SEGUN DAMISA 1964 – 2006.

As planning is approaching top gear level to mark with a big celebration the first decade, of the passing of the creator and King of afrobeat Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. A celebration, that would assemble all groups playing afrobeat world-wild at the Africa Shrine Lagos Nigeria, in a-week long musical pilgrimage and street carnival, death has come again knocking on the afrobeat-family doors. Segun Damisa, leader of the defunct Abuja based afrobeat group: Alkebu-lan and founder, of the Bordeaux based Afrobeat Crusaders died of generalised cancer July 17, 2006 in France.

With a hind-sight privileged as I was at his death bed, I can understand why Segun fought so desperately to beat the cancer that was slowly and painfully taking away his life. The only thing that calmed his combative soul was my promise that we all in the afrobeat family will do everything within our means to perpetrate his memory with the release of his gift to us all – this beautiful and rich afrobeat album.


MABINUORI KAYODE IDOWU (aka ID)
PARIS FRANCE 2006.


A child of Kalakuta, Segun started his musical apprenticeship as a percussion player at a very young age, when he joined Fela’s Kalakuta community in the late seventies. Spending most of his teenage and early adult life in Fela’s kalakuta no doubt left an indelible mark on his life and musical career. He left Fela’s commune for a brief stint with King Sunny Ade during the period the Juju music maestro recorded his highly popular “Sweet Banana” and “My Dear” albums in Nigeria. In 1986, Femi Kuti after quitting his father’s Egypt 80 band, decided to carve his own knish in the afrobeat world by creating the group Positive Force. Segun Damisa joined this group as a founding member, the beginning of a career that would span a decade and half.

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While with Femi Kuti, Segun was opportune to play alongside musical names in the business and privileged to travel world-wide where he acquired the exposure that would serve as a propelling force at the creation of his group Alkebu-lan in 2001 after he quit Femi Kuti’s Positive Force, and later Afrobeat Crusaders – a group he put together after moving base to Bordeaux in France 2004. After a series of concerts in and out of Bordeaux including opening for the North American Afrobeat Orchestra Antibalas, Segun took his Afrobeat crusaders into studio to record a nine title album in February/March 2006. Recorded at Chris Birkett’s studio, the guitarist/producer also played guitar solo on two of the tracks. Also featured in the album is Soul Makossa impresario Manu Dibango who played his alto sax solo on the song AIDS. The album produced by the tenor sax player of the group, Pierre Henry Vulliard (aka Speedy) for Arts Sciences Information is due for release early 2007.

MABINUORI KAYODE IDOWU (aka ID)
PARIS FRANCE 2006.
Segun was a true child of Kalakuta as all the songs point out, written in the combative political spirit of Fela and afrobeat music. Added to this is his respectful, charming and warm personality. He was always ready to lend a hand to whoever stretched out their hands for help. Sometimes to his own detriment, Segun would answer present to the calls of distress from friends and folks alike. Surely we would all miss those warm smiles on his face even in difficult times.

Despite his death, his group members are resolve to carry on where he stopped and they have the offer of Antibalas lead singer – the Nigerian born Amayo, to appear whenever time permits. Amayo like Segun is a lead singer and percussionist.