Dele Sosimi – You No Fit Touch Am (Album Review)

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There’s several things that tend to be pretty much rock-solid givens for enjoyment in my musical world. Releases on Wah Wah 45s, afrobeat bands and acts that have been booked by the Priddle family (AKA Rhythmtree Promotions). Just needed to state my biased position before I tell you why you should buy this first album in 8 years from the doyen of afrobeat, Dele Sosimi.It was with great interest and excitement that I read of the signing to WW45s of Dele and his afrobeat orchestra last year having seen Dele play twice on the IOW and also knowing the Wah Wah crew well. It had beautiful friendship written all over it and so it is that You No Fit Touch Am delivers whole-heartedly.

Dele’s musical career started at just 16 years old as Fela Kuti’s keyboard player in his Egypt 80 band, a role that evolved to musical director and re-orchestrater. He continued to work with the Kuti family as he and Femi formed Positive Force in the mid-80s and Dele relentlessly to toured the world. Fast forward though to the last few years where Dele has been based in London, infecting the capital’s scene with his energy and drive as well as educating the next generation though his foundation and his lectures at LMU. When I first encountered Dele Sosimi it was at Rhythmtree 2012 as he closed the main stage with an hour of “foreplay” (his words) as his legendary sets at the Afrobeat Vibration nights last at least four hours. The following year he blew all those attending away with a two hour set of his own compositions along with Fela classics. The live show was there completely yet he needed the quality recordings to confirm his status but here they now are and we can all enjoy the energy vibrations from this belter.

E Go Better opens up the seven-track long player with intertwined guitars dancing away with horns blasting a welcome before the sax spirals into the first vocals from Dele and his backing singers, who promise positivity in the lyrics. This is a recurring theme throughout the album, as Dele demonstrates his happy renaissance and encourages us all onto better things. You can hear and imagine the smile on his face all the way through the record. That doesn’t mean afrobeat’s traditional themes of struggle and protest are put aside as he stakes his claim for office in Na My Turn – I’m voting Dele. The title track follows and is a poem to the hypnotic, dance-trance inducing qualities of afrobeat.

The low slung groover Where We Want To Be comes next with the most complex arrangement of the whole set. There is a particular crispness to the drums on I Don’t Care that keeps the groove bouncy whilst We Siddon We Dey Look has a dreamy, drifting quality exemplified by the horn solo (trombone I think??). The album closes with first single Sanctuary, a shuffling, building monster that in full album length shows other sides as opposed to the 7″ version I’ve been playing since last year.

You No Fit Touch Am was recorded and produced by Nostalgia 77 who has used analogue taping to capture the warmth and fullness of Dele’s killer band. I’ve only had the download to enjoy at the moment but I’m looking forward to getting hold of the heavyweight vinyl to spin all summer long, for this is pure festival fire! When I had the pleasure of speaking with Dele on Friday’s Headfunk Show his pride in the quality of this recording was obvious, as it should be. If you’ve seen him live you’ll not need much convincing to get this but if you have never sampled afrobeat before this is a perfect introduction.

Dele Sosimi’s You no Fit Touch Am is released on Monday 25th May by Wah Wah 45s and you can get it direct from here on vinyl/cd/download. Dele will be back on the IOW for Mondomix, bringing his CubAfrobeat project with Kishon from Lokhhi Terra down to makes us all party hard!

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