#3744: Afrobeat, Afropop, & Afrofunk

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Hear Afropop and Afrobeat music from West Africa and elsewhere on this New Sounds, including new music from Malian desert-blues queen Khaira Arby, recent music from Afrobeat band Antibalas, and Mandinka pop from the re-united Malian supergroup from the 1960’s and 1970’s, Les Ambassadeurs.

Afrobeat music is a complex combination of Nigerian and Ghanaian highlife music, jazz and funk, some psychedelic rock, and traditional West African rhythms, usually played by a larger band with interlocking multiples of instruments in its service. It’s also highly danceable. Listen to music by Fela Kuti, the father of the style known as “Afrobeat” music, who repeatedly gave credit to his drummer, Tony Allen as well, for his work in creating the style. 

Then, listen to music from the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Brooklyn’s Afrobeat experts; their members served as Musical Director and Assistant Musical Director — in Fela!, Bill T. Jones’ musical based on the life of Fela Kuti. There’s also buoyant Mandinka pop from the re-united 1970’s trailblazers, Les Ambassadeurs, featuring Salif Keita. This outfit combined Griot music with Cuban rhythms, and infused it with a bit of American-style James Brown & the JB’s funk & soul. Les Ambassadeurs  have just released a four-song collection, “Rebirth,” reworkings of some of their biggest hits from years past. Sample new music by legendary desert blues diva of Timbuktu, Khaira Arby, who was one of the first women to break onto the music scene in Mali in the late 1970s. From her most recent record, “Gossip,” which she partially recorded while on tour from 2010-2012, hear “Chris,” in honor of Chris Nolan, Arby's tour manager and the man who self-released her debut international CD.   

Also, hear selections from the Amsterdam-based nine-piece Afrofunk band, Jungle By Night, from their record, “The Hunt.”  Plus, music by both Femi Kuti, oldest son of Fela Kuti, and by Seun Kuti, his youngest son, who now leads his father's former band, Egypt 80; Fela’s band was called Africa ‘70. 

PROGRAM #3744– Afrobeat & Afropop (First aired on 06/26/2015)              





Fela Kuti

The Best Of The Black President

Water No Get Enemy [9:52]

Wrasse Records 158

Les Ambassadeurs


Mali Denou [4:40]

World Village - #479113
available at Amazon.com & iTunes

Femi Kuti

Africa for Africa

Dem Bobo [4:39]

Knitting Factory Records - #KFR1113CD /

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra


Beaten Metal [5:53]

Anti/Epitaph Daptone Records - #68482

Jungle By Night

The Hunt

Empire [4:14]

Kudos Records KS 045

Khaira Arby


Chris [4:48]

Clermont Records CLE 011

Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80

From Africa With Fury: Rise

Rise [7:47]

Knitting Factory Records - #1110

Les Ambassadeurs


4V [5:15]

World Village - #479113
available at Amazon.com & iTunes