For a certain type of young person, Fela Kuti and the genre of Afrobeat is the gateway—the immediately powerful and gripping entry point to an entire continent—nay, a wide world—of new rhythms, politically charged songs and endless, endless grooves. That type of young person, often enough, is the type who moves to Brooklyn and starts a band, brandishing their influences proudly while carving their own space.
Two of the Brooklyn Afrobeat vanguard are rolling out with new releases as summer turns to fall in 2018.
Super Yamba Band hews close to the source material with their new single, “Mr. Diva.” Led by the dynamo vocalist Kaleta, the track gets down and dirty with overtones of Kaleta’s native Benin shining through over the whir of organ and horn hits. They tell us they’ve got a record coming out later this year, and an on-going tour, with dates listed below.
Underground System is on the move as well. In anticipation of their first full-length album, out Sept. 7 on Soul Clap Records, they’ve released a pair of videos:
I’ve been spinning the record around Afropop HQ, and while there are moments where the Fela feeling shines through, the record’s a pretty far cry from their more straightforward Afrobeat sound they were known for a few years back. Their flutist and frontwoman, Domenica Fossati, did a turn in mariachi band Flor de Toloache, but the new record feels more in the modern dance world—or one of its more “indie corners” anyway. Wherever Santigold hangs out.
Check out Underground System on tour:
9.7 TBD — Philadelphia
9.8 – Howard Hall – Washington D.C.
9.14 – Metro – Chicago
9.15 – Murals in the Market Block Party – Detroit
9.21 -Nectors – Burlington, VT
9.22 – Present Present Festival – New Lebanon, NY
9.24 – The Sinclair – Boston
And Super Yamba Band on tour:
8.23: Rooftop Films Presents at Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, NY
8.25: Barbès, Brooklyn, NY
9.7: Brillobox, Pittsburgh, PA
10.5: Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, Silk Hope, NC
10.6: Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, Silk Hope, NC
10.13: FELABRATION 2018 at Nublu 151, New York, NY