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.
Fela Kuti sang, played many instruments, was a compelling stage performer. If you’ve never explored his music, start now at http://www.fela.net/
Fela Kuti died in 1997.
40 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”.
Read more at http://www.junglebynight.com/
Next 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.http://www.tanksartscentre.com/home/default.asp 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. http://www.antibalas.com
AUDIO Click on the red arrow to groove to fair dinkum Afro-beat on Tony Hillier’s World of Music.
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 http://rhythms.com.au/ .
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 http://www.entertainmentcairns.com/hilliers-hotline-archive.php