Album Review

Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra – Government Magic – [Afrosound]

Hunter Gatherer   12/18/2005   A Library, CD

The Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra is a band from Brooklyn with about 15 members, politics slightly to the left of left, and a sound from Fela Kuti‘s Africa. This is a limited release EP (available only on their web site and at shows) that came out mid-2005.

4 of the 5 tracks on this CD are new. Track 4 is a re-release of Che Che Cole (Makossa) sung by Mayra Vega and originally released as a 12″ single on Daptone Records. In this track, African, Cuban, latin styles, call and response, waka-waka guitar, etc. are spun together. Willie Colon originally did this track.

Title track (2) has a more traditional Afrobeat sound and length (10 minutes). In the lyrics the American government is cast as a sort of a trickster god who can perform magic like make your coins disappear and make you see things that aren’t there. Not quite as incendiary as the tracks on Who Is This America?, but it gets its point across nicely.

Track 5 is a dub version of the first track. Get your ‘and now the dub version? stingers ready.

Their trombone player, Aaron Johnson, plays some very tasty solos on this release.

–Hunter Gatherer

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