The Strangers, founded and lead by organist Bob Miga, were one of the many funk-rock bands to emerge out of the Biafran region of Nigeria. In January 1970 as the armistice in the Civil War between the Nigerian Army and Biafran secessionists echoed in the backgroud, many psych-funk bands began rise up.
Musicians living in post-war Biafra could make a decent living playing for the Nigerian Army soldiers who carried with them Nigerian Pounds, the currency that quickly eclipsed the short-lived Biafran Pounds. Other emerging bands of that time such as The Funkees, The Apostles, BLO and Ofege were some of many influenced by British bands like The Beatles, Cream and Motown.
The Strangers released at least three singles on HMV. Most of their songs (Two To Make A Pair), are sung in English, but some, including today’s superb Onye Ije, are sung in the band’s native Igbo language. All of their music is centred around funky drums, fuzz guitar and Miga’s ever present organ. The band, like many of their Biafran compatriots, never released an album and disappeared from the scene shortly after emerging with guitarist Ani Hoffner going on to form the One World funk band and Bob Miga going on to lead the psychedelic ensemble The Hykkers.
Released as the flip side to their 1972 Love Rock 45, Onye Ije is the relentlessly rocking, funk-fuelled b-side. It’s vibe is centred around an incredibly cool, shimmying bassline and howling guitar; the two entwine with sophisticated ease as the rhythm carves out the coolest groove you could imagine and its a non-stop funk fest all the way! Check it out above.