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William Onyeabor

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Nigeria (1978 – 1985)

Born out of the heat of Nigeria’s 1970s scene, William Onyeabor is a pioneer who self-released eight nearly impossible-to-find albums between 1978 and 1985 in South-Eastern Nigeria, and then became a Born-Again Christian, refusing to ever speak about himself or his music again.

William Onyeabor studied cinematography in Russia for many years, returning to Nigeria in the mid-70s to start his own Wilfilms music label and to set up a music and film production studio. He recorded a number of hit songs in Nigeria during the 70s, the biggest of which was Atomic Bomb in 1978. William has now been crowned a High Chief in Enugu, where he lives today as a successful businessman working on government contracts and running his own flour mill.

Only recently musicians and audiences have been waking up to Onyeabor’s formidable force, after Luaka Bop, the label founded by David Byrne, tracked down the man – a process which took about five years – and released one of the most acclaimed reissues of 2013, World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who Is William Onyeabor?

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