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Tuesday, April 16
The Indiana Daily Student

Quick Hits

An introduction to Afrobeat

A style of music originated in Nigeria by the late Fela Kuti, Afrobeat is gaining increased popularity in America more 30 years after its inception because of its irresistible mixture of funk, jazz and African percussion and singing. Here is a glimpse into a style of music that you might not have been exposed to yet.

Fela Kuti -- "Lady"\nWhere better to start your introduction to Afrobeat than with the pioneer himself? Fela's work was passionate, politically charged and ahead of its time. Many Afrobeat tunes, like this one, are longer than songs you'll hear on the radio, but improvisation and the elusive "groove" are important to the genre.

Femi Kuti -- "Sorry, Sorry"\nFela Kuti's son continues the Afrobeat tradition to this day. Though his music still has social and political implications, Femi Kuti's music is distinct from his father's. Femi has even collaborated with popular musicians such as Common and Mos Def, as well as had a song remixed by The Roots.

Nomo -- "Nu Tones"\nOne of the most accessible bands that has an Afrobeat influence, Nomo is heavy on percussion and has a sharp, powerful horn section. This particular tune even features an mbira, which is indigenous to southern Africa, though it is electric and amplified. Nomo's recorded work is great, but after seeing the group twice, I would say it is one of the most impressive live bands that exist today.

Antibalas -- "Sanctuary"\nAntibalas, an Afrobeat collective from Brooklyn, draws heavily from Fela Kuti's work. Its full lineup is 12 members, and it not only has made the rounds in America but has toured in more than 20 different countries. Antibalas has a great horn section, funky keyboards and smooth percussion. In Spanish, Antibalas translates to "bulletproof." This seems to be an apt way to sum up the band.

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