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William Onyeabor: one of music’s most insoluble puzzles to the end | Musique Non Stop

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

William Onyeabor: one of music’s most insoluble puzzles to the end

Who was William Onyeabor? The mysterious and reclusive Nigerian synthesizer whiz, who has died aged 70, seems to have existed out of time and in a world of his own imagination

William Onyeabor, the Nigerian musician who died in his sleep on Monday at the age of 70, was the recluse’s recluse. For someone like Sixto Rodriguez, subject of the documentary Searching for Sugarman, belated cult stardom was both a vindication and a second chance. But for Onyeabor, growing interest in the music he released during the 70s and 80s cut little ice. Requiring neither money nor attention, he declined to promote Who is William Onyeabor?, the 2013 compilation released on the Luaka Bop label. It says a great deal about his popularity with musicians that the mutating supergroup that toured in his place featured the likes of David Byrne, Damon Albarn, Blood Orange and Hot Chip. Thanks to fans like these, Onyeabor achieved the almost impossible: he experienced a successful comeback with his enigma intact, and without lifting a finger.

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by Dorian Lynskey via Electronic music | The Guardian