Who is William Onyeabor?

A Nigerian pioneer of electronic music, is the short answer. But also an extremely mysterious man, who eschews the limelight despite having been a bona fide pop star in Nigeria in the late Seventies and early Eighties.

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The style of Moog-driven psychedelic pop-funk that he created was eventually appreciated by Western ears in the late Nineties and came to be compiled and re-released as recently as 2013.

That compilation album promptly became one of Time Magazine’s Top Ten Albums of the Year. This 30-minute movie, Fantastic Man, is an attempt to investigate who William Onyeabor is, and ultimately to track him down in his hometown of Enugu, Nigeria.

Though still borderline reclusive, he’s doing quite well for himself. This post maintains that he’s a businessman who runs his own flour mill. But what makes him so compelling is the techno music he was able to create, almost singlehandedly using technology and a vision that was almost ahead of his time…

Writer for television, print and digital, corporate and editorial. Editor and writer of books. Musical performance, spoken word as Inspector Ras. Guitar/vocals for The Near Misses, (Worst Band In JoburgTM). The last whitey at umsebenzi. Latest book 415 Action-Packed Neighbourhood Marketing Tips with Basil O'Hagan, out now. @hagenengler

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