Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

OSIBISA

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Ghana


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Osibisa picture
Osibisa biography
OSIBISA means Criss-Cross rhythms that explode with happiness, and what a precise name, the first thing that anybody who listens this band admires is the fantastic rhythm section, combining drums and bass with tribal percussion instruments in a delightful way, even Uriah Heep couldn't resist the chance to add their percussion to the song Look at Yourself.

But if this was their only particularity, they wouldn't be added to Prog Archives, this group of talented African and Caribbean musicians blend African chants with Psychedelia in the most incredible and skilled way, long before the term World Music was coined, it's so well crafted that nothing sounds artificial, the music flows from start to end with joy for live and sadness of centuries of oppression and adding a spectacular show on stage.

The story of OSIBISA starts in London in 1969, when three musicians from Ghana ( Teddy Osei on the Sax, Sol Amarfio on the drums and Mac Tontoh on the trumpet); join Spartacus R from Grenada who played the bass and complemented perfectly the African percussion, Roger Bayle from Trinidad and Tobago on the keyboards and Wendel Richardson from Antigua on the lead guitar.

Very soon they found another member, Asisi Amao from Nigeria who added extra percussion plus tenor Sax. and in that moment OSIBISA was born.

During the next two years they were preparing their first album but in 1970 they released their first and very successful single: "Music for Gong Gong" that caught attention from all the world.

In 1971 they release the fantastic "Osibisa" with an extremely beautiful art cover by a young painter named Roger Dean.

From the beginning this album broke schemes, the opener "The Dawn" starts as a tribal ceremony to receive the day with complex percussion surrounded by birds and sounds you could easily listen in central Africa, but soon the vocals and instruments prove us that they were incredibly talented adding to their unique sound rooted in Ghana bands like THE STARGAZERS and THE CAT PAWS (where Sol Amarfio Teddy Osei and Marc Tontoh started their careers) to different influences that go from, Hendrix, Santana, Bob Marley, R&B, Jazz and all the British Psychedelia they listened and assimilated during the years they were in England, this capacity to blend styles supposedly incompatible is what took them close to Progressive Rock.

But my favorite song from this album is Ayko Bya, a total tribal chant with an amazing orga...
read more

OSIBISA Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to OSIBISA

Buy OSIBISA Music


OsibisaOsibisa
Remastered
REPERTOIRE 2008
$8.54
$23.14 (used)
Sunshine Day: HitsSunshine Day: Hits
Silver Star 2008
$34.12
$16.55 (used)
WoyayaWoyaya
Remastered
REPERTOIRE 2008
$13.20
$18.01 (used)
Very Best Of OsibisaVery Best Of Osibisa
Neon Netherlands 1997
$5.98
$1.74 (used)
Celebration: The Best of OsibisaCelebration: The Best of Osibisa
AIM Records
$44.98
$2.99 (used)
HeadsHeads
Repertoire 2012
$9.18
$11.01 (used)
Osibisa -  Osibisa / WoyayaOsibisa - Osibisa / Woyaya
Remastered
BGO 2015
$10.67
$10.16 (used)
Sunshine DaySunshine Day
Remastered
Sbme Castle Us 2002
$9.98 (used)
OsibirockOsibirock
One Way Records Inc 2000
$37.43 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
OSIBISA Black Magic Night Live At The Royal Festival Hall (1977) 2xCD album NEW USD $15.34 Buy It Now
OSIBISA ~ AFRO CARIB FUNK PROG JAZZ ~ ROGER DEAN ART ~ DECCA DL 75285 STEREO LP USD $9.00 Buy It Now
OSIBISA - Very Best Of Osibisa - CD - Import - **BRAND NEW/STILL SEALED** USD $19.95 Buy It Now
RARE Larger then Life UK IMPORT Rundgren Osibisa 76 NEAR MINT FREE US SHIPPING USD $15.66 Buy It Now
EX+ OSIBISA WOOLY BULLY UK 1985 SIENNA FED 14 PICTURE SLEEVE 7 INCH SINGLE USD $8.09 Buy It Now
Osibisa - Woyaya GER LP 1971 FOC /3* USD $24.99 Buy It Now 26m 4s
OSIBISA: LIVE FROM LONDON NEW REGION 2 DVD USD $8.28 Buy It Now 44m 25s
OSIBISA SUNSHINE DAY 7"VINYL USD $3.02 Buy It Now 1h 56m
OSIBISA The Dawn US MCA Funk LP 1980 USD $7.00 Buy It Now 3h 59m
Osibisa WELCOME HOME Vinyl LP NEW sealed USD $45.33 Buy It Now 4h 29m
Ultimate Collection, Osibisa, Very Good USD $22.00 Buy It Now 6h 13m
The Warrior 7 : Osibisa USD $3.85 Buy It Now 6h 23m
OSIBISA Disk Vinyl 1972 primera edition with double double USD $23.66 Buy It Now 7h
Original 1976 - OSIBISA - Welcome Home - Press Advertisment USD $6.10 Buy It Now 7h 9m
Osibisa - The Warrior (Vinyl) USD $10.26 Buy It Now 8h 27m
Osibisa - Happy Children [New CD] Digipack Packaging USD $13.59 Buy It Now 9h 25m
OSIBISA **TRIPLE TREAT** 3 x 7" single pack Free UK P&P USD $6.41 Buy It Now 11h 7m
Osibisa - Live At The Marquee Vinyl CBR 1035 1983 Reggae USD $4.88 [0 bids]
11h 23m
Osibisa - Very Best of [New CD] USD $13.68 Buy It Now 12h 35m
OSIBISA - OSIBIROCK (1974 WARNER BROS LP BS 2802) G/VG USD $19.24 Buy It Now 12h 54m
Summer - Flying Home [LP] PP Arnold Taj Mahal Band Gap Band Steely Dan Osibisa USD $6.10 Buy It Now 13h 38m
OSIBISA 7"PS Spain 1972 Ayiko Bia USD $7.50 Buy It Now 13h 53m
Osibisa - Sunshine Day The Pye / Bronze Anthology - Remastered 2CD Album New CD USD $21.17 Buy It Now 17h 13m
DL 75327 Osibisa - Woyaya Rock, Latin Funk/Soul Bloomfield Press VG / VG+ USD $3.50 [0 bids]
18h
Osibisa Wooly Bully UK 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) FED14T SIERRA 1985 USD $15.34 Buy It Now 1 day
[I Feel] PATA PATA [Re-Mix] Osibisa UK 7" vinyl single record CAB102 CALIBRE USD $12.76 Buy It Now 1 day
Celebration Osibisa 7" vinyl single record UK CAB-104 CALIBRE 1980 USD $14.06 Buy It Now 1 day
Happy Children, Osibisa, New USD $49.47 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA Warrior / Sakabo 7" Bronze BRO41 USD $8.33 Buy It Now 1 day
Ride a white swan / THE LETTER -Cocker /OSIBISA -sunshine day /PARANOID-sabbath USD $4.17 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA " THE WARRIOR " 7" SINGLE EXCELLENT BRONZE BRO 41 ( 1977 ) USD $3.84 Buy It Now 1 day
Osibisa - The Warrior - 7" Record Single USD $3.52 Buy It Now 1 day
Osibisa - Live at the Royal Festival Hall - Black Magic Night CD Album - New USD $15.39 Buy It Now 1 day
osibisa woyaya gatefold funk/prog vg+ USD $21.21 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA - Welcome Home - Vinyl (LP) USD $29.13 Buy It Now 1 day
DISC AND MUSIC ECHO JANUARY 15 1972 BYRDS OSIBISA STEVIE WONDER JOHN MCLAUGHLIN USD $19.24 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA A Vinyl Disc Cover-HAND Signed By Wendall With a COA & Album Too USD $42.35 [0 bids]
1 day
Osibisa - Wooly Bully 12" - FED 14 T - VG USD $8.97 Buy It Now 1 day
Osibisa ?- Music For Gong Gong 7" USD $1.27 [0 bids]
1 day
CELEBRATION - THE BEST OF OSIBISA - RARE CD USD $5.12 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA Super Fly T. N. T (Motion Picture Soundtrack) BUDDHA RECORDS LP 2318 087 USD $22.47 Buy It Now 1 day
Osibisa Osibisa LP Gatefold Sleeve USD $22.45 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA - Sunshine Day - 1975 UK injection moulded 7" Juke Box Single USD $6.41 Buy It Now 1 day
MELODY MAKER 1972 FEBRUARY 5 OSIBISA T.REX MAHALIA JACKSON BILLY PRESTON USD $19.24 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA, SUNSHINE DAY ,7" VINYL USD $2.55 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA-same '71 UK B/B HEX.MCA LP. AFRO PROG.BAND DEBUT USD $32.10 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA MUSIC FOR GONG GONG excellent+ 1971 UK VINYL 45 SINGLE USD $5.14 [0 bids]
1 day
OSIBISA - UK LP 1971 USD $6.41 Buy It Now 1 day
Osibisa - African Flight [Audio CD] Import NEW USD $10.97 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA - CRISS-CROSS RHYTHMS THAT EXPLODE WITH HAPPINESS; A RARE CD *L7 USD $11.54 Buy It Now 1 day
Osibisa Dance The Body Music 7" Single Bronze 1976 VG+ Condition.. USD $1.28 [0 bids]
1 day
OSIBISA HAPPY CHILDREN 8 TRACK TAPE USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA - S/T LP (RARE 1971 German Import on "cube" MCA, Roger Dean Cover) USD $47.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Osibisa S/T Reel Tape Tested Guaranteed 3-3/4ips Near Mint USD $57.50 Buy It Now 1 day
Osibisa - S/T LP VG USD $18.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Osibisa - The Best of Osibisa 1991 CD France / EU Kwest USD $6.50 Buy It Now 1 day
OSIBISA MYSTIC ENERGY VINYL LP RECORDS 12" USD $10.96 Buy It Now 1 day
DAVE BRUBECK / OSIBISA / DAVE BROMBERG press clipping 1977 9x15cm (16/7/1977) USD $5.12 Buy It Now 1 day
NME #1272 1971 JUN 12 FREE JIMI HENDRIX FACES OSIBISA USD $21.81 Buy It Now 2 days
NEW Osibisa (Audio CD) USD $23.36 Buy It Now 2 days
RECORD MIRROR 1980 MAR 8 ELVIS COSTELLO STUFF LITTLE FINGERS VAPORS OSIBISA USD $12.83 Buy It Now 2 days
15561 Mystic Energy Osibisa Cassette Album 1981 USD $3.84 Buy It Now 2 days
OSIBISA+Heads+LP+POSTER+AD+RARE ORIGINAL 1972+QUALITY FRAMED+EXPRESS GLOBAL SHIP USD $89.80 Buy It Now 2 days
OSIBISA - Dance The Body Music - 7" Single USD $1.35 Buy It Now 2 days
CELEBRATION The Best of Osibisa_used cassette_ships from AUS!_zz61_S2 USD $11.70 Buy It Now 2 days
osibisa - pata pata scare 7" USD $5.99 Buy It Now 2 days
Original 1977 - OSIBISA - Black Magic Night - Press Advertisment USD $6.10 Buy It Now 2 days
Osibisa - The Very Best Of [CD] USD $13.29 Buy It Now 2 days
Osibisa - Osee Yee [CD] USD $13.29 Buy It Now 2 days
OSIBISA "Woyaya" VINYL LP : Decca DL 75327 @ 1971 Afro FUNK ROCK USD $15.00 Buy It Now 2 days
OSIBISA - THE WARRIOR - 1977 7" EX - 1000'S MORE 7"S FOR SALE IN MY EBA USD $2.57 Buy It Now 2 days
Osibisa - Osibisa Remastered [CD] USD $13.39 Buy It Now 2 days
Osibisa - Happy Children [CD] USD $16.01 Buy It Now 2 days
Osibisa - Heads [CD] USD $16.01 Buy It Now 2 days
Osibisa - Happy Children 4009910116524 (CD Used Like New) USD $11.59 Buy It Now 2 days
OSIBISA - DANCE THE BODY MUSIC UK 1976 USD $1.27 [0 bids]
2 days
HEADS OSIBISA 1972 Decca 75368 Vinyl Lp Record Ex USD $9.95 Buy It Now 2 days
OSIBISA, SIMBA, ASSAGAI, GRUTZ, CHAKA, AFRO ROCK FESTIVAL L.P. RARE 1973 ALBUM USD $6.41 Buy It Now 2 days
Osibisa Woyaya LP 1971 Roger Dean Gatefold Cover USD $2.82 [0 bids]
2 days
Afro-Rock Fusion LP: Osibisa Debut Self Titled, 1971. USD $3.21 [0 bids]
2 days
OSIBISA 1972 SINGLE MADE IN ANGOLA (AFRICA) 45 PS 7 *AYIKO BIA* USD $24.99 Buy It Now 2 days
NEW Osibisa - Osibisa / Woyaya (Audio CD) USD $29.21 Buy It Now 2 days
NEW Osibisa (Audio CD) USD $20.44 Buy It Now 2 days
Osibisa Reel to Reel Tape Osibisa USD $29.99 [0 bids]
2 days
Osibisa-Superfly TNT-Buddah 5136 plays M- USD $5.00 Buy It Now 2 days
OSIBISA WELCOME HOME LP VINYL 12" VG/VG BRONZE 1975 FRENCH EDITION FIRST PRESS USD $19.98 Buy It Now 2 days
OSIBISA ~ WANGO WANGO (MAKIN' EVERYBODY HAPPY) funk LATIN 45 on DECCA ~ HEAR! USD $14.77 Buy It Now 2 days
Pata Pata Osibisa UK 12" vinyl single record (Maxi) 12P5013 PYE 1980 USD $15.33 Buy It Now 2 days
Osibisa Singles As Bs & 12 Inches 4 CD NEW sealed USD $51.18 Buy It Now 2 days
OSIBISA 'Celebration' 1980 Dutch 7" / 45 vinyl single USD $6.41 Buy It Now 3 days
Osibisa Welcome Home vinyl LP NEW sealed USD $38.75 Buy It Now 3 days
Flying Home, Summer, Taj Mahal Band, PP Arnold, Osibisa, Mick Taylor Band USD $3.72 [0 bids]
3 days
OSIBISA : Happy Children -Poster Size NEWSPAPER ADVERT- 1973 30cm X 40cm USD $2.89 Buy It Now 3 days
Osibisa - Osibibrock - Osibisa CD 6DVG The Fast Free Shipping USD $185.83 Buy It Now 3 days
Mystic Energy by Osibisa [ Audio CD] Brand New USD $47.50 Buy It Now 3 days
Osibisa: Live at the Royal Festival Hall (CD) USD $24.64 Buy It Now 3 days
LP SOUNDTRACK Super Fly T.N.T. BDS-5136 (OSIBISA) NEW MINT SEALED USD $34.99 Buy It Now 3 days
Black Magic Night (UK 1977) : Osibisa USD $18.62 Buy It Now 3 days
OSIBISA : 9 Small CONCERT ADVERTS -1970s- USD $6.42 Buy It Now 3 days
OSIBISA - MUSIC FOR GONG GONG - 7" SINGLE USD $3.85 [0 bids]
3 days

More places to buy OSIBISA music online Buy OSIBISA & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

OSIBISA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

OSIBISA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 73 ratings
Osibisa
1971
4.05 | 78 ratings
Woyaya
1971
3.51 | 26 ratings
Heads
1972
3.59 | 16 ratings
Happy Children
1973
3.26 | 10 ratings
Osibirock
1974
3.89 | 8 ratings
Super Fly T.N.T
1974
2.88 | 11 ratings
Welcome Home
1976
2.89 | 8 ratings
Ojah Awake
1976
2.08 | 6 ratings
Mystic Energy
1980
3.00 | 3 ratings
African Flight
1981
3.00 | 3 ratings
Monsore
1995
3.00 | 3 ratings
Sunshine Day
2002
3.00 | 3 ratings
African Dawn, African Flight
2003
4.50 | 9 ratings
Osee Yee
2009

OSIBISA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 9 ratings
Black Magic Night: Live at the Royal Festival Hall
1977
3.50 | 2 ratings
Unleashed
1983
3.25 | 4 ratings
Live At The Marquee
1984
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live at Cropredy
1998

OSIBISA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

OSIBISA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
Sunshine day, The Pye/Bronze anthology
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Very Best of Osibisa (Neon)
2000
1.10 | 2 ratings
The Very Best Of Osibisa
2001
3.56 | 7 ratings
Osibisa/Woyaya
2004
4.33 | 3 ratings
Wango Wango - The Ultimate Collection
2004
2.09 | 4 ratings
The Very Best Of Osibisa (Golden Stool)
2009

OSIBISA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
best Collection
2000

OSIBISA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Woyaya by OSIBISA album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 78 ratings

BUY
Woyaya
Osibisa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Luqueasaur

3 stars Great world music but bland European jazz-rock: 7/10

WOYAYA's ridiculously upbeat jazz-rock, imbued with African and Caribbean influences, is particularly innovative for the early 70s and also helped to set world music as a marketable genre. OSIBISA's musicianship and creativity shines brilliantly when they play ethnic-oriented moments: Beautiful Seven is tropically vibrant, offering amazing bongo solo outro; Rabiatu, my favorite track and by far what I consider OSIBISA's pinnacle, virtually has no jazz fusion, instead, it brings SANTANA-influenced latin rock mixed with distinctively rhythmic, polyphonic and energetic West African music.

Sadly, OSIBISA hinders their utmost potential as they give far too much attention on performing jazz fusion which, frankly, feels generic most of the time. In the end, I see WOYAYA as a good (even if flat) jazz-rock album that occasionally astounded me with superb world music moments. Worth checking out nonetheless - who knows, my "good and bland" might be yours "absolutely amazing".

 Osibisa by OSIBISA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.75 | 73 ratings

BUY
Osibisa
Osibisa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars First let me say that if you're not familiar with Osibisa's "criss cross rhythms that explode with happiness," then you're missing out. This band's blend of world beats, jazz fusion, unapologetically open-ended songs, instrumental improvisation, and thick grooves makes Osibisa immediately appealing. The "prog" in Osibisa comes from their blending of musical roots, making an end result a unique and charming musical experience.

I highly recommend everyone reading to the warm sound and dynamic rhythms of this little heard of band. It may not blow your mind as a prog-rock master piece, or have the razzle-dazzle as a Chic Corea or Mahavishnu Orchestra fusion album... but I guarantee that Osibisa will groove its way into your soul and, enhance any party as background music, and catch your attention with its dense rhythms and musicianship. It's a ton of fun while also being artistic, flamboyant, and genuine. Moreover, it could give your Anglo or Scandanavian-centric prog-rock music collection a juicy bit of soul from the equator!

Songwriting: 3 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

 Osibisa by OSIBISA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.75 | 73 ratings

BUY
Osibisa
Osibisa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Although OSIBISA is primarily a band from the African nation of Ghana, it didn't form there. Four members from Ghana met three others from Caribbean nations in London in 1969 and so began their unique and catchy brand of Afro-funk jazz fusion. Their music is an eclectic fusion of various types of African and Caribbean music with particular emphasis on the local African form of Highlife but they also include a healthy dose of jazz, rock, Latin and R&B. I share the overwhelming opinion that OSIBISA is indeed the African version of Santana. There are a few tracks that could easily be slipped onto an early Santana album and no one would notice. The result of all this fusion is a vibrant, energetic and melodic percussion dominated big sound that I find quite uplifting.

The band put out the rumors that their name means "criss cross rhythms that explode with happiness." What a great advertising method it was however the name is actually derived from "osibisaba" which means nothing more than "highlife" in Fante which is an indigenous language of Ghana. OSIBISA actually enjoyed mild success in the US with both their first two albums scoring mild success on the Billboard Top 200 possibly helped by the fact that a prolific Roger Dean contributed his artistic talents to the album covers. OSIBISA also was one of the first bands to popularize the term "world music" and influenced a gazillion others to follow their multi-cultural cross pollination. A very pleasant debut album where you can expect a big full sound delivering happy and upbeat harmonies and rhythms very much in the style of early Santana.

 Heads by OSIBISA album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.51 | 26 ratings

BUY
Heads
Osibisa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The cut-off point for prog fans, 'Heads' is the last Osibisa album to feature the group's original and distinct afro- jazz style, though the poppier elements that would come into play on next album 'Happy Children' are already prevalent. And it's a shame, not because 'Heads' is a bad album, but because Osibisa' second release 'Wowoya'('Heads' predecessor) was so good. A cool, detached and mellow mixture of African beats, Caribbean rhythms, jazzy textures and psych-tinged rock, 'Wowoya' is Osibisa's stand-out album, graced, just like the group's self-titled debut, by a beautiful Roger Dean-drawn cover. 'Heads' still features elements of it's predecessor's style, with jazzy organs, tribal percussion and hip-swinging beats brewing up another highly infectious dose of Afro-Caribbean rock, yet the group were becoming popular and that, as we all know, is usually a recipe for sonic homogenisation. Still, 'Heads' is an enjoyable album nonetheless, both fresh and funky and almost like an African version of Chicago thanks to the powerful horn section. Although more mainstream in it's approach this is still worth the effort, and those yet to explore the delights of Osibisa are urged to seek out all three of their original albums. It's a shame that they couldn't follow-up 'Wowoya' with a similarly-styled effort, yet in the end 'Heads' will do.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

 The Very Best Of Osibisa (Golden Stool) by OSIBISA album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2009
2.09 | 4 ratings

BUY
The Very Best Of Osibisa (Golden Stool)
Osibisa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars (First review of this album.) OSIBISA is probably the best known 70's Fusion band from Africa and pioneers of the so called World Music. Most players were from Ghana but were operating in London. Their first two albums from the beginning of the decade, Osibisa and Woyaya, are considered their best. Funky, rhythmic Fusion with lots of woodwind, brass, excellent electric guitar and percussion, and with a strong Western African feel (a cousin to that of Latin-American). The band continued to make albums but they eventually got poorer and poorer, less and less original - often even disco-ish - as can be seen from the ratings here. And that notion gets pretty clear with this compilation too.

Roger Dean (the illustrator known by all YES fans) has done many of the later album covers too, including this one. That, and the title "The Very Best Of" makes one expect a good, well done compilation but these expectations are not fulfilled very well. It's definitely more recommended to get the double issue of the mentioned first albums. Not that all of the later stuff is crap. Some songs are quite listenable even if they don't have much in common with the Fusion they started with. And of course it's interesting to hear how they changed through the years. Well, at least they always kept that happy, joyous mood.

What a decent compilation should do is give the listener deeper information of the band. In that sense too this is a let-down. Especially I would have wanted to get the release years of each track. Albums are mentioned but not their release years, strange!

 Osibisa by OSIBISA album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.75 | 73 ratings

BUY
Osibisa
Osibisa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars As someone who passed through a significant world music phase and still enjoys ethnic fusion, I was long overdue to check out the primordial blend offered up by OSIBISA before the genre even had a name. Hailing from 1971, their debut not surprisingly incorporates the progressive music of its day into an appealing mix of R&B, African, and Latin sounds. SANTANA certainly provides a solid point of reference but OSIBISA is more ensemble oriented and casts a wider net.

The intention from the get go was to produce joyous music that gets you or at least your chromosomes dancing, and the objective seems to have been met. While the group sound is clearly much happier than its analog in America, its general heaviness and incessant emphasis on rhythm do not produce the same effect on this listener, especially when compared to the more melodically oriented practitioners of the 80s and beyond - JULUKA, TOURE KUNDA, and HABIB KOITE to name a few. In the meantime, drum solos are the aural equivalent of traffic snarls for me in 2011, so, while I can appreciate that times were different, it doesn't mean I want to go back to something I never experienced in its proper context in the first place.

Still and all, OSIBISA offers enough striking material assessed on its own merits, as well as blueprints for the world music artists who followed, to merit their groundbreaking status. The best examples here of each respective aspect would be "Music for Gong Gong" and "Ayiko Bia". One of the group's strong suits is their expressive use of wind instruments, mostly brass, and "Oranges" provides the juiciest example herein. I am intrigued by the lyrical concept of "Phallus C", but the words are hard to make out and nowhere could I find them online. It almost sounds like an indictment of stereotypes around penis length and girth based on race, but musically leaves me cold. "Thing about the people" would seem out of place in lesser hands but actually works well as a closing number, solidifying the group's versatility in the realm of political protest. Lyrics aside, this one is worth it for the organ work even relative to the keyboard standards set earlier in the disk.

I don't imagine I will be crisscrossing these rhythms with high frequency, but I can certainly understand the buzz and the role this band could play as a portal to the world music scene for progressive aficionados.

 Woyaya by OSIBISA album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 78 ratings

BUY
Woyaya
Osibisa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Happiness is an angry elephant with wings.

Osibisa have self-professed on their debut album that their music is ''criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness'' and have promised to make us happy when we listen to their music. For this music lover, mission accomplished. This is by and far the happiest band I've ever come across, even beating out Yes at times. Like the debut album, Osibisa plays upbeat jazz-rock laced with African percussions and rhythms as well as Latin music ideas that spark of Santana. To stress the happiness factor, WOYAYA goes nowhere near the sometimes darker tracks on parts of the debut.

If you've ever gotten curious and listened to ''The Beautiful Seven'', it starts the album very well. The first half is nearly mystic with some of the most gorgeous ensemble vocals I've heard; I can tell that these guys are having fun as well as taking their happiness somewhat seriously. They convince you that they know what they're doing vocally, and that intangible works better on me as a listener than any type of skill. To icing the cake, it segues right into a powerful, flute driven jam that signifies everything great about this group.

Some direct correlations with the debut album are the tracks ''Rabiatu'' (sounds a bit like ''Ayiko Bia'' and ''Phallus C'' combined) and ''Move On'' (sounds like ''Think About the People''; it made sense when I found out Wendell Richardson wrote both). ''Spirits Up Above'' is slightly weaker than the rest due the slow dance pace at the beginning, but it soon picks up. ''Y Sharp'' and the title track are other highlights in this collection emphasizing the happiness attitude with Chicago-esque horn, Santana-like organs and Osibisa's own percussion drives.

WOYAYA is very attached to its predecessor with a bit more happiness added to it. It's a very good companion to OSIBISA that anyone open to world music along with jazz-rock might want to pick up.

 Woyaya by OSIBISA album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.05 | 78 ratings

BUY
Woyaya
Osibisa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Norbert

4 stars The first thing that striked me about the second studio effort by Osibisa is artwork, Roger Dean seems to be not able to do wrong regarding album artworks. It is a real delight to have the Repertoire Records version, it looks really great. Osibisa is listed on ProgArchives as a band from Ghana, this is only partially true, Teddy Osei, Mac Tontoh and Sol Amarfio are really from Ghana, but the other four musicians come from Nigeria, Grenada and Trinidad. But this is not a major mistake, and I have to be glad that I discovered this band via ProgArchives. The title of the opening track may refer to the number of band members, and to the number of tracks on this album. Beautiful Seven is indeed a beautiful track, great flutes, african rythms, a positive, joyful vibe, one of the signature songs of Osibisa. Y Sharp is also a fantastic track, irrestibly joyful, nice pllaying on trumpet, sax, and the rythms are again brilliant. Spirits up Above is an excellent Roland Kirk Cover, well, I have not heard the original, but this is very good.:-) After this the quality drops a little bit with the two following tracks, but not a lot. Honestly, I don't really like the intro of Survival. Fortunately, the band gets back on track and they finish the album with two fabulous tracks, Rabiatu features outstanding bass playing, and the title track is a wonderful ballad like peace, great to sing it along.:-) Overall, this is a very well played and written joyful album, with some minor flaws, a strong four star album for me.
 Happy Children by OSIBISA album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.59 | 16 ratings

BUY
Happy Children
Osibisa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Happy Children is a touch better than Heads, revitalising the Osibisa sound by adding a more funk-influenced bassline courtesy of Jean-Karl Dikoto Mandengue, and a carefully-applied layer of keyboards played by Jean Roussel. Still, by and large this is the same sort of material as appeared on the previous three albums, and if you already own them you may begin to wonder why you'd want a fourth. Like the Ozric Tentacles, early Osibisa are a band where sometimes you can feel as though if you've heard one of their albums you've heard them all. Interesting, but the first two albums are a better pick.
 Heads by OSIBISA album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.51 | 26 ratings

BUY
Heads
Osibisa Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars By Heads, the formula of the first two Osibisa albums was beginning to wear a little thin. It's still perfectly pleasant fusion, but by this point the songs get a bit too repetitive (like opener Kokorokoo, which could have done with being a few minutes shorter), and dismayingly the band seem to tone down their sound here and there in an attempt to reach a mainstream audience - but if they have to lose their soul and their cultural identity in doing so, where's the victory in that? It's still a reasonably enjoyable listen if you are already an Osibisa fan, but it's hardly their finest hour.
Thanks to ivan_2068 for the artist addition.

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives