Afrobeat king gains special place in SA

Gugu Sibiya

Gugu Sibiya

Gallo Record Company has signed Nigeria's Afrobeat king, Lagbaja, pictured, and in doing so has landed itself a big fish.

The contract means Gallo will release Lagbaja's coming album, Africano - The Mother of Groove .

A Nigerian Afrobeat phenomenon, Lagbaja is a star whose music is so involved it borders on the spiritual. He happily shared his enormous talent while keeping his identity secret.

A spellbinding performer, the artist wears a mask that covers his face.

Lagbaja is a Yoruba word for somebody, nobody, anybody or everybody. It perfectly depicts the anonymity of the so-called "common man".

The mask and name symbolise the faceless and the voiceless in the society, particularly in Africa.

His performances in this country - at the Sandton Convention Centre in 2003 - have evoked considerable admiration and interest in his prowess on stage.

Jazz lovers were once again fortunate to see the amazing Lagbaja on the Joy of Jazz Mbira stage.

By the time his set came to an end, the audience was clamouring for more of the cleansing performance.

He boasts a niche market locally, and South Africans will now easily access his albums thanks to the new deal signed with Gallo.