Tag: afrobeat

New Audio: Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 Team Up with The Legendary Carlos Santana on a Funky and Powerful New Single

Lagos, Nigeria-born and-raised multi-instrumentalist, bandleader and singer/songwriter Seun Kuti is the youngest son of the legendary and controversial Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. And as the story goes when Seun was nine, he expressed a desire to perform with his father — and within a short time, Seun started performing with his father’s backing band Egypt 80. Much like his older brother, Femi, Seun Kuti has followed the political and social ethos of his late father, continuing to push their father’s pro-Black, pan-African/pan-African Diaspora, anti-colonialist, sociopolitical messages to wider, international audiences. Oddly enough, during Fela’s life, he was in many ways the bane of the Nigerian political establishment, as he bravely called out the hypocrisy, inequality, inequity, corruption and brutality that they and their fellow countrymen faced on a daily basis — while pointing out that corruption and brutality is always the same.

However, with increasing international attention on both Fela and his sons over the past 20 years, the Kutis have managed to walk a careful tightrope of siding with the little guy and courageous speaking truth to power at all costs, including risk of life and limb while also becoming unofficial ambassadors to Nigeria, their proud and beautiful people and their culture. Around the time, I started this site, I caught Femi Kuti and Positive Force at Irving Plaza and there was a proud contingency of Nigerians, who spoke of Femi and his father with proud, reverential terms, at one point referring to Femi as “Professor!” “Speak Professor, Speak!” They would exclaim whenever Femi would say something that resonated with them. In some way, I was reminded of how older Jamaicans speak of Bob Marley.

Fela died in 1997 when Femi was 35 and Seun was just 14. Almost immediately upon his father’s death, Seun took over the frontperson duties of his father’s legendary backing band, a band that features members of his father’s backing bands Afrika ’70 and Egypt 80 — many of whom were with Fela, when he was speaking out about the Nigerian government at a time, when doing so could mean risking jail, brutal beatings an/or death. And interestingly enough, Seun’s 2008 debut effort Many Things was produced by Martin Meissonnier, who produced two of Fela’s albums.

Now, as you may know live, Seun Kuti has developed a reputation for sets being a fair mix of his own original material, along with covers of his father’s material, and because his father rarely (if ever) performed songs he recorded in the studio live, Seun covering his father’s material is often seen as an opportunity for fans to hear songs like “Water Get No Enemy,” “Shuffering and Shmiling,” “Colonial Mentality” and “Army Arrangement” live — and with a dynamism that rivals that of his late father.

Seun Kuti’s fourth album with Egypt 80, Black Times is slated for a March 2, 2018 release through British label Strut Records, and the new album reportedly finds Seun and company honoring the revolutionaries who have come and gone before while being a much needed rallying cry for the torchbearers to come. And to further emphasize that theme, the album finds Seun and the legendary Egypt 80 collaborating with a list of acclaimed musicians and artists, including Carlos Santana and Robert Glasper, among others. As Seun Kuti explains in press notes, “Black Times is a true reflection of my political and social beliefs. It is an album for anybody who believes in change and understands the duty we have to rise up and come together. The elites always try to divide the working class and the poor people of the world. The same oppression felt by workers in Flint, Michigan is felt by workers in Lagos and Johannesburg.”

The funky yet blistering album title track and first single “Black Times” features the imitable guitar work of Carlos Santana in a song that’s meant to shine a black light on society, exposing its rot, immorality and hypocrisy while pointing out the need for Black folk all over the world to band together and demand justice and inequality for all people. But beyond that it suggests that everyone needs to take a serious look at themselves and their world in order to truly begin to change it — and while it may be hard work, it’s necessary work to make the world better.

New Audio: Here Lies Man Releases a Psych Rock Cover of Fela Kuti’s “Sorrow Tears and Blood”

With the release of their self-titled full-length debut earlier this year, the Los Angeles, CA-based act Here Lies Man founded by Marcos Garcia, who was a member of renowned Afrobeat act Antibalas and featuring fellow Antibalas bandmates Chico Mann (guitar, vocals) and Geoff Mann (drums), along with Rich Panta (percussion), JP Maramba (bass) and Kris Casto (organ), have developed a reputation for a sound that seamlessly bridges classic, Fela Kuti-era Afrobeat with classic, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin-era rock. 

Building upon a growing national profile, the band will be releasing a 12 inch EP Animal Noises, which is slated for release on Friday through RidingEasy Records, and the EP’s first single is a psych rock cover of Fela Kuti’s “Sorrow, Tears and Blood” that manages to retain the song’s melody and furious outrage while turning into an blistering, arena rock-friendly jam. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months — say, the past two or three months roughly, you’ve likely come across a couple of posts covering the Los Angeles, CA-based Afrobeat act Here Lies Man. Founded by Marcos Garcia, a former member of renowned Afrobeat act Antibalas as a way to bridge the funky polyrhythms and grooves of Afrobeat and the muscular, power chord, riff-based sound of heavy rock and heavy psych, the act which features Geoff Mann (drums), the son of famed jazz musician Herbie Mann and a former member of Antibalas, along with Rich Panta (percussion), JP Maramba (bass), Kris Casto (organ) and contributions from a list of collaborators and friends, the collective have come up with a global and incredibly novel take on both Afrobeat and heavy psych/heavy rock. And in fact, as Garcia explained in press notes, about the band’s sound, “These repetitive guitar figures that happen in Afrobeat music are pretty close to heavy rock guitar riffs.  It’s based on the clave. It’s the musical algorithm that the rhythms revolve around. That’s what gives it integrity and is part of this musical conversation going on. I knew I wanted it to be psychedelic and heavy, and I wanted to be expanding on a musical tradition than pretending to be creating something new.”

The collective’s self-titled full-length debut is slated for an April 7, 2017 release through RidingEasy Records and the album’s first two singles “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” and “When I Come To” manage to establish the collective’s sound as simultaneously drawing from Black Sabbath and I.T.T. (International Thief Thief) Parts 1 and 2“-era Fela Kuti — and while the album’s third and latest single “Here Lies Man” continues in a similar vein, the track also may be the most stoner rock/hard pysch rock-leaning song of the album so far, almost sounding as though it could have been included on RidingEasy Records’ and Permanent Records‘ fantastic Brown Acid compilations but funkier and more percussive.

Founded by Marcos Garcia and featuring Chico Mann (guitar, vocals), a former member of renowned Afrobeat act Antibalas; Geoff Mann (drums); Rich Panta (percussion); JP Maramba (bass); and Kris Casto (organ), the Los Angeles, CA-based act Here Lies Man was created specifically as a way to bridge the funky polyrhythms and grooves of Afrobeat with the power chord, riff-based muscle of heavy rock — and the result is novel and modern take on both heavy rock and Afrobeat. As the band’s Garcia explained in press notes  “These repetitive guitar figures that happen in Afrobeat music are pretty close to heavy rock guitar riffs.  It’s based on the clave. It’s the musical algorithm that the rhythms revolve around. That’s what gives it integrity and is part of this musical conversation going on. I knew I wanted it to be psychedelic and heavy, and I wanted to be expanding on a musical tradition than pretending to be creating something new.”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the early part of this year, you may recall that I wrote about “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” the first single off the band’s forthcoming self-titled album, slated for an April 7, 2017 release through RidingEasy Records and to my ears, that single managed to sound as though Black Sabbath had covered “I.T.T. (International Thief Thief) Parts 1 and 2“-era Fela Kuti as towering layers of guitars played through buzzing effects pedals, twinkling and distorted synths,  propulsive polyrhythm and a deep, driving groove are paired with soulful yet ethereal vocals floating over an overall sound that’s funky yet psychedelic, and strangely dance floor and mosh pit friendly.

The self-titled album’s second and latest single “When I Come To” continues along a similar, psychedelic vein as layers of buzzing guitars are paired with propulsive polyrhythms and a driving, forceful groove, shouted vocals and towering organ chords making it a seamless synthesis of hard psych/hard rock/heavy metal with Afrobeat — while sounding as though it could have been released in roughly 1975; but with a modern touch.

Founded by Marcos Garcia and featuring Chico Mann (guitar, vocals), the son of renowned jazz musician Herbie Mann and a former member of Anitbalas; Geoff Mann (drums); Rich Panta (percussion); JP Maramba (bass); and Kris Casto (organ), the Los Angeles, CA-based act Here Lies Man is a project that sonically bridges the funky rhythms and grooves of Afrobeat with the riff-based foundations of heavy rock, creating a novel and modern take on both heavy rock and Afrobeat. As Garcia explains in press notes “These repetitive guitar figures that happen in Afrobeat music are pretty close to heavy rock guitar riffs,” Garcia explains. “It’s based on the clave. It’s the musical algorithm that the rhythms revolve around. That’s what gives it integrity and is part of this musical conversation going on. I knew I wanted it to be psychedelic and heavy, and I wanted to be expanding on a musical tradition than pretending to be creating something new.”

 

“You Ain’t Going Nowhere” the first single off the band’s forthcoming self-titled album, slated for an April 7, 2017 release through RidingEasy Records manages to sound as though Black Sabbath had covered “I.T.T. (International Thief Thief) Parts 1 and 2“-era Fela Kuti as towering layers of guitars played through buzzing effects pedals, twinkling and distorted synths,  propulsive polyrhythm and a deep, driving groove are paired with soulful yet ethereal vocals floating over a hazy and psychedelic mix that’s alien yet familiar, mosh pit-friendly yet funky — and danceable as hell.

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of its almost seven-year history, you’ve likely come across a number of posts on the Brooklyn-based Afro-pop/dance pop act and JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket. Currently comprised of founding duo and primary songwriters Alex Toth (trumpet, vocals, percussion), Kalmia Traver (lead vocals, tenor sax, baritone sax), Adam Dotson (trombone, vocals and percussion), David Cole (drums) and Ian Hersey (guitar), the Brooklyn-based act can actually trace their origins to when Traver and Toth met while playing in a Burlington, VT-based Latin jazz act. Quickly bonding over being horn players, a love of Afrobeat and Afro pop and an uncannily preternatural connection, the duo relocated to Boston in 2006, where they did fairly respectable things to survive  — Traver spent time as a nude model for art classes, while Toth spent time hustling $50 a performance marching band gigs. And while being broke as shit in Boston, the duo began Rubblebucket.

Relocating to Brooklyn some years later, the members of Afro pop/indie pop act emerged into the national scene with the release of their critically applauded 2011 album Omega La La and an established reputation for a rather relentless touring schedule full of ecstatic, energetic and mischievous live sets which at various times had included puppets, bandmembers jumping into the crowd and leading dance circles and dance trains with the audience. By early 2012, the band had made their first nationally televised appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.  And over the past few years, the band has been pretty busy as they’ve released a handful of critically applauded EPs and their sophomore full-length Survival Sounds. And while their touring schedule had slowed down a bit, Toth and Traver also a brief period of time touring as backing guests for follow JOVM mainstay act  Superhuman Happiness, a collaboration that goes back to when Stuart Bogie, Eric Biondo and company opened for Rubblebucket for a handful of shows up in Burlington, VT. Interestingly, during that time Rubblebucket’s  recorded output has revealed a band that has gradually crafted and then cemented a signature sound while also subtly expanding upon it; in fact, on their Save Charlie EP the band retained their genre-blurring sound that possessed elements of funk, pop, psychedelia and Afrobbeat with a populist sensibility but at points you’ll hear elements of boom-bap hip hop and electro pop. But perhaps just as important, in that same period of time, Traver has slowly emerged as a frontperson.

If U C My Enemies, the band’s forthcoming EP is slated for a January 20, 2017 release through So Sensation Records, and from the EP’s first single “Donna” the band has further refined their sound — while they retain Traver and Toth’s enormous, swaggering horn lines, the band employed the use of swirling electronics, distorted vocal samples around Traver’s ethereal and coquettish cooing. The EP’s latest single, EP title track “If U C My Enemies” continues along a similar vein as Traver and Toth’s enormous horn lines are paired with sinuous and funky bass and guitar chords, swirling electronics, twinkling synths and a soaring, anthemic hook — and while being a bit more mid-tempo song in comparison to its preceding single, the latest single is arguably the most muscular and forceful song they’ve released to date.

The band will be embarking on a late Fall/Winter tour to support the new effort throughout parts of the Midwest, New England and Northeast. If you’re around any of these cities, you should catch them — their sets are fun and you will spend the night dancing and signing along with them. Tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
Dec 01 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
Dec 02 – Chicago, IL @ Chop Shop 1st Ward
Dec 03 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Founders Brewing Co.
Dec 05 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement
Dec 06 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Woodward
Dec 07 – Detroit, MI @ The Shelter
Dec 08 – Buffalo, NY @ Studio at Waiting Room
Dec 09 – Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater
Dec 10 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
Dec 29 – Rochester, NY @ Anthology
Dec 30 – Holyoke, MA @ Gateway Arts
Dec 31 – Holyoke, MA @ Gateway Arts
Jan 19 – Providence, RI @ Fete
Jan 20 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
Jan 21 – Fairfield, CT @ The Warehouse
Jan 26 – Albany, NY @ The Hollow
Jan 27 – Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt
Jan 28 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

 

 

Currently comprised of founding duo and primary songwriters Alex Toth (trumpet, vocals, percussion), Kalmia Traver (lead vocals, tenor sax, baritone sax), Adam Dotson (trombone, vocals and percussion), David Cole (drums) and Ian Hersey (guitar), Brooklyn-based Afro-pop/dance pop act and JOVM mainstays  Rubblebucket can trace their origins to when Traver and Toth met while playing in a Burlington, VT-based Latin jazz act. Bonding over their horn playing, a preternatural connection and a love of Afrobeat and Afro pop, the duo in 2006 relocated to Boston, where they did fairly respectable things for money — Traver spent time as a nude model for art classes, while Toth spent time hustling $50 a performance marching band gigs. And while being broke as shit in Boston, the duo began Rubblebucket.

Relocating to Brooklyn some years later, the members of Afro pop/indie pop act emerged into the national scene with the release of their critically applauded 2011 album Omega La La and an established reputation for a rather relentless touring schedule full of ecstatic, energetic and mischievous live sets which at various times had included puppets, bandmembers jumping into the crowd and leading dance circles and dance trains with the audience. By early 2012, the band had made their first nationally televised appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Over the years, the band has been pretty busy as they’ve released a handful of critically applauded EPs and their sophomore full-length Survival Sounds. And while their touring schedule had slowed down a bit, Toth and Traver also a brief period of time touring as backing guests for follow JOVM mainstay act  Superhuman Happiness, a collaboration that goes back to when Stuart Bogie, Eric Biondo and company opened for the Rubblebucket for a handful of shows up in Burlington, VT. Interestingly, during that time Rubblebucket’s  recorded output has revealed a band that has gradually crafted and then cemented a signature sound while also subtly expanding upon it; in fact, on their Save Charlie EP the band retained their genre-blurring sound that possessed elements of funk, pop, psychedelia and Afrobbeat with a populist sensibility but at points you’ll hear elements of boom-bap hip hop and electro pop. But also over the years, the band’s Traver has slowly but confidently emerged as a true frontperson.

If U C My Enemies, the band’s forthcoming EP is slated for a January 20, 2017 release through So Sensation Records, and from the album’s first single “Donna,” begins with twinkling keys and pairs Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, a sinuous bass line, blasts of Traver and Toth’s enormous, swaggering horn lines, stuttering and glitchy four-on-the-floor like drumming, swirling electronics and distorted vocal samples with Traver’s ethereal and coquettish cooing, revealing a subtle emphasis on electronics and sampling to create a lush and layered sound while still being playful and danceable.

The band will be embarking on a late Fall/Winter tour to support the new effort throughout parts of the Midwest, New England and Northeast. If you’re around any of these cities, you should catch them — their sets are fun and you will spend the night dancing and signing along with them. Tour dates below.

 

 

TOUR DATES
Dec 01 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
Dec 02 – Chicago, IL @ Chop Shop 1st Ward
Dec 03 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Founders Brewing Co.
Dec 05 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement
Dec 06 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Woodward
Dec 07 – Detroit, MI @ The Shelter
Dec 08 – Buffalo, NY @ Studio at Waiting Room
Dec 09 – Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater
Dec 10 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
Dec 29 – Rochester, NY @ Anthology
Dec 30 – Holyoke, MA @ Gateway Arts
Dec 31 – Holyoke, MA @ Gateway Arts
Jan 19 – Providence, RI @ Fete
Jan 20 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
Jan 21 – Fairfield, CT @ The Warehouse
Jan 26 – Albany, NY @ The Hollow
Jan 27 – Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt
Jan 28 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer