Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Funk Ark Begins Bi-Monthly Residency at NuBlu Tomorrow Night

The Funk Ark, the funkiest group of cats D.C. has to offer, are beginning a bi-monthly residency at NuBlu in the E. Village NYC tomorrow night.  They'll be rockin solo tomorrow night but will be incorporating members of the extended Afrobeat Blog family EMEFE, Superhuman Happiness, Zongo Junction and others as the months move forward.  I've long held The Funk Ark up as one of the most original, dynamic, funky-ass groups around today.  I've seen them live before, so I can personally attest to their ability to make people dance.  If you're in or around NYC, definitely go check them out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Macrotones Record Release Party at Johnny D's Saturday Night

The Macrotones, Boston's own homegrown afrobeat ensemble, are celebrating the release of the third EP, Darvaza, out December 4, 2012 on Music ADD Records, this Saturday night at Johnny D's in Somerville, MA.  The Macrotones have been at it for a while with their percussive, heavy sound driving dance floors into a frenzy.  Darvaza was recorded and produced by the legendary Sean Slade (Radiohead, Pixies, Morphine, Mighty Mighty Bosstones) and the Boston Music Award-winning Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Mass.  The record captures the 9-piece ensemble's dark and dense sound in a warm and gritty analog setting. The six meticulously constructed tracks move from traditional afrobeat to funk, to rock, to ethiojazz – and stay persistently infectious with chunky horn lines and pulsating percussion.  If you're in or around Boston, come get a taste of their new tunes live in person this Saturday night.  Then cop the record on vinyl, CD, or digitally on the 4th when it drops.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Zongo Junction Releases New Single in Advance of Tour w/ Souljazz Orchestra

Zongo Junction, one of the best young afrobeat ensembles uplifting the genre out of Brooklyn, NY, have released their new single, The Van That Got Away via their website.  Zongo is about to embark on a tour of the eastern and mid-western U.S. with The Souljazz Orchestra.  This a double-bill for the ages.  I'll be checking them out this Thursday night in Boston.  Get to a city where they're playing near you.

Nov 28 - Burlington VT - Higher Ground
Nov 29 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
Nov 30 - New York, NY - Studio at Webster Hall
Dec 2 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live
Dec 4 - Buffalo, NY - Nietzsche's 
Dec 5 - Detroit, MI - The Crofoot
Dec 6 - Columbus, OH - Woodlands Tavern
Dec 7 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
Dec 8 - Madison, WI - University of Wisconsin 
Dec 10 - Oberlin, OH - Oberlin College

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

E4RTH - It's Where We Live

This video from E4RTH for their new single It's Where We Live featuring Amy Douglas, White Lion and Amaze The Icon just made my day.  It completely speaks for itself.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Edem Drops Mass Production

Edem, Ghana's hottest MC reppin the Ewe people of the Volta Region, dropped his sophomore album, Mass Production, out November 12, 2012 on Akwaaba Music.  If you're looking to hear what's hot on the streets of Accra, this is it.  Perfect for your next dance party.

Africa In Your Earbuds # 31

It's been a while since I posted an OkayAfrica mixtape, so dig the latest in the Africa In Your Earbuds Series from Boddhi Satva: Ancestral Soul.  This mix goes deep, so prepare yourself for some afro-heavy soulful dopeness.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Brand New Life Comes to NYC

Have you ever dreamt of The Brand New Life?  Well, your dreams can soon come true.  The North Carolina based afro-fusion oriented ensemble is on a Northeastern U.S. tour and coming to NYC this Friday night.  Check out their unique take on the afrobeat sound at The Bitter End this Friday night.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Smoove Brings the Funk with First Class

Smoove, one of Europe's dopest beat makers, has put out a new album of remixes perfect for your next dance party on Jalapeno Records.  Featuring remixes of cuts from The New Mastersounds, Afrika Bambaataa, and a host of others, check out the comp and cop it at your leisure.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fangnawa Experience

Fangnawa Experience, out November 13, 2012 on Strut Records, is a groundbreaking fusion of two distinct African musical styles: West African Afrobeat, and North African ceremonial Gnawa Music. Originally brought together by the forward-thinking Détours du Monde festival in Montpelier, French Afrobeat collective Fanga and Moroccan master musician Maâlem Abdallah Guinéa have found musical common ground on their performances and recordings together.

Performed primarily in Morocco and South-western Algeria, a traditional Gnawa ceremony re-creates the genesis of the universe, incorporating trance-inducing music, a clairvoyant, incense, and ecstatic dancing in a complicated liturgy. Gnawa music mixes classical Islamic Sufism with pre-Islamic African traditions, and in recent decades has begun to be performed outside of the traditional closed-door ceremonies, to the wider Moroccan public, and to global music audience at large.

Afrobeat as a genre was born out of fusion.  Many in musical critical circles judge afrobeat projects based off the measuring stick of how well they are able to mimic Fela's Afrika 70 sound.  I would put myself into that category when I first started writing about the music in the early 2000's, but I soon discovered that most artists seek to create their own sound and forge their own identity.  Fanga is taking an immensely ambitious step forward in that direction.

Dig this short video about the project to get a taste.  Then cop the album when it drops next week.  If you like music that's unique, you won't want to miss out on this one.