New Music: Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra


This is a pretty easy segue from my last post about Tony Allen. I was reading the latest Rolling Stone yesterday, and in Austin Scaggs’ Smoking Section, he gave a heads up to the new album by Antibalas (which just came out March 6th). Scaggs said they “churn out the best Afrobeat since Fela Kuti left the building”.

So naturally, off I went to eMusic to download the album, and glad I did at that. Brooklyn-based Antibalas is most certainly hugely influenced by Fela. I would say it’s impossible to play Afrobeat and not be influenced by Fela. But these guys also manage to reinvent the form at the same time. The album is produced by John McEntire of Tortoise. If you want to spend an hour falling under the groove and spell of good Afrobeat (with some good rips on Bush & Cheney in “Filibuster XXX”), pick up this album.

Here’s the cool opening track to the album, the aptly named “Beaten Metal”.

Antibalas: Beaten Metal (mp3)


Antibalas’ Official Site | MySpace (includes their latest tour dates, which includes SxSW in Austin over the next few days, and just about every American city it seems except for here in Phoenix – shit!).


  • jon

    I had the same reaction on reading that comment in the new RS. Have you heard the Daktaris album (also available on eMu)? I wonder if some of the Antibalas folks played on the Daktaris album (which was packaged as though it were an authentic lost Afrobeat LP).

  • yuri

    Indeed, Antibalas does incorporate some musicians from the Daktaris. As you can see in the link below, the Daktaris were actaully made up of studio musicians, many of whom made up Desco Records house band the Soul Providers. a couple of them went on to form Antibalas with members of King Chango and other brooklyn based bands. Actually Musicawa Silt, the opening two tracks from the Daktaris lone album, was rerecorded in 2001 by Antibalas for their first album, Liberation Afro-Beat vol. 1.

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