The men who invented Afro-rock
Altogether now: “Everybody / Do what you’re doing / Smile will bring a sunshine day.” Those readers of a certain vintage will, on hearing those lyrics, instantly be transported to the long hot summers of the mid-Seventies when the song from which they’re drawn, Sunshine Day, scored Osibisa’s their greatest chart success. The band were the authors of Afro-rock, a style of music that, as its name suggests, took inspiration from both rock and Africa. As such, their sound rejuvenated a tired rock scene, pepping it up with flavours from both the mother continent and the Caribbean. These were the twin sources of the band’s line-up too, expats from West Africa and the West Indies who joined forces in London to create something both distinctive and original. Nearly half a century on, Osibisa’s live shows remain life-affirming occasions. Sunshine days, in fact.