William Onyeabor, the reclusive Nigerian electro-synth funk pioneer, died on Monday according to his record label Luaka Bop. At age 70, Onyeabor had been suffering from a brief illness and been resting at home in Enugu, Nigeria.
After building a impressive studio and pressing plant at his home in the early 1970s, Onyeabor launched his music career between 1977 and 1985 as a groundbreaking synth, funk and boogie pioneer.
In 1985, as Onyeabor became a devout Christian and abruptly stopped recording music, Onyeabor’s records starting demanding amazingly high prices especially as his music starting gaining traction in the West. In a rare interview, in 2014, he said, “I did study so many things, but they have nothing to do with my natural talent, because you don’t study talent. Talent comes from God.”
In 2013, Luaka Bop released the documentary Who Is William Onyeabor?, the first compilation of his released in the US.