The Nigeria-UK connection has given us some of the greatest musical talents of modern music; while Shirley Bassey and Sade became more of national symbols, legendary performers ranging from Seal to grime icons like Skepta and Dizzee Rascal alongside modern innovators like Little Simz, and Obongjayar have really upheld London’s reputation as an incomparable centerpiece of cultural crossroads. But of course, they’re not the only ones.
For instance, there’s also Leke Awoyinka, better known by his creative handle Ekiti Sound. Stemming from a childhood split between Lagos and Essex, this producer-vocalist just launched his eponymous “Ekiti Sound Show” on Hot FM Lagos – which as of now is the sole electronic music specialty show on Nigerian terrestrial radio. Ekiti Sound’s own style also reflects those cross-country pollinations with electronic-anchored junctions of Afro-juju, Afro-pop, the foggy UK mish-mash jungle/DnB/dubstep, as well as turn-of-the-millennium hip-hop, and Caribbean dancehall. Ekiti Sound first caught ears internationally with his bold foray into Afro-fusion on 2019’s Abeg No Vex, a near-hour-long full-length that lent itself to critical acclaim and a remix EP the following year – Ekiti Sound’s final pre-pandemic studio output.
Friday after next, Ekiti Sound drops his long-anticipated sophomore LP Drum Money. On top of circulating a much-needed fresh batch of percussive currency, Drum Money and its immense seventeen-song track live up to Ekiti Sound’s legacy of bridging the globe’s very best sounds through unorthodox yet accessible originals. For Westerners, it’s nothing short of exotic. For Awoyinka though, it’s just another passage through the transcontinental pipeline that is life between London and Lagos. And although Drum Money lacks some of the explicitly UK-derived grit of Abeg No Vex, it compensates with semi-placeless arrangements, somehow steeped in specific Nigerian regional soundscapes yet simultaneously fitting for party playlists across the globe. Hear for yourself on one of Drum Money‘s more subdued offerings, which follows “Chairman” from this past March. With a grime-inspired stop-and-start 808 beat, a vibrant blend of traditional and digital instruments, and truly untethered vocals, “Mami Wata” perfectly encapsulates Ekiti Sound’s worldly eclecticism and borderless genius in just over four minutes.