Nigeria’s Orlando Julius Ekemode to play at YAAM Berlin

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The Young African Art Market (YAAM) live venue in Berlin, Germany, will host Nigerian Afrobeat saxophonist Orlando Julius Ekemode on May 22, 2019.

Ekemode is credited as one of the first musicians to fuse funk, jazz and rhythm and blues with Nigerian highlife to create the powerful Afrobeat sound of the 1960s. He will be backed by UK psychedelic jazz band The Heliocentrics and perform most of the compositions off his 2018 album ‘Ololufe’.

Ekemode has been performing with The Heliocentrics, a collective that has worked with DJ Shadow and Mulatu Astakte, since the release of their collaborative debut album ‘Jaiyede Afro’ in 2014.

Event organiser Philip Leisenberg told Music In Africa that Ekemode’s collaborative efforts with The Heliocentrics had proven to be one of the most successful progressive Afrobeat projects in the history of the genre.

“I have been following Orlando Julius for a couple of years now,” Leisenberg said. “He is a very versatile musician. I love his very early highlife recordings as well as the disco releases that were released in the late ’70s and early ’80s.”

“His latest collaboration with The Heliocentrics is just stunning. In Jaiyede Afro he goes back to his musical roots combined with the heavy sound of the band. It’s an excellent record and a great live Afrobeat experience.”

Leisenberg previously told Music In Africa that African artists, especially those from West Africa, were hugely popular with the European music market. He mentioned that “due to the new interest towards music from the African continent, it’s becoming easier to promote musicians, bands and projects from Africa.”

“More and more people, especially the younger crowds, are attracted by the diversity of the music from the continent. Berlin is so far known more as a city for electronic music, but I predict this will end soon,” he said.

YAAM has already hosted Eric Wainaina (Kenya), Otim Alpha (Uganda), Bamba Pana & Makaveli (Uganda), Lindigo (Reunion) and Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 this year.

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