arts & cultureCairns QueenslandEFFINCUE


TONY HILLIER CASTThis week we celebrate Afro-beat on Tony Hillier’s World of Music. It’s a powerful blend of traditional Yoruba music, jazz, funk, strong percussion and vocal chants.

Afro-beat became popular in Africa during the 70s, with the main driving force being Nigerian musician Fela Kuti. Fela was an extraordinary talent, and a musical and political force. He coined the term Afro-beat after touring the US with his band Nigeria 70. He used his music as a platform to campaign against corruption in Nigerian politics, and paid a substantial price for his activism. His live performances often lasted all night, and most of his album tracks ran ten minutes and longer.

fela1Fela Kuti sang, played many instruments, was a compelling stage performer. If you’ve never explored his music, start now at

Fela Kuti died in 1997.

JUNGLE40 years after it began, Afro-beat has a huge following all over the world and there are many bands playing the “real deal”. One of the best is Jungle By Night – nine young blokes from Amsterdam  who discovered Afro-beat a couple of years back. They’ve built an impressive sound in a short time, and were hailed by former members of the Fela Kuti band who saw them play as the “future of Afro-beat”.


antibalas - liberation afrobeat vol.1Next we hear Antibalas – and they’re the reason we’re talking about Afro-beat today – they’re playing tonight (Friday March 1 at the Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns. The band’s name is Spanish for “bullet-proof”. They hail from Brooklyn, where the band formed in 1998, modelling itself on the Fela Kuti band.

AUDIO Click on the red arrow to groove to fair dinkum Afro-beat on Tony Hillier’s World of Music.

Track List

Fela Kuti             Zombie – from the album Music Is the Weapon

Jungle By Night – The Past is History – from the album Hidden

Antibalas –           Dirty Money – from the Womadelaide 2013 compilation CD

Tony Hillier is one of Australia’s leading music journalists and a musician of long standing here in far north Queensland. His informed and insightful coverage of music features in The Weekend Australian and Rhythms magazine .

Tony Hillier’s World of Music is also available as a podcast. Search for Tony Hillier on your podcast app or in the iTunes store. And you can stay in touch with the FNQ music scene with Tony at

Follow and share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *