Electro-funk pioneer William Onyeabor dies aged 70

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

Synth funk musician and pioneer William Onyeabor has died at the age of 70 at his home in Enugu, Nigeria. According to a statement released nu David Byrne’s record label Luaka Bop, the artist died peacefully in his sleep on January 16th at his home following a short illness. The statement describes Onyeabor as “the great Nigerian business leader and mythic music pioneer”.

Over the course of his career, Onyeabor composed and self-released nine albums, which he recorded, pressed and printed at own pressing plan, Wilfilms Limited. Starting his career in 1977, Onyeabor was given the honorary title justice of the peace in the 1980s. He became president of Enugu’s Musicians’ Union as well as chairman of the city’s local football team in the early 90s.

More recently, Onyeabor released a best of album in 2013 entitled Who Is William Onyeabor? In 2014, a documentary entitled Fantastic Man (the name of one of Onyeabor’s biggest hits) was released. He is survived by his wife, four children and four grandchildren.


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