On Sunday 26th May, The Indigo2, North Greenwich, played host to Choice Fm’s DJ Abrantee’s Afrobeat night ‘Afrobeat Sundays’ with live performances from Joey-B (Strawberry Ginger), D-Black (Oh Vera) and other UK Afrobeat Djs; following the success of the sold out Christmas Special.
We arrived at the night around 11pm to a bustling crowd getting down to some classic RnB and Hiphop (thinking ‘hello? where are the Afrobeats?’). At around midnight the live performances started, with Ghanaian acts Joey-B and D-Black only doing their sets after 1am. The performances were smooth and well rehearsed with DJ Abrantee regularly coming on stage to speak to the crowd and introduce the next artist who had flown in from Africa especially for the night. Great Azonto dancers accompanied the singers – were they from the London Azonto all-stars?
‘Strawberry Ginger’ (featuring D-Black and E.L.) has been a massive hit for Black Avenue Muzik act Joey B. Joey B only came onto the scene recently after featuring as an unsigned artists on D-Black’s hit tune ‘Oh Vera’. Black Avenue Muzik signed him in a matter of months. His new Azonto beat single ‘Benedicta’ is out soon – will he stand alone in the charts without D-Black? Only time will tell.
D-Black performed his 2012 hit azonto tune ‘oh Vera’ (which stands for ‘very enormous round ass’) alongside Joey B. For those of you unfamiliar with Ghanaian artist D-Black (aka Desmond Kwesi Blackmore) MTV BASE have crowned him king of GH-rap and an African Hip Hop star.
The first mainstream afrobeat / azonto tune that entered the UK charts was ‘Oliver Twist’ by D’Banj )aka Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo) the Nigerian singer-songwriter, back in Spring 2012. Since that song came out we’ve seen azonto become the new urban dance craze in London and the ‘London Azonto Allstars’ appear on the scene with their part 1 and part 2 videos. Around the same time British artist (of Ghanaian descent) Fuse ODG released his track entitled ‘Azonto’, further embedding the dance into the UK scene with (slightly cringeworthy) ‘step by step’ scenes to show you how to Azonto!
5 months ago Fuse ODG brought out their new remix of ‘Antenna’ featuring Wyclef Jean (check our earlier post here). This tune is properly propelling the afrobeat genre into the mainstream. The tune has a London feel about it and with international artists Wyclef Jean onboard it has managed to diffuse the Ghanaian / Azonto / Afrobeat vibe into a track that already mainstream Radio 1 Dj’s are raving about. D’Banj’s ‘Oliver Twist’ was definitely not met on this level by chart followers.
DJ Abrantee Very much made the night feel like it was an event for Africans in London – and not for those who appreciated African influenced music. There were numerous shout outs to people in the crowd from African Nations – but no real love for Brits who were there purely for the love of the tunes; which was disappointing considering the night was in London and not Africa! Dj Abrantee also has his own Afrobeat compilation Album out (available on Itunes) off the back of the branding for his Afrobeat Sundays club nights – but after attending the night, the album now sounds like a diffused version of the original music and less authentic. Somehow the album didn’t quite match the night’s ‘world music’ vibe, but looking at them as separate entities – both deserve credit in their own right.
- Afrobeats Sundays – DJ Abrantee – do it (whenmiparty.com)
- BLAST THIS – Fuse ODG – Antenna Ft. Wyclef Jean & add London’s top African beats to your Summer Playlist (whenmiparty.com)
- New band of the day (Fuse ODG No 1,517) (guardian.co.uk)