If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching a master at his craft, then you need to check out this performance by Burna boy in a closed session jam for NPR, Kai I jealous dem oh! I am even more pissed as this is in my backyard and I could possibly have been there live and direct to enjoy this wonderful jam session. I will be honest, until very recently, I had only heard one or two Burna Boy tracks and I wondered nah who be dis guy sef? We know D’banj, 2Baba, P Square (abi nah Rudeboy & Mr P) Even Wizkid and Patoranking, but Burna boy, nah who de boy wan burn sef…? Well apparently he plans to burn up the entire planet with Afro-Fusion and he is doing a great job at it, with collbo’s with none other than Beyonce!
Burna Boy is currently widely known as Naija’s most popular artist, (btw the way how about a shout out to Naija for its unending ability to turn out great artists, one after another and another eh! Burna Boy, WizKid, Davido, Flavour, Patoranking, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, and my upcoming guy, M-Josh…I didn’t even get to Phyno, Timaya, Don jazzy, Wale (yes he is owa own as well oh…) Kai! We are too much wahlahi…
Oh wait as I was saying, what was I saying again, oh Burna Boy at NPR, this is likely to become a classic jam session as the years roll on. What I love in this clip is the showcasing of the raw talent of an artist. In today’s high technology world we know how much technology is used to enhance an artists' talent. The short jam session at the NPR studios with a small super cool live band and REAL Naija woman backup singer was simple a joy to watch and listen to, but dat Burn bling, nah wah oh, more on dat one later...
One aspect of his music that must be acknowledged is his true embrace of Baba 70’s style and even some similar lyrics, vibes from the originator of Afroabeat. In several of his songs, like Ye, he pays homage to the great and timeless Fela Kuti as his lyrics sample the style of one of his classic songs, Sorrow Tears and Blood. One must give maximum Gbosa to the back up band as well, who appear to be called The Outsiders. The band is truly in sync with their artist as you can see several of them mouthing the lyrics along with Burna Boy, by the way, naturally the coolest guy in the band is the bass guitar player (bass guys are always the coolest in any band take my word for it go and sheck it!) It was really nice to be able to watch a band excel at their craft devoid of all the crazy stage mede mede like stage lights, flashing effects and artificial smoke and more! Watching them reminds me of how cool The Roots always look on stage on The Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon.
Back to Burna, here we see in this short jam session an artist that truly loves and embraces his craft, notice he never has to consult any notepad, iPad or other notes to remind himself of his lyrics and what track he moves into next, he just flows right through and notice the band flows along with him, this is an indication this is an artist who WORKS HARD to excel at what he does, so much so that in a small live jam session he obviously took this serious enough to have had rehearsals with his band and the result is an apparently effortless smooth sweet delivery of Naija beats.
Then there is the music itself, I find myself really enjoying and jamming to this fusion of Afrobeat, so many Fela attributes, jazz and R&B all mixed into a really cool, super sweet set of jams, all overlaid by the smooth voice of a Naija man singing in pidgin English and other Naija languages! As he calls it, Afro-Fusion. A Naija artist singing about Aliko Dangote in an radio station in the United States too funny!
As I said above, its very interesting to me how Burna Boy manages to weave his tributes to Fela in so many of his tracks, in Dangote, you see him weaving in the influences form Fela’s “Trouble Sleep, Iyanga Go wake am…” into the song, I have said in the past, it is long past time that that Naija artists paid homage to the man who started this whole “Afrobeat” craze and genre, Baba 70. Some might see this as what is dat oyinbo word, plagiarizing…? Fa Fa fa fa fowllllll! This is a Naija artist that is happy to let the world know who his musical mentors are, acknowledge those who influenced his music. Confirming what Fela said is certainly coming true, you cannot kill him as we see through Burna Boy and so many others his music lives on.
Anyways, just to say finally, this “Tiny” Concert was a pleasure to watch, must give Kudos to NPR for inviting Burna Boy to their studios. I could go on and on about this short and sweet performance, But Maximum plus EXTRA Gbosa to Burna Boy for making all of us Naija people proud, for being a true musician, and artist who takes his music seriously, and most importantly a proud Naija man who is bringing the excellence that we know exists in Naija out for the world to see! I am sure I will be back to review his full album, Twice as tall, just released.