Tag Archives: Afrobeat

“No Wahala” Spotlights Lesser-Known Music From Nigeria’s ’70s Heyday

Nigeria-70-1244From the sunny melodies of highlife, to the dissonant sounds of post-war rock, to the black consciousness in Fela’s Afrobeat and the slick acoustics of Afropop and disco, Nigerian music in the decades following independence experienced rapid and exhilarating change. It didn’t take long for the rest of the world to take notice: King Sunny Adé and Ebenezer Obey became international superstars thanks to their takes on jùjú music, while Fela Kuti’s outrageous showmanship and political activism made him the unrivaled King of African music.

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Album of the Day: The Budos Band, “The Budos Band V”

The Budos Band have spent the last 15 years slowly-but-surely adding elements of proto-metal to their groove-drenched instrumental Afrobeat. 2014’s Burnt Offering feels like a confession of sorts, the band copping to their stoned-teenager proclivities by giving the album a grim title, artwork depicting a bearded wizard, and songs that sound like Fela Kuti jamming with Black Sabbath. It is awesome.

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Ibibio Sound Machine Radiate Genuine Positivity on “Doko Mien”

ibibio-by-angela-stephenson-1244

Photography by Angela Stephenson

It’s a fraught task to take on, combining and innovating traditions, sounds, and languages belonging to specific regions of the world in order to create a universal piece of art. However, London’s Ibibio Sound Machine (featuring members from Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, Trinidad, Australia, and elsewhere) have effortlessly done just that over the last few years, drawing upon elements of groove-heavy funk, Afrobeat, American soul, and Ghanaian highlife, and blending those influences with Ibibio folk story and British’s penchant for partying.

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Album of the Day: KOKOROKO, “KOKOROKO”

In the Nigerian dialect Urhobo, kokoroko means “be strong,” and the strength of this eight-member London-based band lies in their deft balance of sweeping horns, jittery guitar lines, and jubilant vocals. On their latest EP, the traditions of African musical luminaries like Fela Kuti and Ebo Taylor are carried on by their contemporary descendants, on four songs that create rich, colorful worlds of sound, and make a case for Afrobeat’s transatlantic connection.

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The 10-Member Bixiga 70 Put Their Own Funky Spin on African and Brazilian Music

 Bixiga 70

Photo by José de Holanda

When the 10 eventual members of Brazilian instrumental collective Bixiga 70 first came together, in October 2010, they swore a twofold manifesto.

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An Afrobeat Bounty Hunter in Benin and the Making of “African Scream Contest Vol. 2”

African Scream Contest

Photos Courtesy Analog Africa

When he landed in Benin more than a decade ago, Samy Ben Redjeb didn’t really know what he was going to find. In fact, record collectors, much like himself, had told him he would probably find nothing—that it would be a waste of time, resources, and money. Armed with his usual tools—recording equipment, a photo scanner and tape recorders—he arrived in the West African nation expecting to uncover a handful of songs to put in one of the compilations of his then-burgeoning reissue label, Analog Africa. What he found instead was a land with a deep and storied musical tradition—one where funk, salsa, pachanga, and psychedelic rock blended seamlessly with the traditional rhythms of Vodoun, an African diasporic religion.

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BCUC’s Afro-Psych Vision Forges New Connections

BCUC

Photo by Jeanne Abrahams

Inside a 300-year-old fort-turned-amphitheatre in the French town of Sète, BCUC Band—a seven-piece Afro-psychedelic collective from Soweto, South Africa—are surrounded by the placid, sunset-dappled Mediterranean Sea. They’re in the middle of a performance so joyous, it feels like it could go on indefinitely. Lead singer Jovi is wearing skinny jeans, a T-shirt and a whistle around his neck, and he sprints regular laps around the stage between vocal runs. They’ve played for 30 minutes in the searing July heat, and the atmosphere is breathless, fevered and communal. Finally, Jovi shushes the crowd, as the volume on stage fades temporarily. “Ladies and gentlemen,” he announces, wryly, ‘that was our first song.”

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On “Black Times,” Afrobeat Artist Seun Kuti Extends His Father’s Legacy

Seun Kuti

Photo by Alexis Maryon

During his lifetime, Fela Kuti, the godfather of Afrobeat, was a cultural icon and one of the leading voices of unrest during the Civil War in Nigeria. He’s the country’s most famous musician, and perhaps its most popular child, too. Now, Seun Kuti, Fela’s youngest son, has emerged to carry his father’s legacy. He’s the current leader of Fela’s old band, Egypt 80, a group that changed its name from Africa 70 after Fela sensed a need to educate his audience on Egypt’s contributions to the world. Continue reading