western Hotel in Idi Oro, Mushin, Lagos for nine months" between graduating from the Nigerian Institute of Music in 1979 and leaving for the US in 1981 to study at Kent State. The Western Hotel is in the same neighbourhood as Fela's Kalakuta Republic and its musical pedigree stretches back to the late 50s, when it was known as the Mainland Cave Hotel. Then it was the home of Baba Eto who some insiders consider as creator of the instrument, and originator of the musical style, Agidigbo (according to Fatai Rolling Dollar, Ebenezer Obey and their record company) which was a precursor of Juju and Highlife.
As far as a discography goes, all I can tell you is Demos has at least one other LP on the "Leader" label in Nigeria (it's for sale here). There isn't any info on the Ramsom Folly Melody Tones label out there at all, and the comapanies involved in recording, printing and distributing this LP have long since packed it in. I picked this up at Recordland in cowtown back in the late 80s and don't know how it got there but it hasn't been played much, so I figure it was likely an attendee of FESTAC (it ws a major African cultural event) or someone who had travelled to Nigeria. The afro section in Recordland at this time was about 8 LPs and the rest were all african Fela pressings so it seems likely they were the purchases of a tourist.
The LP seems to be made up of takes from multiple session with side one having a much cleaner sound than side two. Although the cover and label list three tracks for side two, there is only one track break so the mp3 file follows the same numbering. Side one is the best, with the first track being my favourite. The lyrics (printed on the back cover) are highly positive, the melody sweet and the mid-tempo rhythm hypnotic.
Exclusively available to readers of Soundological, this extremely rare Afrobeat release is waiting HERE or HERE for your discovery.