May 6, 2002 |
The 14-piece Afrobeat group Antibalas is often known as a "jam band," but the musical concepts that underpin it predate this relatively recent phenomenon by centuries. The band, missing three pieces (trumpet, guitar and percussion) Friday night at the Trocadero, acts as sort of a "ghost band" for the music of the late Nigerian icon Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. And during the band's rendition of "Colonial Mentality," one of two Fela songs Antibalas that night, the group showed the ability to create unbelievably funky, danceable music from the Fela legacy.
October 17, 2003 |
'Little Ricky's," Rich Medina's weekly at Fluid, is a pinnacle already. As a DJ who pursues sounds off the beaten track, Medina is dexterous at throwing a rare Afrobeat track under the needle and then easing in something hip-hop from deep in the crates. So when the West Coast - Dudley Perkins, Wildchild and DJ Romes - storms through the cozy spot Monday for the Stones Throw tour, it will be, well, fresh, to borrow one of the best adjectives from the '80s. Who knows what will come from Perkins' mouth as his new album, A Lil' Light, seems freestyle straight through.
August 12, 2012
Pop Spirit in the Room (Island ***1/2) Even when he became a big pop star and the quintessential Las Vegas showman in the '60s, with hits such as "It's Not Unusual" and "What's New Pussycat," Tom Jones was a more than credible singer of blues and R&B. It's a talent he revealed again on 2010's great, gospel-drenched Praise and Blame , and more recently on his Jack White-produced cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Evil. " On Spirit in the Room , the 72-year-old Welshman tackles bluesman Blind Willie Johnson's "Soul of a Man," but he also ventures into different territory.
March 18, 2012 |
Finally, Fela! is coming to Philadelphia. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the larger-than-life Nigerian musician and political firebrand who died in 1997, performed in Philadelphia twice with his band Egypt 80, at the Trocadero in 1986 and the Chestnut Cabaret in 1989. But Fela! - the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical based on the life of the charismatic creator of the music known as Afrobeat and the show that brought African music and dance to the Great White Way in 2009-10 under the direction of innovative choreographer Bill T. Jones - is arriving in Philadelphia just this week.
July 16, 2009 |
Talking drums along the Delaware, beguiling splashes of West African guitar and keyboard, intoxicating vocal melodies in mellifluous Yoruban wafting up the sloping green hill where an appreciative crowd took it all in, a postcard-perfect summer sunset backdrop of Philadelphia across the water - only a serious killjoy could find much fault in the 100-minute set of Nigeria's King Sunny Ad? at Camden's Wiggins Park Riverfront Stage on Tuesday. Born 62 years ago as Sunday Adenyi, the easygoing Ad? spoke only a few words in English but handily communicated through both language-transcending exuberance and subtlety, proving anew his mastery of the juju genre.
March 15, 2013
Friday-Saturday Guitar man Deft and dapper guitarist Pat Martino joins standout tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander for a two-night, four-set stint at Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St. Admission: $35 early, $30 late. Times: 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Information: 215-568-3131. Friday-Sunday Music over guns Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis based their musical Fela! on the life of Afrobeat singer Fela Kuti in the late 1970s, when Nigeria's military dictator sent soldiers to attack the performer's Lagos home and nightclub.
March 25, 2012 |
Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the Nigerian bandleader and political firebrand whose life and legacy are celebrated in Fela! , the Broadway musical that completes its eight-show run at the Academy of Music with two performances Sunday, is a singular figure in pop-music history. As an artist, Fela - who's best known mononymously, like Madonna or Adele - continually expressed his contempt for the military dictatorship of his own country, as well for what he saw as the rapacious colonialism of Western business interests.
July 30, 2010 |
POP . . . plus Our scene opens in Topeka, Kansas, where a teenage Andy McKee starts taking guitar lessons at Steam Music, then a year later takes over as teacher. A tiny record label discovers him and posts a performance video ("Drifting") on YouTube. Soon it's on the site's home page and racking up hits by the millions (78 mill at recent count), and the guy's getting offers to play from as far away as Taiwan. One of those virtuoso new age/fusion pickers (Eric Johnson, Michael Hedges and the dude from Dream Theater are often name-checked)
March 13, 2013
YOU HEARD IT here first, people: Destiny's Child's Michelle Williams may very well be psychic. Bear with me now. Williams, who is starring in "Fela!" at the Merriam Theater starting Tuesday and running through Sunday, became a fan of Fela Kuti 's music about five years ago through a friend. "I love the groovy music where the bass could go on for hours," Williams told me. So, she started researching as much as she could about the Afrobeat musician and political activist.
June 21, 2002 |
Trey Anastasio is in an African mood. Yet the guitarist and singer - touring solo while his band, Phish, is on hiatus - doesn't necessarily want his music to sound African. But with this side project, a 10-piece band he'll bring to the Tweeter Center tonight, he's striving for the kind of rhythmic lock, and boisterous interaction, that are hallmarks of the bands of Nigerian juju master King Sunny Ade, or late Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. "What I wanted was a high-energy band that was horn-driven but also a tapestry, with many layers and everybody playing at the same time," Anastasio said earlier this week from a tour stop in Connecticut.