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Chief Udoh Essiet believes in rhythm. He serves it Hot-and-Spicy on his new album Afrobeat Highlife Crossing, from the depths of his soul to the beat that emanates from his hand-made antelope-skin congas and talking drums from his native Nigeria. Chief Udoh is a veteran artist, singer, songwriter and virtuoso percussionist. His musical journey took him from the traditional rhythms of his village to Swinging Lagos in the 70s, where Udoh apprenticed with Dr. Victor Olaiya’s Highlife Band while still too young to reach the tops of the congas onstage. (They stood him on a Coca Cola crate!) He has personally worked alongside the biggest artists from Nigeria in the 70s and 80s, including the legendary Fela Anikulapo Kuti, creator of Afrobeat, at the height of his fame. Afrobeat Highlife Crossing has all the elements of these Old School styles, effortlessly blending the essence of Afrobeat and Highlife grooves, resulting in a sound that’s purely original. The percussion is out of this world, the bass is melodic, the horn arrangements are next level, the BVs are perfect and the ‘Pidgin’ language Chief Udoh sings tops it off with some Nigerian seasoning, like a dash of Hot Pepper on Stew! His lyrics speak the cold-blooded truth, telling us to look inside ourselves and fight against corrupt governments that keep getting us into corporate-sponsored wars, leaving innocent civilians to live with the consequences. His label Uwem Music’s motto is “Right now is the best time to play the record” and we agree!