Tomorrow night in London, the Barbican theatre will host Atomic Bomb: Who Is William Onyeabor? A chance for the likes of Damon Albarn, Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor, Ghostpoet and Money Mark to pay tribute to the cult Nigerian artist whose futuristic pop music might have foretold the arrival of synth-pop, had it been heard in Europe in the 1970s. Instead, Onyeabor's music remained unknown outside of Nigeria and a few particularly committed crate-diggers until Luaka Bop released a compilation of his work last year, entitled Who Is William Onyeabor? It was voted last year’s second-best reissue (after Dylan’s Another Self Portrait – no disgrace there) in MOJO magazine.
These days, Onyeabor is a born-again Christian whose refusal to talk about the past inadvertently preserves his mystique, as you will see in this excellent documentary by Jake Sumner entitled – after one of his most cracking songs – Fantastic Man.