Saturday, November 15, 2008

Album Review: Curumin-Japanpopshow

Japanpopshow, the new album from Curumin out November 4th on Adrenaline Records, could be the best samba-funk album of the century. Hailing from Sao Paulo, Brasil, Curumin embraces the many sounds to which he has been exposed to create an eclectic, consistently funky sound. Hip-hop, reggae, bossa nova, funk, and rock are all abundantly prominent throughout the album with certain songs featuring one sound more than another.

Curumin has been making music from a young age. He started his first band at 8 and was gigging regularly as a drummer in clubs across Sao Paulo at 14. At 16 he learned to play keyboards. Eventually he enrolled in music school and formed his first band, Zomba, which focused on Brasilian classic funk with dj accompaniment.

Chief Xcel of Blackalicious heard Curumin's last record, Achados e Perdidos, while touring in Brasil and brought him into Quannum Projects. Japanpopshow is the result. This album has one of most inventive, funky sounds of any I've heard this year. Curumin's playing at BAM December 4th; if you like funky, original music, check it out.

curumin myspace

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Album Review: Day by Day by Femi Kuti

Day By Day, the first studio album by Femi Kuti in seven years out November 18th on Downtown Records, re-established the prince of Afrobeat as a voice in the contemporary Afrobeat community. His trademark punchy horn lines and passionate vocals represent Femi's style having grown but not changed significantly. He still has his own style, his own sound, and his own message, different from his father Fela and brother Seun.

As the son of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Afrobeat pioneer, African musical icon, and international protest figure, Femi played in his legendary father's band, Egypt 80, from a young age. He later broke away from Egypt 80 to start his own band, Positive Force, which played at The Shrine, Fela's home club in Lagos, Nigeria, one night a week. Femi has long displayed his father's passion for social justice and political action, but has differed from Fela on many fronts including his religious views and AIDS.

A few of the tracks on Day by Day are studio versions of songs performed on Africa Shrine, Femi's live album and Concert DVD such as "Oyimbo" and "One Two". Almost every song on the album has a strong political message like "Tell Me" and "Demo Crazy". Several of the tracks have a soft, jazzy feel at times such as "Tension Grip Africa" and "Untitled". Using the organ, guitar, trumpet, and various percussion instruments, Femi creates a soft backdrop against which the powerful horn section of Positive Force clashes.

"Do You Know?", a track that starts off with a funky bass line and Femi asking, "Do you know Miles Davis? Do you know John Coltrane? Dizzy Gilespie? Duke Ellington? Do you know Billy Holliday?" has a particularly funky groove. The guitar and organ parts are emphasized in a sly, scratchy manner in the early part of the song before the horn section comes in as a whole and then solos. Femi has been honing his keyboard skills for the past several years. His progress is evident on this track as the funky jazz vibe furnished by the keys and guitar parts is especially accentuated.

Some of the tracks are studio versions of songs performed on Africa Shrine, Femi's live album and Concert DVD such as "Oyimbo" and "One Two". Almost every song on the album has a strong political message like "Tell Me" and "Demo Crazy".

When younger brother Seun released his album Many Things earlier this year, a lot of people in the music community were ready to forget about Femi. People were ready to ordain Seun as the leader of the next generation of Afrobeat. Seun and Femi are very different and Day by Day is a clear example why. Seun, playing with Egypt 80, is picking up where his father left off, playing the same style and representing Fela's legacy. Femi has never been concerned with being the next Fela. Postivie Force and Egypt 80 co-existed for several years before Fela's death. Femi has always had his own style and sound, and Day by Day is a continuation of Femi's legacy of originality.

Femi Kuti Myspace

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Budos Band Returns to SOB's-11.13.08

The Budos Band, a tight ass band out of Staten Island with a sound that's too funky for words is coming to SOB's next Thursday night. They mix Afrobeat, Soul, Funk, Ethiopian Jazz, and Rock to create a sound that's downright danceably funky with an attitude. Their music has been featured in movies, commercials and NFL films. It's the type of music you imagine playing when a bad-ass Latin mob boss walks into a crowded room and everyone makes room for them. They're on Daptones Records and part of the Brooklyn/NY funk scene that includes Antibalas, Dap Kings, and Chin Chin. They know how to bring the funk hardcore. Definitely a show worth checking out...