Funk Throughout The Diaspora

History of Funk

Originating in the mid-1960s, funk was a fusion of soul, jazz, R&B, and African grooves. It was a new rhythmic form of music that transcended time and our countries borders. The main instruments in funk were the bass, electric guitar, drums, bass, keyboards, and vocals. Grooves were created by centering basslines played on a bass. It creates a sense of rhythmic movement. In America, James Brown and George Clinton became some of the biggest names in the world of funk music. James Brown coined the name “Godfather of Funk” due to his contributions to the genre. His song “Cold Sweat” was a huge hit that began his transition from soul to funk. George Clinton aka “Dr. Funkenstein” was another influential funk artist. He incorporated synthesizers, electric guitars, and experimented with multiple sounds. His songs gave a futuristic funky feel. Although the funk genre was dominated by African American artists, throughout the diaspora funk gained popularity as well.

Nigeria: The Funkees

The Funkees was a funk band created in the late 1960s in Nkweree Nigeria during the end of the Nigerian Civil War. This Nigerian funk group specialized in upbeat, Afro-rock sounds. Their beginning productions upheld Igbo traditions. They sang in the Igbo language and became a source of pride for the Igbo people. Including instruments like the guitar, gong, organ, bass, bongos, and vocal. The Funkees were able to unite and uplift Nigeria after a dreadful war. They inspired people to feel the rhythm, dance, and enjoy the present moment. (let go of the past) Despite disbanding a few years after their debut, the Funkees inspired their generation and reestablish Igbo pride after the Nigerian Civil War.

Burkina Faso: Mamo Lagbema

Although there isn’t much information on Mamo Lagbema. We know that Mamo Lagbema is an important figure in Burkina Faso’s funk music scene. Mamo Lagbema primarily sings in his countries native language; French. His music is inspired by James Brown. His songs incorporate traditional African instruments and give off a Caribbean feel as well as incorporating jazz/techno elements. Despite being seas away music truly unites the African Diaspora.

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