Walegr8 revolutionises Afrobeat, bridging traditions from Nigeria to USA

Austine Mukoro, widely known as Walegr8, has emerged as a dynamic force reshaping the Afrobeat landscape, infusing traditional Nigerian roots with a contemporary twist.

Born into a family of artists and entertainers, Walegr8’s journey from a young dancer and drummer in his parents’ cultural group in Nigeria to his current status as a trailblazing Afrobeat artist in the United States is nothing short of remarkable.
His father, Prince Liverpool Mukoro, a prominent textile designer, and his mother, Agnes Mukoro, a multi-talented figure involved in fashion design, dance, and percussion, laid the foundation for Walegr8’s rich artistic heritage. His early career highlights include being a percussionist and choreographer for the legendary Nigerian solo singer, Christiana Essien Igbokwe, whose ensemble garnered international acclaim for inventive choreography.
Walegr8’s artistic journey took a transcontinental turn when he arrived in New York in 1997. Quickly establishing himself as the lead dancer and drummer for the Opiri Dance Troupe founded by Nigerian superstar Mike Okri, Walegr8’s prowess in Afrobeat came to the fore. Now, he unveils his latest single, “Never Give Up,” a street anthem infused with Afrobeat vibes and evangelistic undertones, captivating listeners with its unique themes and soul-stirring rhythm.
In a recent virtual conversation, Walegr8 shared his motivation for delving into Afrobeat, citing the genre’s traditional roots attributed to the iconic Fela Anikulapo Kuti. His mission is clear – to pay homage to Afrobeat’s rich legacy while contributing to its evolution in the contemporary music scene.
Walegr8’s intended audience spans the globe, encompassing music enthusiasts, children, and individuals from diverse backgrounds drawn to the genre’s vibrant and addictive melodies. In gauging the reception of “Never Give Up,” Walegr8 emphasized the multifaceted factors influencing its acceptance, including social media reception, existing fan base, influencer support, and the overall quality of the music.
From his early experiences with the Urhobo Cultural Group to collaborations with various dance troupes and cultural events, Walegr8’s journey reflects his unwavering commitment to preserving and promoting Nigeria’s cultural heritage through music and dance. His extensive contributions, including serving as the head drummer for the New York Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, underscore his active involvement in diverse cultural events in the vibrant landscape of New York City.
Notably, Walegr8 acknowledges the influential role played by Dick Zigun, the unelected Mayor of Coney Island, in shaping his trajectory in both theatre and music. Zigun’s contributions have solidified Walegr8’s presence as a permanent feature of the New York Mermaid Parade.
Walegr8’s musical repertoire extends beyond “Never Give Up,” featuring other notable songs such as “Good Times,” with additional projects in the pipeline. As Afrobeat continues to capture global attention, Walegr8 stands at the forefront, fusing tradition and innovation to redefine the genre for contemporary audiences.

UNI Agric Markurdi
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