Toby Foyeh & Orchesta Africa

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Toby Foyeh & Orchesta Africa

Often when Americans think of Africa, they envision a land stricken with warfare and famine. If they ever consider its native music, they imagine traditional drum-and-dance displays that have changed little over hundreds of years. Toby Foyeh provides listeners with a more accurate portrayal of Nigerian life. In his lyrics, he celebrates all that's great about his homeland -- its amazing resources, both cultural and natural -- without glossing over its problem areas. In his songs, Foyeh, a self-taught musician who received further instruction at Howard University and Berklee College of Music, explores contemporary themes (in jazz, pop and rock) with African instruments such as the gangan (talking drum) and kalimba (thumb piano). Cheery accents from keyboards and synthesizers keep these complex compositions upbeat and danceable. Foyeh sings with his call-and-response-style chorus, some of whom dress in traditional costumes and perform largely improvised dance routines. It's a highly entertaining show that should leave witnesses with freshly updated, completely positive impressions of African music.

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