Friday, October 13, 2006
GEN X AFROBEATERS
The New Sounds and Faces
In my effort not to teach you nonsense, I have been also educating my self on Afrobeat. Ther is power in knowledge and Education folks (duh). I have learnt so much over the past week about this very important part of our culture that I actually feel like an 'expert'. Today's lesson is about Afrobeat in the 21st century. The soldiers who are now carrying the torch and the message of Fela to the young Nigerians and the rest of the world. But before we go into that we have to look back and see who the people are that set the pace along with Fela. This part of today, lecture is called Sankofa; looking back into our past and understand why and how we got to today so we can move ahead to the future . If there's anyone that I am missing from this list or if you have some inside story you want to share, please leave it in the comment section. If you don't participate, I will send Fela's Area Boys to obtain from you and you know what that means.
You know, Fela indeed is Afrobeat because as I was searching for people who may have been his contemporaries, I discovered they were all his former band members and friends. What a way to hold a monopoly....
Koola Lobitos was the name of Fela's band before he relocated to the US and changed it. They included Tony Oladipo Allen who was the co-founder of afrobeat and Fela's lead drummer. Fela once said, and I paraphrase without Tony Allen there would be no Afrobeat.
Dede Mabiaku was Fela's friend and protege and they had a some resemblance
Segun Damisa and the Afrobeat Crusaders who died July 17, 2006 was a Kalakuta resident
Lekan Babalola played with Fela as well, not sure if he fits under here, but his stuff is pretty good
The Future of Afrobeat
Femi Kuti was not the only one who is keeping the spirit of Afrobeat alive. Here are some new breed afrobeaters of our generation. They are helping to spread the essence of the music to a diverse audience. A Detroit newspaper calls them Fela's Children. A number of them are on independent labels so you may want to scour the internet or your local indy-music shop for their stuff. Listen to their stuff....do they match up (because none can compare) or are they just half bad.
Ade Bantu and the Afrobeat Academy. Visit the Bantu Crew website for more (psssst...hotness:)
Seun Anikulapo-Kuti and his Egypt 80 band (the remix)
Boston Afrobeat Society
Afro Beat Down
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
Ayetoro. Also visit his Myspace page
Chicago Afrobeat Project
I could not find many women who were band leaders. I guess that was not on the agenda, especially with the way Nigerian society is. And judging from some of Fela's lyrics and things that he has said, I can imagine him saying something like 'A woman does not play drum or blow trumpet.' Sorry if this offends anyones sensitivities but indeed Fela was an unapologetic chauvanist who objectified women. Interestingly his mother was the leading women's and human rights activist so I can't explain some of his positions. Anyways share your thoughts on this lesson and add any of the new generation that I may have left out. I will try to post pictures but now I have to run out of the house.