African Showboyz





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Published on Sep 22, 2008

Napoleon, Joseph, Jacob, Awuni, Edward, Moro, Issac and JJ Sabbah, all brothers, are the African Showboyz. The boyz were born and raised in Binaba, a small village in the north east region of Ghana, West Africa.

In Binaba, it is the way of the village for the men to marry multiple wives. The Showboyz are born from the same mother and the same father, though collectively there are 54 children from their fathers descent. Napoleon, the elder of the brothers, received a vision from his grandfather during a juju practice at a very young age. He was to embark on a world journey in effort to bring recognition to the suffrage of the African people and feed his ever-growing family. Napo engaged Joseph, next of kin; his backbone, and they made instruments from thigh bones and hides of village kills that had been given to the chiefs palace. Issac was taught village dances to accompany Napoleons kone and Josephs siyak, and in 1983 the three Sabbah children set out on two bicycles to play for neighboring villages. In 1987, Issac learned the bind douk and JJ and Moses were added, playing the bin bill and tonton sanson, and the African Showboyz emerged as Africas pentacle of conscious musicians. They began touring neighboring countries and performed before enthusiastic audiences in Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, Libya, and Cote d Ivoire, while collaborating with Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti, Alpha Blondy, Freddie Meiwey and Ras Kimono. It is fascinating to note that while touring in Africa, the brothers carried no documentation but simply performed for immigration officials at the borders and were permitted access.

Their story is not complete without the mention of Babatunde Olatunji, the father of world music, Babatunde, born in Nigeria in 1927; made his final peace in 2003. His passion for understanding the spermatic nature of human organization and his individual capability to bridge superficial borders of the economic, political and cultural structures earned him global respect and the Grammy in 1991. As a traveling teacher of social justice, Baba believed that the drums have a healing affect on the body and mind; that drums unite us in our diversity and helps restore our natural rhythms. Baba discovered the Sabbah brothers in their beginning years, giving grandfatherly direction to the Showboyz and aiding their success in Africa as well as France and Germany.

In 2000, Kris Hodges traveled to Africa in search of performers telling the story of modern day life with traditional flare. There in Nungua, Ghana he first saw the Showboyz perform. "The second I heard the Showboyz, I put my head to the ground and wept," explains Hodges. Their ability to relate astounds me. I tapped into the universal message. Hodges believes that through beginning on a personal level, the global community can be built. Upon his return to the States and through communication via telephone with Olatunji, the African Showboyz made their first appearance for a US audience at the second Floydfest World Music Festival in 2003. It was outta this world.

The Showboyz did return in 2004 for a repeat performance at Floydfest and a national tour; playing the prominent Lotus World Music, Steppin Out, and Live on Winnebago festivals as well as churches, schools, festivals, clubs, and street fairs all across the US intermixing their unique sound with Old time, bluegrass, Hip-hop and all genres of music. Audiences nationwide marveled at the world-class raw roots experience of tribal drumming, phenomenal glass eating, mystical fire twirling :from comic routines to African Black Power exhibition, these beautiful young men entertained all ages with vibrant heart and soul. It was contagious!

The boyz carried their message of brotherhood proudly, most notably to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. There, sleeping in a tipi the Africans and the American Natives rejoiced on common ground with the drum and the concept of unity; and the Showboyz were honored in a sweat under the August full moon.

The African Showboyz were featured in Palm Pictures Grammy nominated 1GiantLeap; an extraordinary film document on world culture. Having released two previous albums, (Spiritual Song Buda Musique/Paris 2002, and Brothers Bold Blue Cow Records/U.S.A. 2004), their third release, Black Starz, is due out spring 2005.

Touching all corners of the globe, the African Showboyz deliver world folk music at its best. Visit the African Showboyz on the Web at :

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