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Apr 18, 2015
8 p.m.

United States

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"Lágbájá is a true original and an under-recognized force in West African music." -Banning Eyre, Afropop Worldwide.

A chorus of African drums establish the rhythmic entrance for the band, the pounding beat yields to a plaintive voice calling out over the punctuation of the percussion, and eventually a statuesque and provocative figure appears dressed in traditional Yoruba attire, his face is shrouded by a colorful mask. He is Lágbájá, (the masked one) the creative and musical force behind the band and one of Nigeria’s most popular contemporary artists. Standing 6'5", he creates a formidable presence wherever he goes, and is one of the most recognized and beloved figures on the musical scene in Nigeria today. However, he is not just a musician, but a true Renaissance man, an activist on political and social themes, a software developer, and a celebrity who has appeared on national TV shows such as Project Fame, and X-Factor West Africa where he served as a mentor to aspiring young artists.

With a collection of 10 musicians and crew, this most popular band from West Africa will make its first appearance in the US since 2006. They will perform some 20 different concerts across the US including some premier international festivals including: New Orleans Jazz Festival, Festival International de Louisiane (Lafayette), and Lake Arts Festival in Black Mountain, NC. Other major appearances include Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids, Atlanta, New York and Washington DC. The band has performed not only in the US and Canada but internationally in Europe, South America, and across Africa. They have also shared the stage with such distinguished names as George Benson, Salif Keita, Papa Wemba, Youssou N’Dour, Earl Klugh and Hugh Masekela.

Lágbájá is a Yoruba word that means somebody, nobody, anybody or everybody. It perfectly depicts the anonymity of the so called "common man." The omnipresent mask and the name symbolize the faceless, the voiceless in the society, particularly in Africa. Once you see Lágbájá’s mask you are reminded of your own facelessness. While the appearance of the band and the presence of traditional instruments might make one think that this band is something of a museum piece, nothing could be further from the truth. The music of Lágbájá incorporates what he likes to refer to as "Africano" music, emphasizing the interplay of traditional African drums and Western instruments which create a unique and enchanting soundscape. His music is a product of various influences ranging from traditional Yoruba music to Jazz. This Africano music incorporates the many iterations of African music across the diaspora including blues, jazz, calypso, funk, and hip-hop.

In additional to composing music for his band, this musical pioneer has also developed software that brings the African talking drum to the digital world. In a bid to share his African grooves with the rest of the world and make African rhythms understandable and accessible to everyone, Lágbájá has developed and produced the first ever comprehensive digital library of "drag and drop" Yoruba grooves he calls "Africano Manchine." An artistic marriage of man and machine, Africano Manchine works seamlessly with popular Digital Audio Workstations such as Ableton Live and Pro Tools and plays a major role in his newly pioneered Elektro Groove Music (EGM).

But perhaps the most important part of Lágbájá’s work is on the socio-political scene in Nigeria. As an activist performer, he has been inspired by the legacy left by the late Fela Kuti a human rights activitist and political maverick who used his music to speak out against injustices in Nigerian society.

While the artist may appear to be a complicated and complex individual, he insists that he is (as his name implies) just a regular guy like any other "common man" on the street. But he suggests that without a doubt, the best way to understand his message is to hear the music and see the band appear live. North American audiences will finally that opportunity once again beginning April 18 at Miller Outdoor Theatre, when Somebody/Nobody/Anybody/Everybody returns to the US.

"Lágbájá is widely considered to be one of Nigeria's most exciting and interesting contemporary artists. Combining sophisticated compositions with a dynamic stage show and enigmatic personality, he is the current rage in Nigeria, in constant demand for live performance and ubiquitous on the airwaves." -World Music Central. 

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30am-1pm. If tickets remain at 1pm, the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Presented by Miller Outdoor Theatre.

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