This weekend, when Ndidi Onukwulu plays at the Afrikadey! African arts festival, she’ll be performing a kind of music she’s described as “a new form of African blues.” In truth, any attempt to categorize the Britannia, BC-born daughter of a Nigerian drummer will fail. “In Europe, I’m a jazz-pop-blues artist,” she has said. “Here, I’m jazz-blues-roots. I let people put me where they want. I don’t believe in genres.” That said, Onukwulu is no anarchist. Her genre-bending tunes may simply represent the musical landscape of tomorrow, for which old-fashioned genres are inadequate to describe music in an ever-shrinking world.
On the most important instrument
“The voice, followed by the guitar and piano, because they follow the melody. I’m a total sucker for a smooth, sexy bass line.”
On the eternal relationship of booze and music
“Canadian audiences are reserved, so I always encourage them to have a cocktail or two before the show. French couples tend to make out at my shows.”
On her genre of choice, if pressed
“Blues is the music of the people, of the earth, of the oppressed,” she has said. “The blues is my soul. That’s where I come from.”
On her non-blues influence
“On the Corner by Miles Davis is the greatest jazz album of all time. It was a turning point in jazz, no, all music. He invented hip hop beats on that record in 1972.”
Catch Onukwulu on Saturday at 4 p.m., Prince’s Island Park.