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Afrobeat is a combination of American funk rhythms fused with African percussion and vocal styles, popularized in Africa in the mid to late 1960s. Afrobeat's most famous artist is the Nigerian multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Fela Kuti.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrobeat

The musical style performed by Fela Kuti was called Afrobeat, which was essentially a fusion of jazz, funk and Traditional African Chant. It was characterized by having African style percussion, vocals, and musical structure, along with jazzy, funky horn sections. The "endless groove" was also used, in which a base rhythm of drums, muted guitar, and bass guitar are repeated throughout the song. This is a common technique in African and African-influenced musical styles, and can be seen in funk and hip-hop. Some elements often present in Fela's music are the call-and-response with the chorus and figurative but simple lyrics. Fela's songs were almost always over ten minutes in length, some reaching the twenty or even thirty minute marks. This was one of many reasons that his music never reached a substantial degree of popularity outside of Africa. His songs were mostly sung in Nigerian pidgin, although he did also perform a few songs in the Yoruba language. Fela's main instruments were the saxophone and the keyboards but he also played the trumpet, horn, guitar and made the occasional drum solo. Fela refused to perform songs again after he had already recorded them, which also hindered his popularity outside Africa. Fela was known for his showmanship, and his concerts were often quite outlandish and wild. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fela_Kuti#Music [Aug 2006]

The Revival

The year 2000's dopest flashback was definitely Afrobeat, the Nigerian-born funk thang coined by the late Fela Kuti. MCA rereleased 20 LPs of Fela's early classics to coincide with his son Femi's coming-out party, "Beng Beng Beng." And that triggered a rush of indie African groove compilations.

These sets didn't just collect oldies but also promoted Fela's 21st-century heirs, from his ex-drummer Tony Allen to new crews like Antibalas to remix experiments by Masters at Work. Afrobeat was heard everywhere, it seemed, from club DJ sets to coffee shops. So why now? Maybe it's that as acts from Moby to Groove Armada to the Roots learned to integrate the vibe of modern DJ music with live instrumentation, Fela's solar-powered polyrhythms proved to be a self-contained Ph.D. program. -- Wil Hermes in Spin Magazine


  1. Africafunk Vol. 1 [Amazon US]
    1. African Rhythms - Oneness of Juju 2. Ajo - Peter King 3. Hail the King - Wali 4. African Battle - Manu Dibango 5. Malik 6. African Hustle 7. Expensive Shit 8. Talkin' Talkin' 9. Megaton - Vecchio 10. Weya - Manu Dibango 11. Netsanet - Mulatu Astatqé 12. Racubah 13. Road Close [Dance Dub] - Tony Allen

  2. Africafunk Vol. 2 [Amazon US]
    1. Handsome Boy [Pt 1&2] 2. Ku Ka Maria 3. I Feel Funky 4. Time Will Tell - Ice 5. Anikana-O - Kongas 6. Nxambei - Vecchio 7. Nefertiti 8. Roforofo Fight - Fela Kuti 9. N.E.P.A. (Never Expect Power Always) - Tony Allen 10. Big Blow - Manu Dibango 11. Uprising [Pt 1&2] 12. Too Poo/Liberation Dues - Oneness of Juju

  3. Club Africa, vol. 1 [Amazon US]
    1. River luv lite - Oneness Of Juju 2. Shakalaode - Kenya, Wganda 3. Eltsuhg ibal lasiti - Daktaris 4. Karam bani - Buari 5. Rhythm on rhythm - Sookie 6. Cheetah - Mandingo 7. Soul makossa - Gaytones 8. Kenia - Mombassa 9. Silver black summer day - Living Funk 10. Ritual - Gomez, Nico Afro-Percussion Inc. 11. Jungle funk - Nkengas 12. Afro funk - King, Peter 13. Everybody's groove - Ashantis 14. Samba - Makeba, Miriam

  4. Club Africa, vol. 2 [Amazon US]
    1. Bananaticoc - Max B. 2. New Bell - Manu Dibango 3. Funky Crookie - Exile One 4. Long Ways from Home - Hugh Masekela 5. Jo Jolo - Peter King 6. Wuyé Wuy - West African Cosmos 7. Black Family - Roy Ayers 8. Let Your Mind Take the Place of Your Body - Living Funk 9. Precious Mother - Black Egypt 10. Ererimbot Ayafung Oko - Rex Williams 11. Takuta - Babatunde Olatunji 12. Simbarer - Antonio Carlos E. Jocafi 13. Dyambo - Hugh Masekela 14. Talking Drum - Africa Messengers 15. Mahlalela - Letta Mbulu

  5. The Shrine Presents Afrobeat [Amazon US]
    1. Fefe Naa Efe - Fela Anikulapo Kuti & Africa '70 2. Yčgellé Tezeta - Mulatu Astatqé 3. Watchi Wara - Bantous Jazz 4. Eje Kajo - Jimi Solanke 5. Funky Hilife - Carousel 7 6. Synchro System - King Sunny Ade 7. Yaba Funk - Captain Yabaa 8. Take Am So - Gyedu-Blay Ambolley 9. Wakafrika - Manu Dibango 10. Ashewo Ara - Kabbala 11. Zihlaula Mane - Kapa Dech 12. N.E.P.A. (Never Expect Power Always) [Dance Dub] - Afrobeat 2000

  6. The Shine Presents Afrodigital, Future Sounds From The Motherland (2001) - Various Artists [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Ariya [Afrobeat Straight Mix] (Nigeria) 2. Nimissa (Mali) 3. Comportement (Senegal) 4. Chicco (South Africa) [The African Dub] 5. Sorry Sorry [Old Skoo Afro Dub] (Nigeria) [Francois K Remix] - Femi Kuti 6. Lanaya (Mali) - Issa Bagayogo 7. Nakia [Alegeria] 8. Goor Fit (Senegal) 9. Carnaval de Săo Vicente [Body and Soul Vocal Mix] - Césaria Évora 10. Ékabo [Afro House Mix] [London/Mix] - Masters at Work 11. Leaving [South Africa - Dantai 12. African Loops [D'Ivoire, Cote] [Us/Austria] - Lukas Ligeti 13. Fété (Senegal) - Babacar Faye

    Afro-Digital--The Future Sound of the Motherland is a 13-track compilation from Shrine DJs, Nikki Lucas, Rita Ray and Max Reinhardt. Inspired, of course by Fela Anikulapo Kuti's legendary Lagos club, the trio have selected tracks that best exemplify modern African music. As the representative tracks are culled from well-known and not so well-known artists from South Africa, Algeria, Cote D'Ivoire, Cape Verde, Mali, Senegal and Nigeria, there's no defining style. The connecting factor is a deep appreciation of funk and flux. Tony Allen, Kuti's chief arranger and drummer kicks off the album with "Ariya", an afro-beat excursion full of fat Fender Rhodes licks, great drum beats and a wonderful scat vocal from the man himself. Thereafter the "Afro-Digital" journey manages to give us a little Wassolou diva business from Mali singer, Mamou Sidible, a deep hip-hop nodder from Senegalese group, Kantiolis and a jump-up house remix of Femi Kuti's "Sorry, Sorry" from French master, Francois K. Although names such as Algerian Rai purveyor, Cheikha Rimitti ("Nakhla") South African disco king, Chicco and Cesaria Evora (in a great Body and Soul mix of "Carnaval De Sao Vicente") appear, it's new names such as Viviane N'Dour and Dantai who really make this album swing. N'Dour' wonderful "Goor Fit" was apparently inspired by R&B singer Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody", and the Destiny's Child style soul of Dantai's "Leaving" shows why South African kwaito became the byword for cool in the late 90s. --Maxine Kabuubi, amazon.co.uk

  7. Nigeria 70 - Afro Compilation [1CD, Amazon US]
    1. Ololufe Mi - Koola Lobitos 2. Tire loma da nigbehin - Monomono 3. Chant to Mother Earth - Blo 4. Jeun Ko Ku - Fela Ransome Kuti and The Africa 70 (Chop 'N' Quench) 5. Ifa - Tunji Oyelana and The Benders 6. Ikon Allah - Bala Miller and The Great Music Pyrameeds of Afrika 7. La La La - Segun Bucknor and His Revolution 8. Shango - Peter King 9. No Discrimination - Tony Allen and his Afro Messengers 10. Akayan Ekassa - Sir Victor Uwaifo and His Melody Maestroes 11. Better change your mind - William Onyeabor 12. Woman made the devil - Bongos Ikwue Disc: 2 1. Alo mi alo (parts 1 and 2) - Orlando Julius and The Afro Sounders 2. Allah Wakbarr - Ofo The Black Company 3. Enjoy yourself - Sahara All Stars Band Jos 4. Dancing time - The Funkees 5. The Quest - Afro Cult Foundation 6. Greetings - Joni Haastrup 7. Kita kita - Gasper Lawal 8. Orere eljigbo - Lijadu Sisters 9. Upside down - Fela Anikulapo Kuti and The Africa 70 feat. Sandra Akanke Isidore 10. Agboju logun - Shina Williams and His African Percussionists 11. Ja fun mi - Sunny Ade and His African Beats (Instumental)

  8. Afrika Underground -- Jazz, Funk, & Fusion Under Apartheid [1CD, Amazon US]

  9. Osunlade - Paradigm [1CD, Amazon US]
    African inspired down tempo deep house. Featuring vocals from Wummi (Masters At Work), Fiona Apple & Socrates. Already on the playlists of Gilles Peterson & Kenny Dope. 2001.

  10. Femi Kuti - Remixed [1 CD, Amazon US]
    Femi Kuti is the son of Fela Kuti, in this 2000 project he is remixed by Kerri Chandler, Francois Kevorkian, MAW, Ashley Beedle, Mateo and Matos and Joe Claussell

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