Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fela Kuti

There are few things that can cheer most people up like afrobeat. Come on- we've all been there: dancing alone in our houses to the trance-like rhythms, singing along to words we cannot audibly recognize or translate. It's fun. Never mind that many of these songs are fiercely political and speak of situations that most of us are too privileged to be forced to experience. But still, without knowing the message or the meaning, most can still appreciate the energy and emotion of the music.

Open & Close (1971)
I found this album used somewhere in California a few years back. Such a great record. Blazing horns, driving percussion, vocals that sound more like hollering than singing... It is a super fun album. Tony Allen (called the greatest afrobeat drummer, and by others the greatest drummer that ever lived) plays on this album, blending Nigerian polyrhythms with more straightforward funk. You can't not dance to this.