Dinner Music: Steve Monite
Nigerian boogie that makes you want to groove
This issue of Dinner Music was guest written by Phil, one half of DJ duo Horse Opera (surprise, I’m the other half) and funk music extraordinaire.
Today I'm sharing a truly special reissue from what has been dubbed the holy grail of 1980s Nigerian funk and disco, Only You. Long sought after by record collectors, this overlooked debut from Steve Monite (pronounced mon-ah-tay) received renewed attention after live covers of the title track by Frank Ocean and Theophilus London with Tame Impala made the internet rounds to much fanfare. It's easy to see why: Only You features a Moog-backed spaciness reminiscent of the late-disco sound coming out of New York that found its way to Nigeria's shores in the early 1980s.
Monite grew up a middle class kid in southern Nigeria, highly influenced by the boarding school he attended and Anglican school choir he participated in. After failing to find a home for his sound in the UK, Monite returned to Nigeria and was immediately signed to EMI Records, where he linked up with influential producer Nkono Teles. While Teles provided the modern boogie feel, Monite’s soul poured into the album's few tracks, with I Had A Dream slowing things down and Welcome My Love bringing the heat back up. It's a shortie of a record, and overlooked upon release in 1984, but one that'll make you groove no matter where you may find yourself.
Only You - Steve Monite:
Pair this album with:
Nigerian Chapman. Alleged to have originated from the Ikoyi Club in Lagos, this Nigerian mocktail is bright and beautiful, blending citrus and fruity sodas to give you the disco energy you need.
Dodo (fried plantains). What would great African cuisine be without the plantain? Dodo, the word in Yoruba for fried sweet plantains, can be simply cooked in oil to bring out their caramelized sweetness, and adding some red onion helps bring an acidic bite. Add to your favorite slow-cooked protein of choice for a sweet compliment.
Thank you, thank you. Have a great weekend.