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Ginger Baker – In Africa – Tony Palmer (1971)

06/12/2018

In November 1971, Ginger Baker wanted to set up recording studio in Lagos, then the capital of Nigeria. He was among the first great musician to realise the potential of African music. He decided also that it might be an invaluable musical experience if he travelled to Nigeria overland. Unfortunately, this involved crossing the Sahara Desert. Mad? Well, crazy – but that was what was so endearing both about the man and the musician. He bought a Range Rover – one of the first ever models – and it fell to me (because of my relationship with CREAM) to film this odyssey. And the music of Nigeria, when we finally got there, was a revelation. This was before the time of the oil boom and the succession of corrupt governments; the music pulsated with reckless freedom, from the African talking-drummers of Oshogbo, to a visit to the eastern city of Calabar where Ginger’s friend (the then known) Fela Ransome-Kuti performed for us with devastating power. I remember filming Kuti in a stadium filled with several hundred jiving Africans. Ginger & I, his driver and cameraman were the only white faces. Scary. But not as scary as our night at the Calabar hotel (well, ‘hotel’ is a bit of an exaggeration). The walls of our room, not to mention the seedy mattress on the floor, were covered black with mosquitos. I remember Ginger saying that if we survived this, we could survived anything. I’m glad he did, and the film pays tribute his indomitable spirit and to his extraordinary musicianship. – Tony Palmer Directed & Edited by TONY PALMER Photographed by BOB BOLT Digital re-mastering ROGER WATLING FIND OUT MORE: Gonzo Multimedia: http://www.gonzomultimedia.co.uk/ Gonzo Multimedia FB: https://www.facebook.com/Gonzo-Multim… Tony Palmer: http://www.tonypalmer.org/

 

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