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Throughout the 1970s, Nigeria’s population healed from the trauma of a bloody civil war in local nightclubs and dancehalls. The gritty axe lines, dirty amps and fiery psychedelia of afro-rock pathfinders like The Funkees, Blo and Monomono sounded like both the end of the world and the crack and boom of a nation rising from the ashes. Still, there was one question these bands could never answer: how do you strut your stuff like Rick James?
African soul band The Funkees first took the stage in the besieged town of Nkwerre in Nigeria, during the final days of the Nigerian Civil War. Performing at Durumbu Hall in January 1970, the group’s music drowned out the sound of advancing federal forces. With terror on the horizon, locals danced away their last night on Earth.