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Thursday, November 15, 2012

She Defines Soul. Substance. Style (No. 22): Nneka

((  Written By:  Nani Hapa  ))  Her soulful music has moved us to label her "The Voice Of Africa," the substance of her lyrics have us convinced that were she not a musician, she might have made an excellent investigative journalist ... or perhaps a philosopher, and her style has inspired us to proudly rock tom boy chic with our afros.  Do we need to give any more serious consideration about why Nneka Egbuna defines Soul.Substance.Style?
Born and raised in the Delta region of Nigeria, Nneka watched as the city and its citizens wrestled with the impact of new-found affluence.  Three decades later, electrical blackouts are still a part of daily life in Nigeria, an oil-rich nation plagued by petrol shortages, where tribalism and disparity of wealth and political power further entrench divisions of class.  Nneka explains, "All that has a lot to do with why I am the way I am, despite the fact that I have now been able to travel a great deal, and see the world from a different angle."

At the age of 19, Nneka left Nigeria for Hamburg University, where she studied anthropology even as her musical career was building steam. With its marriage of timeless grooves, contemporary technology, and 21st century black consciousness, her 2005 debut "Victim Of Truth" was lauded by the British press. "As good as The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," trumpeted The Sunday Times.  Its 2008 follow-up, "No Longer At Ease," so impressed Lenny Kravitz that he tapped her to accompany him on tour.  In 2010, selections from both albums were compiled for her US debut, "Concrete Jungle," which showed North America what the rest of the world already knew: Nneka is a remarkable talent.

((  Photo Credits:  Jens Boldt  ))