Posts Tagged ‘Afrobeat’

with Very Special Guests: All Mighty Senators
and old school tunes spun by DJ Guilherme
Sat, March 10, 2012
In a city with a celebrated funk scene and distinct go-go tradition, Chopteeth’s brand of Afrofunk is the pulse of the city” –—Planet
Bursting with old-school big band power, Afrobeat crew Chopteeth know how to turn skeptical foot-tappers into shirt-whirling, wolf-whistling believers. Joined for a double-bill by Baltimore based All Mighty Senators who Billboard Magazine calls “Hot Hot Hot!”, no rear will be left unshaken at the U Street Music Hall on Saturday, March 10th, 2012. After picking up two Wammies recently (World Music Group and World Music Vocalist), bringing their total to nine, Chopteeth will be in a celebratory mood. This is their final area show before making their New Orleans debut at the Congo Square Rhythms Fest at the end of March.

The Washington Post hails Chopteeth as as “A sensation—the dozen-plus member outfit cooks up a scintillating stew of Afrofunk, rumba, salsa, ska and funk.  There’s no other band in the area with as funky and wide-reaching a sound.” Combine that with the Rock & Soul sound of All Mighty Senators for the evening and a party is brewing!

For Chopteeth, even a dance party can be a deep exercise in tracing musical lineages. Over  many sweaty gigs, the band honed a late Fela piece of fugue-like complexity (see a live video of Question Jam Answer) and spent months calling Nigeria to find an unsung master of African funk. They dug through record store bins, trolled the internet, and mined the vinyl of die-hard African record buffs to find lo-fi and neglected gems.

These gems harken back to the golden age of African pop, the 1970s. In rough-and-ready studios, musicians laid down heady mixes of James Brown-inspired funk, complex chord changes, and local rhythms. They reacted to soul and rumba, to jazz and rock, to harsh political realities and deep roots. Though some musicians of this generation rose to international prominence, many languished, only recently rediscovered by dedicated African music fans, labels, and collectors.

The band’s live vibe channels all the heavy-duty intensity of a good old big band, something increasingly rare in this age of mp3s and streaming files. “The truth is people don’t often hear big bands playing dance music live anymore,” muses Chopteeth bassist Robert Fox. “You hear a song like Fela’s ‘J.J.D.’ in person, and it just feels different. It’s a shocking experience for the audience.”

Check out this video of Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band performing Fela Kuti’s J.J.D. from the Rock and Roll Hotel.  Craig Considine, who will be performing with both Chopteeth and All Mighty Senators plays a killer solo on the video.

All Mighty Senators is a rhythm fused quintet from Baltimore, which has toured the United States and Canada extensively. AMS released their first recordings under Baltimore indie Merkin Records before releasing four albums under their own Dog Eat Dog Records to both critical and popular acclaim.

Their live shows, fronted by the charismatic Landis Expandis and guitar-god Warren Boes, have remained one of the most revered on the East Coast, and have established AMS with a diverse and rabid following, ranging from indie-philes to rave cadets to festival freaks. Their genre defying sounds have drawn comparisons to such disparate acts as Sly and The Family Stone, Frank Zappa and Beck.

Fela’s Afrobeat and All Mighty Senators have some unexpected elements in common: political ferocity, a day-glo intensity, and serious creativity. They both evolved in reaction to Western R&B or pop rock, and leaped off in radical (and radically different) directions.

Chopteeth and All Mighty Senators know how to meld the retro savor and the fresh take, with unrelenting energy and onstage flair.

Chopteeth lead vocalist and primary songwriter Michael Shereikis offered, “We’re really looking foward to getting back into U Street Music Hall with its slamming sound system, and just as psyched to finally be sharing the stage with Almighty Senators. It’ll be a wicked good time, guaranteed”.

Praise for Chopteeth:


Winners of 9 Wammie Awards from
The Washington Area Music Association:
2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 & 2007
World Music Group
Artist of the Year
Debut CD of the Year
2010, 2008
World Music Recording
2011 World Music Vocalist
A storming powerhouse of big-band African funk,
Chopteeth is smart, tight and relentlessly driving…a definite don’t-miss.” –The Washington Post
“Thunderous… potent.  Chopteeth’s debut CD takes the band from upbeat Swahili lyrics over a South African pulse one second, to spaghetti Western-inspired instrumentals the next.True to the political essence at the heart of Fela’s music.” –Billboard
Wonderfully fresh. With absolutely no reservations, this is an outright success” –Allmusic.com

“Afrofunk with lunatic energy.”— National Public Radio



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On Saturday, February 25 from 6 to 10 p.m., the YMI Cultural Center at 39 S. Market St. sets the stage for Asheville’s first Soumu, or in West African lingo, a celebration of dancing, singing, food, and music. The evening will offer a dinner of flavors from West Africa, including seafood soupe kandia and chicken and vegetable mafé, plus wines and beer from Pisgah and Wedge brewing companies.

Entertainment includes West African drumming and dance demonstrations, a performance by Belle Afrique, and music by Asheville’s contemporary Ivorian afropop ensemble Zansa, featuring members of Afromotive.

Tickets are $15 at the door, $10 for ages 12 and younger, and include dinner, two drink tickets, and an evening of culture and West African entertainment. All proceeds benefit Adama Dembele in an effort to help him get his permanent Green Card for U.S. citizenship.

Adama Dembele is a 33rd generation djembe player from the Ivory Coast in West Africa, who has performed with various internationally recognized acts on three continents, including Oumou Sangare, Angelique Kidjo, and Salif Keita. He has lived in Asheville for five years, teaching drumming workshops in town and across the country and performing with local bands, including Afromotive, Toubab Krewe, and Zansa.

Adama was a LEAF in Schools and Streets instructor in 2011. Other teaching experiences include regular drumming workshops at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, Stone Academy in Greenville, SC, and in Asheville at Rainbow Mountain Children’s School and Erwin and TC Robertson high schools. Adama is a cultural gem whose mission is to share his musical heritage. This event is an effort to help keep him here.Special thanks to our sponsors: Chef Abdoul, Pisgah Brewing Company, The Wedge Brewery, and the YMI Cultural Center.

For more details visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/218988491525299/

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Based in Asheville, NC, Afromotive is helping to start a new wave of uptempo afrobeat music– fusing West African rhythms, song forms, and instrumentation with funk, improvisation, and straight-ahead dance beats.

Adama Dembele of Afromotive. Photo by Jon Leidel

Adding to the experience is thirty-third generation djembe player Adama Dembele from Cote d‘Ivoire. He has toured several continents, performing with various major acts such Oumou Sangare, Salif Keita, Affou Keita, Sogona Djata and many others. These traditional West African rhythms combined with a mentality that moves beyond pure traditionalism and into new realms of musical possibilities is what Afromotive brings to its audiences. It’s a sound that crosses musical and ethnic boundaries.

On their debut album SCARE TACTICS, Afromotive takes the raw energy of their live performance into the studio. This album is an elaboration on the language of afrobeat music, yielding a truly unique sound that is rooted in tradition. Afromotive also released their single, SIMBO in 2009.

Afromotive provides unique exciting music to “dive into,” describes Afromotive bass player Ryan Reardon, because it is fun to listen to and dance with a strong rhythm and groove. “There is no separation,” he said. “If the music is playing, you’re dancing. It’s one in the same. We bring a dance show.”

Called, “an explosive, performance-based group that does more than just play a show. The Afromotive strive to create an event.” ~ Matthew Godbey- Charleston Post & Courier

Afromotive is: Adama Dembele: djembe, congas, timbales, vocals; Ryan Reardon: bass, vocals; Adam Chase: drumset; Ben Hovey: trumpet, synth; Jason Moore: tenor sax; Justin Powell: keyboards; and Andrew Robinson: guitar, vocals.

Show Details at a Glance:

Abella Café
Friday, October 29, 2010

9:30pm, 18+
204 Draper Rd
Blacksburg, VA 24060

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by Rebecca Sulock on 12/03/2009
click for the original article in Asheville’s Mountain Xpress
Related topics: music, Music, LaZoom, Afromotive

Photo by Jonathan Welch

Looking for a way to warm up this weekend? Get on the bus and ride out to Black Mountain for an Afromotive show on Saturday, Dec. 5.

The LaZoom bus will be picking riders up at 6 p.m. from the Wedge Brewery, ferrying them out to White Horse Black Mountain for the show, and bringing them back once the show ends at 11 p.m. For the ride, LaZoom will be the party bus: Riders will get treats, libations and entertainment from members of Afromotive on the way. Better than a sleigh. E-mail afromotive@gmail.com to make reservations. The show is $12. VIP tickets, which include the LaZoom shuttle, are $25.

Zabumba Samba Troupe will open the show, which will be Afromotive’s last of the year. Over the winter, Adama Dembele and Ryan Reardon will be heading to Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), where Dembele is from.

More on Afromotive, from Dreamspider Publicity:

“Afromotive is helping to start a new wave of uptempo afrobeat music- fusing West African rhythms, song forms and instrumentation with funk, improvisation and straight-ahead dance beats. … Adding to the experience is 33rd generation djembe player Adama Dembele from Cote d‘Ivoire. He has toured several continents, performing with various major acts such Oumou Sangare, Salif Keita, Affou Keita, Sogona Djata and many others. These traditional West African rhythms combined with a mentality that moves beyond pure traditionalism and into new realms of musical possibilities is what Afromotive brings to its audiences. It’s a sound that crosses musical and ethnic boundaries.

Afromotive provides unique exciting music to “dive into,” describes Afromotive bass player Ryan Reardon, because it is fun to listen to and dance with a strong rhythm and groove. “There is no separation,” he said. “If the music is playing, you’re dancing. It’s one and the same. We bring a dance show.”

Read Alli Marshall’s April 2009 story on Afromotive.

More info at http://www.whitehorseblackmountain.com.

Also you can find more info on the Black Mountain Music Scene

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By Dan Kunz

Center Daily Times– State College Pennsylvania

Friday September 18, 2009

Perhaps it was the complementary barbecue food. Maybe it was the crowd’s response. Whatever the reason, North Carolina’s Afromotive is back at Zeno’s Pub less than two months after their July gig. Electric bassist Ryan Reardon couldn’t be more pleased with State College’s reception to his group.

“This will be our third time playing here,” Reardon said. “We’re hoping for an even bigger turnout than the previous show, and the last one was great.”

Photo By Monty Chandler: Rhythm band Afromotive returns to State College.

Photo By Monty Chandler: Rhythm band Afromotive returns to State College.

As the name would imply, the band fuses traditional African folk music and rhythms with a jazzy funk twist. The sextet effectively channels Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti at his most vibrant and political, 1970s-era James Brown at his most brooding and militant, and, when trumpeter Sean Smith takes center stage, Miles Davis at his most exploratory.

“People were definitely enjoying us from the get-go when we began playing gigs in Asheville,” said Reardon, originally a native of Buffalo, N.Y. “I had traveled to Africa in 2001 and was exposed to Afrobeat and traditional folk music for the first time. It changed my life. I relocated to North Carolina from New York when I finished school. I just needed a change of scene.”

Among the musicians Reardon met up with was singer and percussionist Adam Dembele, a 33rd-generation djembe player originally from the Ivory Coast, who embodies the elements of old African griot storytellers and is crucial to the Afromotive sound.

“Music is in this man’s blood,” Reardon said of Dembele. “He brought an encyclopedia of musical knowledge to the band, as well as many songs indigenous to Africa that we perform in a modern style.”

So does one need to grasp the intricacies of jazz or the evolution of African music to fully appreciate what Afromotive is trying to achieve, or is this a group you can simply shake your butt to?

“Hopefully, the latter,” Reardon said. “If a band can pull of different complex musical elements — jazz, African poly-rhythms and so forth — and make it look easy, that’s when the audience can respond. I’d like to think Afromotive’s music is challenging enough for the serious music listeners who keep an ear out for all the different components, yet simple enough for the dancers who just want to get down.”

Afromotive will perform at 10 p.m. Sept. 18 at Zeno’s. Call 237-4350 for more information.

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Click here to visit the KDHX Blog and listen to the audio stream of Afromotive

Photos by Chabel Caler Jiménez

Photos by Chabel Caler Jiménez

North Carolina Afrobeat band the Afromotive performed live at the Magnolia Avenue Studios this past July, and Ebony Hairston, the KDHX Blog’s newest contributor, was in attendance. Photos by Chabel Caler Jiménez.

“Music is universal. I played with different bands, funk, jazz, mixed bands. Life is a big city and we are a village,” Adama Dembele of the Afromotive explained. Demebele, learned the ajembe from his father and has played all his life. He hails from the Ivory Coast and has been traveling with the Afromotive for around two years now.

Photos by Chabel Caler Jiménez

Photos by Chabel Caler Jiménez

The sound of this band makes you feel like you just took a vacation to a heavenly riot of drums. Its improvisational wall of sound features guitars, trumpets and keyboards. Coolest people ever; everyone speaks and sings in a multilingual groove. Thank you, or (E-ne-che) for taking time out for the KDHX audience.

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By Beth Ann Downey
Collegian Staff Writer, State College, PA

Posted on July 30, 2009 4:00 AM


Afromotive, a fusion of West African and funk musical elements, will bring its beats downtown.

Afromotive performing at The Vislulite Theatre April 16th 2009

Photo By Monty Chandler Photography

It certainly isn’t the ’70s anymore, but Afromotive will return to State College with its innovative music that originated in that era for listeners to judge for themselves.

Even though the band is influenced by West African percussive elements and American funk, Afromotive’s afrobeat music in no way labels it as a throwback band.

In fact, Afromotive, which will perform this weekend, doesn’t sound like any other ‘afrobands’ out there, bassist and percussionist Ryan Reardon said.

“Our appeal comes from the fact no one is playing like we do,” he said.

The band also provides exciting music to “dive into,” Reardon said, because it is fun to listen to and dance with a strong rhythm and groove.

“There is no separation,” he said. “If the music is playing, you’re dancing. It’s one in the same. We bring a dance show.”

The way Afromotive interweaves traditional African elements and James Brown-style funk with the band’s own spin is what gives the music a certain uniqueness even within the afrobeat genre, and this same uniqueness is what Reardon described as being a “driving force” behind the band

He added that many songs start with a simple idea that focuses on inspiring both the band and its audience. The band has recently released a new single called “Simbo,” which is available to download for free on the band’s Web site. Reardon said it is an “outdoor, sunny summer afternoon” kind of tune that draws greatly from the band’s African influence.

Reardon finds inspiration from all different aspects of life. He said he can go into his backyard and listen to sounds of animals and bugs and he also draws from seeing people enjoy the band’s music during a live show.

Ryan Knowles, saxophone player for Afromotive, said the most inspiring thing about the band’s music from an artist’s perspective is how “in the moment” Afromotive’s songs and live performances turn out to be. In his song writing and his performances, Knowles said he sometimes doesn’t really know what he’s doing or what he’s thinking about.

“I’ll write a song, and it’ll take a couple of years for me to have an understanding of where it comes from and what I was doing at the time,” he said.

The band doesn’t consciously pull from any sort of style, Knowles added, but the members will always just run with any inspiration or idea that crops up.

“Any kind of music I do, I always want to just express myself and represent where I am in my life,” he said. “I think we do that.”

Although he is not conscious of many influences, Knowles said the afrobeat style is where the band subconsciously draws from because there are Africans in the group. He said the band really displays both African and American elements equally, but that this fact does not constitute Afromotive’s music as world music.

“What makes us world music is an awareness of the universe and everything that’s going on in the world,” Knowles said.

Adama Dembele, a 33rd generation djembe player from Cote d’Ivoire, is a current band member that lends greatly to Afromotive’s strong ethnic background.

Knowles said Afromotive also previously had an African lead singer, but since the former singer moved back to his homeland, the band has “scaled down.”

Afromotive currently has no lead singer, and instead vocals are shared between band members.

Knowles said the band also used to have a full horn section that served as back-up instrumentation to vocals, but the fact that horns are representative of afrobeat music didn’t inhibit the band from ditching the section to help move the group into a new direction.

“We’re trying to hone in on what the core sound is,” Knowles said.

The scaleback has made Afromotive more of an instrumental band, but Knowles said the band doesn’t need the extra musicians and a big sound to make great music.

“I’m always trying to change things up and throw wild cards in there and have fun with the music,” Knowles said.

He added that the lineup of musicians currently in the band — which changes sporadically — is focused on the craft full-time instead of having major distractions like families and jobs, which takes nothing away from the band’s rehearsal time.

“I was sick of playing with musicians that weren’t full time,” Knowles said. “We needed musicians that really take it seriously.”

Even though Afromotive has gone through about 40 different musicians to find the rotation the band tours with today, Knowles said that most bands go through this sort of phase, and it was cool for him to see the evolution of Afromotive as a whole.

Reardon said the music stayed “cohesive” throughout the many member switches because the band has a core group of songs that hasn’t changed. He added that different musicians coming in with their own personalities brought different approaches to the sound of the band, helping keep the music “fresh.”

“We gave the musicians the freedom to do what they want to because that’s where the music really takes hold,” Reardon said. “You need to have a little bit of faith in them and trust their abilities.”

Knowles said different musicians coming in and out was a lot to keep up with at times, but it was also exciting for him because he likes “flying by the seat of his pants.”

“I like driving at night with sunglasses on and the headlights off,” he said jokingly. “That’s how I live my life. That’s what I think makes for good music.”

Although Knowles takes an impulsive approach to his life and his music, he said it also takes a great amount of precision to play the type of music Afromotive does. He said that upon hearing the band, it’s usually hard to predict what will happen from song to song, and that the music kind of “smacks you in the face.”

“It’s like a rollercoaster ride,” he said. “We want people all over the world to be able to grab onto it and enjoy it.”

He added the music does not speak to any particular demographic, and that anyone who hears it should be able to relate to it.

People from all walks of life are fans of Afromotive, and Knowles said he’s seen both the young and the old dancing to the band’s rhythm.

“If you’re playing music that makes people want to dance, they’re gonna dance,” he said.

Reardon said the band’s live show usually consists of the band playing “fast and hard” and encouraging the crowd to clap and sing along. He added the band had a lot of fun when they last played State College in May, and hopes Afromotive will have the same luck this weekend.

“When we bring a show, we want everyone to be with us in the same place and the same frame of mind,” he said.

Knowles said it’s become evident that young girls in college will dance to the band’s music, and pretty much anything else that “makes you move.”

“And as long as the girls are dancing, the guys are dancing too,” he said.

If you go

What: Live performance from Afromotive

When: 10:30 p.m. Saturday, August 1

Where: Zeno’s Pub, 100 W. College Ave.

Details: $3 before 9:30 p.m., $4 after 9:30 p.m., 21-and-older

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