Archive for the ‘Neo Afrobeat’ Category

Overdosing on Fun

August 4, 2018

Beginning on a biographical note.

The other day I visited one of my regular Op Shops, which are sort of like Oxfam minus the sexual exploitation by its employees.

Most towns in tubbyland have three or four such shops and I visit about 20 a month in my drives.

“How much do you want for that old pair of speakers”?

A bit of consultation among the very nice women who ran this place.

“Five dollars each”.

Done, since I had a look at the back. B @ W’s about fifteen years old and Made in England.

All in all, they are brilliant since that bring out the qualities in piano not delivered by modern speakers, and they really shine when there is a lot of brass instruments.

Matched up with really big screen IMac which has a great sound card,  you can be sure that the  kangaroos and snakes are getting a serious musical education.

Which brings me to all the contemporary Neo Afrobeat bands to be found on Youtube, given that Fela died in August 1997.

Oh yes, what is a shekere  – nice selection here.

I hear you say, that bloody kt is going to inflict more of that jungle music on us and, yes children, you’re right.

London Street Party. Kokoroko Afrobeat Collective from 2017.



Underground System Afrobeat from New York, deconstructionists playing some seriously over-proof afrobeat/ funk.



I could keep going here but won’t, since I know you’ve taken my musical message to heart.

These insistent jungle rhythms lead directly to juvenile promiscuity and marijuana madness.


The Sisters have colonized contemporary Afrobeat.

Finally, if ever there was a good reason for stealing the children’s Piggy Banks to buy extra speaker boxes, this is it.

Ugandan 70s Afro-Funk:



Neo Afrobeat : The Sisters Sock it to Fela

July 26, 2018

As everybody knows, the African section of the planet shifted on its axis with the vinyl release of Black President by Fela Ransome Kuti in 1981. And if you missed that seismic event, you were probably listening to Queen (vomituous arena rock), Adam and the Ants (thnx Malcolm), Phil Collins or Barry Bloody Manilow. Throw in Oasis and we have some exemplary candidates for the Final Solution for musical rubbish.

Fela was the founder of Afrobeat, and I’ve written about him before ad nauseum. However before we begin today’s musical lesson, your task is to read the excellent wicki entry on the elements – a complex fusion of jazz, funk, Ghanaian/Nigerian highlife, psychedelic rock and traditional West African chants and rhythms – which formed this highly influential West African genre. On second thoughts, forget the homework, since all of us have an internet attention span of about seventeen seconds these days.

Afrobeat is characterized by a fairly large band with many instruments, vocals and a musical structure featuring jazzy, funky horn sections. A riff-based “endless groove” is used, in which a base rhythm of drums, shekere, muted West African-style guitar and melodic bass guitar riffs are repeated throughout the song. Commonly, interlocking melodic riffs and rhythms are introduced one by one, building the groove bit-by-bit and layer-by-layer. The horn section then becomes prominent, introducing other riffs and main melodic themes.

Fela’s band was notable for featuring two baritone saxophones, whereas most groups were using only one of this instrument. This is a common technique in African and African-influenced musical styles and can be seen in funk and hip hop. Fela’s bands at times even performed with two bassists at the same time both playing interlocking melodies and rhythms. There were always two or more guitarists. The electric West African style guitar in Afrobeat bands are paramount, but are used to give basic structure, playing a repeating chordal/melodic statement, riff or groove.

Now I hear you say, why all this analytical stuff KT, I was rather more impressed by the fact that he subjected his audiences to long marijuana blasted rants of a political nature, and was a polygamist of epic proportions. Both impressions are correct. In total he had 80 something wives, held obnoxious patriarchal views and not surprisingly died from HIV/AIDS.

Black President – Fela at his peak.

Yet, the really affirming aspect of Fela’s music lay in the massive bands he used in the studio and in live performance, usually exceeding twenty or more members. Very much based on a collective or ensemble approach with a loose groove that enabled even the second trumpet to get their bit of spotlight. A bit like musical Mexican Wave anchored by percussion and bass. The shekere player is having a hissy-fit or has family matters to attend to, no problems, other instruments can take up the slack on the day. The band coordinator holding together a collective identity.

Wanted to conclude with this track Colonial Mentality found on Black President, but had to put it here due to my technical bads. This is talent of the first order and I love the guitarist channeling some of Miles trumpet playing.


Newen Afrobeat were formed in  Chile in 2009 and you can read their publicity blast HERE

Try this track.

Here’s a full concert and you don’t have to stay glued to the screen overindulging your critical faculties.

Do that housework which you normally avoid. You’ve been having too much fun.