About 1.5 year ago my friend Chris told me about a band called Antibalas. I fell in love with the rhythm, the chemistry, the wall of sound, the huge brass section.
While playing them at work one day, my boss asked, “Is that Fela Kuti?”
I said,”No, I have no idea who Fela Kuti is.”
Translation: It was almost like listening to Dark Star Orchestra without knowing who the Grateful Dead were – needless to say that moment opened my eyes.
Anyway, predating even Fela was Orlando Julius: A 1960’s Afrobeat pioneer. Orlando hadn’t graced an American stage in over 15 years, so we were quick to check him out at one of our favorite venues.
The Afro Sounds kicked off the show with some super simple tunes as Orlando walked up to the stage with a smile I’ll never forget.
Orlando not only played amazing music, danced in ways no 70+ year old man can, but told us hilarious stories about his career including writing for legends like James Brown and Hugh Masekela. One particularly funny story was when James Brown called him “bad” and he didn’t realize it was a compliment haha (WELL I THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY).
The set was short but sweet. The solos were fun and showed a variety personalities/backgrounds that made the band’s chemistry even more impressive.
I have to thank World Music Institute for their continued commitment to bringing the best of “World” music here to NYC.
“The World Music Institute was founded in 1985 and grew out of the concert series developed at New York’s Alternative Museum by its founders Robert and Helene Browning between 1976 and 1985. The Alternative Museum provided a showcase for people to experience many styles of world music in an intimate setting. Its concerts of classical Indian music, Irish folk music, and Americana such as blues, gospel and Cajun music are legendary. In addition, it provided a platform for many young American experimental artists and an opportunity for audiences to hear classical music of Persia, Turkey and the Arab lands, music of West African griots, and rarely heard music of Southeast Asia.”
Their shows are always tremendous and I recommend you either join their mailing list or like them on Facebook.