DELE SOSIMI – THE AFROBEAT AMBASSADOR
Dele Sosimi has been busy. No surprise for the ‘afrobeat ambassador’ and former keyboard player for Fela Kuti’s Egypt 80. Born in Hackney, East London, in 1963 Bamidele Olatunbosun Sosimi soon returned to his parents’ native Nigeria at the age of four. Raised in Lagos Sosimi grew as musician in Fela Kuti’s shadow, soon becoming Musical Director of Fela’s legendary Egypt 80.
Fela was imprisoned in 1984, and Sosimi together with his long childhood and school friend Femi, Fela’s son, had no choice but to take over and lead the band temporarily. He was the rhythm keyboard player for Fela and his contribution and arranging skills can be heard in, among others, International Thief Thief, Army Arrangement or MOP 1 (Movement of the People).
In 1986 Dele and Femi left Egypt 80 to form their own band called Femi Anikulapo-Kuti and the Positive Force of which Dele was the musical director and bandleader. His close collaboration with Femi resulted in the albums No Cause for Alarm and Mind Your Business.
In 1995 Dele left the band and moved to London. At this time Dele was developing his other interests and musical influences of jazz, funk, latin music and deepening the Yoruba rhythm of the Afrobeat tradition. Following his first solo album Turbulent Times, Dele was, among other projects and collaborations, the producer of the impressive album Calabash Vol.1: Afrobeat Poems by Ikwunga (featured as Vinyl of the Week Vol.27), also Co-produced by Dele’s long time collaborator and friend Femi Elias, whose Bass, as Dele put it, always growls, twists, turns, pulsates & grooves. Sosimi collaborates with a group of musicians that give Afrobeat a virtuoso treatment.
Released in 2015 You No Fit Touch Am represents where Dele is today. The album provides a musical representation of Dele’s strong socio-political opinions, as well as delivering classic song-writing that could have come straight out of 1970s Lagos!