The Chicago Afrobeat Project will play a FREE show at Brothers Drake on Saturday, December 20th, starting around 10pm. Founded in Chicago in 2002, the group has released four full-length albums and toured the country with its own interpretation of afrobeat, “a combination of traditional Nigerian and Ghanaian music, jazz, highlife, funk, and chanted vocals, fused with percussion and vocal styles,” popularized by Nigerian legend Fela Kuti and others starting in the 1970s. Chicago Afrobeat Project’s status in the music world has risen to the point that they have toured recently with Fela’s original drummer, Tony Allen, and are currently working on a collaborative album with Allen that is slated for release in 2015. Their 2013 album Nyash Up! featured further injections of hip-hop, rock, jazz, and funk while covering artists ranging from Marvin Gaye to System of a Down. The group is also known for its energetic live show, which is sure to result in a reverberating dance party in the meadery on Saturday. Keep reading for a couple videos of the band, as well as further information on their resume:
Since its birth from Chicago’s underground art and loft party scene more than 10 years ago, Chicago Afrobeat Project has performed coast to coast at clubs and festivals across the United States.
The release of Nyash Up! – the band’s fourth official album project – puts its best sounding, best produced music on center stage. Over the years the group has defined and redefined their signature version of afrobeat. Their latest work is reaching into new territories incorporating elements of hip-hop, orchestra-like musical arrangement, and exciting stylistic exploration touching on rock, jazz and funk. The 8-piece group is established as one of the top bands in the afrobeat world.
Afrobeat has succeeded in establishing itself as a wide reaching genre with groups all over the world performing their take on the music first pioneered by Fela Kuti. The success of the Broadway musical, Fela! (and its recent take to the road) has made afrobeat a widely-known sound. Elements of the music are pushing their way further into more diverse and mainstream outlets with a widening array of successful artists (including pop and major label groups) drawing influence from it.
Chicago Afrobeat Project has risen among afrobeat groups after emerging as one of the first nationally touring American bands to take the sound to the masses. Over the years the band has mastered a sound that successfully weaves the uniqueness of the Chicago music scene with a distinct Nigerian style of music.
In the summers of 2013 and 2014 the band collaborated with drummer Tony Allen, Fela Kuti’s drummer for the first 15 years, and is expecting to produce a fully album with Tony on kit in early 2015.
The group has performed with Seun Kuti on numerous occasions, Bill Kreutzman of the Grateful Dead, Jeff Parker of Tortoise, Steve Kimmock, Paul Wertico, Howard Levy, and too many others to list.
Chicago Afrobeat Project takes this immense momentum wherever they travel. The band’s reputation as delivering a stellar live performance translates to group’s new Nyash Up! album as well, with critics already clamoring that it’s the groups best studio record to date.