Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
|Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra|
Antibalas (Spanish for "bulletproof") is a Brooklyn-based afrobeat band that is modeled after Fela Kuti's Africa 70 band and Eddie Palmieri's Harlem River Drive Orchestra. Although their music uses afrobeat musical architecture and language, it incorporates elements of jazz, funk, dub, improvised music, and traditional drumming from Cuba and West Africa.
Founded in 1998 by Martín Perna as "Conjunto Antibalas", the group first performed on May 26, 1998 at St. Nicks Pub in Harlem at a poetry night organized by renowned visual artist Xaviera Simmons. Over the course of the next few months, the group solidified with a core of eleven band members and expanded their repertoire of original songs. For the first year of the group's existence, they performed exclusively at non-commercial venues such as block parties, lofts, and public parks, before securing a Friday night residency at the now-defunct NoMoore in August 1999. Called Africalia!, the residency lasted from August 1999-April 2001, when the club was shut down by fire officials during the Giuliani administration's crackdown on nightclubs and cabarets. Guitarist and producer/engineer Gabriel Roth wrote several of the earlier tunes and oversaw recording and production of the first three records.
Over the next few years, the band's presence grew; by summer 2000 Antibalas had released their first album "Liberation Afrobeat Vol. 1" and had toured twice in England, all the while continuing to play at venues throughout New York City. Recording with the group in the early day was Cameroonian drummer Jojo Kuo who can be heard on the studio recordings of "Uprising" and "Machete."
By early 2002, the horn-driven outfit had released their second album, "Talkatif," and were continuing to tour throughout the United States. In summer 2004, their third studio album, "Who is This America?" was released. Antibalas' most recent album, "Security", was produced by John McEntire and released on the ANTI- label in 2007.
Antibalas has performed in 23 countries, from Japan to Turkey to Portugal, and throughout New York City, from Central Park Summerstage to the Rikers Island prison facility.
The group has received guest visits from several musicians from Fela Kuti's Afrika 70 and Egypt 80 bands, including Tony Allen (drums), Femi Kuti (alto sax), Seun Kuti (tenor sax), Tunde Williams (trumpet), Oghene Kologbo (guitar), Nicolas Addey (congas), Dele Sosimi (keyboards), Ola Jagun (drums/percussion), and Jojo Kuo (drums) among others.
In the summer of 2008, Antibalas was featured off-Broadway in Fela!, a musical celebrating the life of Fela Kuti. The group arranged and performed the show's score of music originally performed by Kuti. In the fall of 2009, Fela! opened on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, once again with Antibalas.
- Stuart D. Bogie Tenor Saxophone (since 2001)
- Martin Perna Baritone Saxophone (since 1998)
- Jordan McLean Trumpet, Flugelhorn
- Eric Biondo Trumpet (since 2003)
- Aaron Johnson Trombone (since 2000)
- Victor Axelrod Organ, Electric Pianos, Clavinet, Electric Celeste, Synthesizers
- Luke O'Malley Guitar
- Marcos J. Garcia Guitar, Vocals
- Nikhil Yerawadekar
- Miles Arntzen Drums
- Duke Amayo Vocals, Congas
- Marcus Farrar Shekere, Vocals (since 2005)
- Michael Herbst Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
- Todd Simon Trumpet
- Anda Szilagyi Trumpet
- Mike Wagner Trombone
- Garbriel Roth (aka Bosco Mann) Guitar
- Del Stribling Bass
- Nick Movshon Bass
- Phillip Ballman Drums, first band Manager (1999-2003)
- Dylan Fusillo Percussion, Drums
- Fernando Velez Congas
- Ernesto Abreu Congas
- Giancarlo Luiggi Shekere
- Chris Vatalaro Drums
- Yoshi Takamasa Percussion
- Liberation Afrobeat Vol. 1 (2000, Afrosound, reissued by Ninja Tune in 2001)
- Talkatif (2002, Ninja Tune)
- Who is This America? (2004, Ropeadope Records; Daptone)
- Security (2007, ANTI-; Daptone)
- Antibalas (2012, Daptone)
- EPs and singles
- Uprising (1999, Afrosound) 7"
- N.E.S.T.A. (2000, Afrosound) 12"
- Tour EP (2002, Afrosound) EP
- Che Che Colé (2003, Daptone) 12"
- Government Magic (2005, Afrosound) EP
- K-Leg/R.O.C. (2006, Purpose) 12"
- Family Affair/Mr President (2006, Mind Records and Service) Split 7" by Antibalas/Psycho
- Rat Race/Se Chifló 12" (2010, Exactamundo Records)
- Albums featured
- Uninvisible by Medeski Martin & Wood (2002, Blue Note)
- Zen of Logic by DJ Logic (2006, Ropeadope Records)
- Return to Cookie Mountain by TV on the Radio (2006, 4AD/Interscope)
- Antidotes by Foals (2008, Transgressive/Sub Pop)
- Dear Science, by TV on the Radio (2008, 4AD/Interscope)
- Love This Giant by David Byrne and St. Vincent (4AD)
- Compilations featured
- Afrobeat . . . NO GO DIE (2000, Shanachie Records)
- Africafunk Vol. 2 (2000, Harmless Records)
- Ouelele (2002 & 2006, Comet Records)
- Red Hot & Riot (2002, MCA)
- Afrobeat (2002, Blow Records)
- Turntables on the Hudson Vol. 2 (2002, Musicrama)
- African Xpress (2003, Narada Records)
- Turntables on the Hudson Vol. 4 (2003, Caroline)
- Rewind 3 (2003, Ubiquity Records)
- Badassss Soundtrack (2004, Bbe Records)
- Afrobeat Sessions (2004, Sessions)
- Genocide in Sudan (2004, Reincarnate)
- ASAP Afrobeat Sudan Aid Project (2004, Modiba Productions)
- Essential Afrobeat (2005, UMVD Import)
- Impeach the Precedent (2005, Kicksnare Hat / Kajmere Sound)
- Gilles Peterson in Africa (2005, Ether Records)
- Let Rhythm Provide: An Emergency Compilation for Our Brothers and Sisters in New Orleans (2005, Ocote Soul Media)
- Snowboy Presents the return of the Hi-Hat (2001, Ocho Records)
- Daptone Gold (2009, Daptone Records)
- Fela Kuti
- Official Home Page
- Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
- Live at SXSW 2007 on 89.3 The Current
- "Music is Bulletproof: Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra stirs some political hotsauce into their musical jambalaya" CBC Radio 3 Live Concert Session
- Album Review for "Who Is This America?" from Afropop Worldwide