The New Yorker magazine releases a feature story on Nigerian musicians, “changing the sound of global pop”.
Photographer Namsa Leuba traveled to Lagos to capture photos of some of Nigeria’s biggest stars for the feature.
The feature describes 2Baba as “a kind of Afrobeats godfather” and tells the story of his rise in the music industry,
as well as how he paved the way for younger acts nearly two decades ago.
Other musicians in the feature include Adekunle Gold, Falana, Seyi Shay, Davido, Niniola, Simi,
Mars and Barzini, Maka and Skales.
2Baba has to compete with younger peers nowadays, so his music has grown sleeker and more up-tempo.
Last summer, he released an infectious dance track called “Gaga Shuffle.” (Photographed in Eko Atlantic City.)
See Photos Below
captured by Namsa Leubaat
Adekunle Gold and the 79th Element update old-fashioned highlife grooves with R. & B. and house music. Gold describes himself as the best live performer in Nigeria. (Photographed at Freedom Park.)
Niniola had a breakthrough hit last year with “Maradona,” an elegant, sinuous dance track that was recently reissued by DJ Snake, a French producer evidently eager to associate himself with the sound of Lagos. (Photographed on Victoria Island.)
A riches-to-riches tale: Davido is the son of one of Nigeria’s most successful businessmen. He is also one of the most popular musicians on the continent, a winsome and tireless hitmaker. (Photographed at home.)
Falana grew up outside Toronto, and her music bears the influence of Latin jazz as well as of Fela Kuti; her repertoire includes a cover of Kuti’s “Lady.” (Photographed at the National Arts Theatre.)
Simi specializes in songs, not in dance tracks: she is an expressive singer and writer, and her music coasts along on gentle, rippling rhythms. (Photographed on Victoria Island.)
Mars and Barzini are an emerging singing-rapping duo. In “Suegbe,” they pay multilingual tribute to weed, wine, and women: “I’ve got some good kush and alcohol / I get okpeke wey I fit call.” (Photographed at Lagos City Hall.)
Maka is a jazz-inspired soul singer, not an Afrobeats star, but she nevertheless finds ways to extoll the energy of the city where she lives: “5 a.m. to sundown / Lagos no dey turn down.” (Photographed at the Miliki lounge, on Victoria Island.)
Seyi Shay is a singer and songwriter with an aptitude for the thing that every pop star needs, no matter her location: big, memorable hooks. (Photographed at the Eko Hotel.)
In 2014, Skales released a fast-and-furious hit single called “Shake Body,” which evokes the thrilling, slightly menacing atmosphere of a night club that feels like it’s about to explode. (Photographed in Eko Atlantic City.)