Sunday, 14 March 2010

Finally Digging, or: Mr. T's magical musical wonderland

Finally got to hang out with Mr. T, a record collecting legend in Lagos. Tony has been collecting records around Lagos for decades, and has built a massive collection. Scavengers like me have been to his Afrobeat section before me, so there's only a couple of hundred left, but that's still pure gold. As are his high-life, jazz, funk and "sentimental" sections.

Tony's business has seen better times. Formerly a DJ, he now sells rips of his records after leaving the party business to one of his apprentices because, he says, the young guys don't understand music and he doesn't have the time for the new stuff. After being kicked out as a resident DJ at an Ikoyi hotel that's now been replaced by the Southern Sun, he set up shop in a central market. Now his landlady there has kicked him out he's back to the "ghetto" (his words), the village on the outskirts of Lagos where he's been building a house for the last 20 years. I think the house may need another 10 or so, but he's got an amazing garden, and more than enough room to stack all the music (see photo, with Mr. T).

Spent a good couple of hours digging around, and as a start I've asked him to make a list of what he's got. The good man doesn't even know how many records he has (I reckon 6 to 10 thousand). He's also given me the names, numbers and addresses of most of the other big music oga's in Lagos, so I should be set digging wise for the next few months. Amazing!

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