It’s tough to recall an artist or release, and particularly one who experienced their prime so long a go, that has had the same level of impact as ‘William Onyeabor‘. Released last year on Luaka Bop and despite being highly anticipated, ‘Who is William Onyeabor?’ experienced a level of feedback and enthusiasm that would have been impossible to anticipate.
Fast forward 12 months, the level of mystery surrounding the ever illusive Onyeabor can now be (at least partially) reduced thanks to a film made by the label concentrating on the the man, his music, and the efforts made to track him down. Directed by Jake Sumner, and preceded last month by a trailer (which was premiered on Noisey), ‘Fantastic Man’ launched last night at London’s Barbican Theatre. As of this morning, you can now watch the film in its entirety.
Whilst no further explanation should really be required, the impression made by the release last year can perhaps be further detailed by the artists and DJ’s providing testament to the quality of the music. In the opening sequences alone there are appearances from Damon Albarn, Dan Snaith (Daphni/Caribou) and the man responsible for so many of the very best re-issues from around the world, Duncan Brooker. There are also appearances by the likes of Femi Kuti, Strut founder Quinton Scott,Voodo Funk/Comb & Razor’s Uchenna Ikonne, and a whole host of amazing Nigerian musicians and collectors.
Everything about this film is incredible. The journeys, struggles, characters, locations, and tales involved all combine to form a really quite special adventure that has to be watched to be fully understood. The music isn’t bad either.
”William (Onyeabor) will have the last laugh, like Fela is having the last laugh… When they start we don’t understand them… but it takes time. Divine time is not human time”
Lemi Gharikowu, Artist.