It is said that Sun Ra introduced the Moog synthesizer to the jazz world. The man who introduced Sun Ra to the Moog is Tam Fiofori, a little known Nigerian journalist, photographer and historian – then Harlem based, but better known in Lagos as “Uncle Tam”. Fiofori is also one of the first critics to write seriously about the most famous citizen of Saturn – his essay in Downbeat Magazine “Sun Ra’s Space Odyssey” (1969) is a founding connection between Ra and the movement that would be known as Afrofuturism. Uncle Tam later invited Sun Ra to Lagos for FESTAC 77, took him to the Kalakuta Republic (Fela wanted the Arkestra to perform at his counter-FESTAC festival at the Shrine, Sun Ra politely declined), and wrote about it all in the pioneering Nigerian journal Glendora Review – read Akin Adesokan’s brief history of Glendora Review here: http://chimurengalibrary.co.za/glendora-review
Tam Fiofori is one of Nigeria’s most accomplished photographers who has chronicled Nigeria’s history in albums of photographs over decades. He was also Sun Ra’s manager.
He is an artist, journalist and veteran, who has written about art, music and culture almost as prolifically as he has photographed them. He is also a filmmaker and media consultant with documentaries like ‘Odum’ and ‘Water Masquerades 1974’ that were screened at FESTAC ’77.