Friday, Sept. 25 was a jubilant evening at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC. Nigeria’s Afrobeat legend Orlando Julius, AKA O.J. Ekemode, was in town and he came with his band, the Afro Soundz, in tow. They hadn’t played together in 17 years, and the raucous New York crowd was set for a taste of their reunion.
After a fiery opening set by the Brooklyn Afrobeat collective Underground System, the crowd didn’t have to wait long for O.J. to take the stage. He regaled the audience with tales of writing tunes for people like James Brown and Hugh Masekela. One funny story was of the time James Brown told him he was “bad.” Confused, he initially didn’t understand that it was a compliment, until Brown further quipped “You’re super bad!”
The show was marvelous. Orlando and the band didn’t miss a step. With the way he was dancing and doing high kicks, you wouldn’t even think that O.J. is a septuagenarian. To say he was energetic would be an understatement. We hope he tours the U.S. again.
Many thanks to World Music Institute and Le Poisson Rouge for accommodating Afropop. It was definitely a night to remember. If you missed the show, well then, dig the photos from the show below and stay tuned for a backstage interview with Orlando by Morgan Greenstreet coming soon.
All photos by Atane Ofiaja.