Inspired by the infectious afro-beat music of Nigeria and its neighbours, The POAO delivers contemporary African funk to Australian dancefloors. This mammoth ensemble comprises musicians hand-picked from Melbourne’s music scene.
As the title suggests, and in true afrobeat tradition, Naming & Blaming pulls no punches. It is an outspokenly political record, a cauldron of strong opinions where indignation and optimism coexist. Led by the vocals of MC One Sixth and singer Lamine Sonko, the critique of colonialism is applied to both the African and Australian experience, the battles of many cultures informing the group’s ethos as does the importance of community and staying true to one’s convictions. Uplifting visions of a brighter possible future as laid out in “No Passport,” the album’s rambunctious opening song, are balanced with honest reflections on injustice like guest Robbie Thorpe’s take on Australia’s chequered history in the title track.
For the Naming & Blaming cover, the band was honoured to have the opportunity to work with one of the originators of the Afrobeat movement Lemi Ghariokwu, the legendary collage artist and illustrator responsible for all of Fela’s most famous album covers of the 1970s. This relationship is what the POAO is all about, paying respects to the culture and keeping it alive and relevant in the 21st century. Over the last decade, The POAO have established themselves as a firm festival favourites with their contemporary approach to Afrobeat.