Until the 2001 release of Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump, a compilation of West African funk, most of us in the States had no idea the art form wed invented had been perfected overseas. In short, theres a reason why more than 27 women signed up to marry Afrobeat founder Fela Kuti nowhere else can you find such a vicious mix of rhythm and political message. Listen to Zombie once and, if youve ever played a horn instrument, youll be hit with the urge to drop everything and move to Accra.
Now, a new generation of American musicians is fighting to keep the Afrobeat style alive. Among the best is the Budos Band, an 11-member instrumental outfit that doesnt set crowds on fire; it just pours the gasoline and waits for the people to immolate themselves. Props to the good folks at the Rhythm Foundation and the Heineken TransAtlantic Festival for bringing these axe men to the North Beach Bandshell and providing a breather from the constant DJ onslaught that shapes our musical culture.
Fri., April 24, 7 p.m., 2009