The Nigerian funk musician known as William Onyeabor passed away Monday at the age of 70. Apparently he died peacefully in his sleep after a small illness at his home in Enugu, Nigeria. He is known for being the pioneer of the brand of afro-funk music featured by political lyrics denounce war and oppression. From 1977-1985, the artist composed and self-released 9 albums of electronic-funk in which he recorded, pressed, and printed at Wilfilms Limited, his own personal pressing plant in southeast Nigeria. In his hometown, he is known as “The Chief” a great business man that created many opportunities for people in the surrounding community. He played an instrumental role in the community as a whole including volunteering and continuing his mission for God.
Finally after 5 long years of waiting, negotiating, and research, the release of “Who is William Onyeabor?” about his music and personal story. His story transpired as far as a film documentary “Fantastic Man” along with “Atomic Bomb! Who is William Onyeabor?” live shows travelling to most festivals and music venues. He was a very humble man and never spoke about himself much. Interestingly he is an artist that has never performed live in his entire life. After becoming a Born Again in his later years, he had turned his back on the music community.
Onyeabor’s catalog saw a new future thanks to “Who Is William Onyeabor?” a compilation album organized by Talking Heads’ David Byrnes. In support of the release, Byrne started a touring supergroup called the Atomic Bomb! Band, playing a series of concerts and music festivals. Over the course of their tours, they had appearances from Damon Albarn, Dev Hynes, Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, and LCD Soundsystem’s Pat Mahoney.