Fatai Valentine & His Yankee FUJI Music Band

Photos by William Farrington


If the Bowery Poetry club were a ship on the sea, it surely would have capsized the night of Friday, January 3rd, as all of the passengers could be found at the rear of the vessel reveling to the sounds of Fuji Music.  

The captain of the ship, Fatai Akanbi Valentine, led his mates "The Yankee Fuji Music Band" through a two lengthy, ‘tomorrow-be-damned,’ let's live for the moment sets.  

Each piece turned the heat up another notch until the seats and tables were empty and bodies packed the dance floor.  

Fatai raised the temperature some more by performing with an energy that one suspected was impossible to maintain and confounded us by continuing into the wee hours of the morning.  

It was a party in true Nigerian fashion.  This was the third event in New Africa Productions first Friday's series at its new location at the Bowery Poetry Club in the East Village.  

It was a special night from the start as it was promoter Kiki's birthday. Kiki was joined by artist and WLIB host Kola Nut, journalist Nya Joy Paxton of the African Magazine, legendary drummer Ola Jagon, Burkinabe artists Mai Lingani and Martin N'Terry and others.  

Between set Kiki blew out candles and cake was enjoyed.  Fuji explained Valentine means to enjoy in the Yoruba language.  
It is a percussive and vocal music that often involves praise singing and the spraying of money.  

The rhythmic music featured traditional as well as electric instruments in loosely structured jams that flowed effortlessly behind Valentine's performance.  

The combination of talking drums and more familiar congas as well as a variety of other hand drums leant a melodic tonality to the music’s undercurrent.  

Valentine later elaborated on Fuji music, which is currently very popular in Lagos and compared it more to western pop idioms such as rap than traditional music.  

Fatai’s brother, Abass Obesere, is also a well known performer in Nigeria.  

Obesere, because of his dancing prowess, was compared to Michael Jackson. He was soon dubbed the "King of Fuji".  

It was in his brother Obesere’s band in Lagos that Fatai got his start as a choirist.  

Now based in Newark, Fatai and his group are celebrating the release of their new C.D. here (the C.D. was released earlier in Lagos and according to Fatai sales have begun to take off).  

The new release will be entitled 'Obalong' or 'the next king' in English perhaps as a challenge to his older brother, but also as a statement that announces Fatai with a swagger.  

The record release party will be held at The Odudua lounge, a comfortably funky club at 513 Central Avenue in Newark on Sunday, February 2nd, 2003 where the group appears every other Sunday night  
Band Information:

Fatai Akanbi Valentine+ his Yankee Fuji Music Band
Abiola Adeoye - keyboard
Talking drum - Bello Liabi
Tony Adeyanju - guitar
Victor Ebreneyin - Bass
Teulji Acitebi - Drums
Ojo Tanimowo - congas


Email: valentine@hitechclub.com

Tel # 973-642-3052

Tel # 973-642-3242