The Afrorockerz

The Afrorockerz

Buda Musique, 2015

http://soundcloud.com/the-afrorockerz

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/20/2015

The lack of creativity in Afrobeat band names can be pretty funny: Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra, Afrodizz, Chicago Afrobeat Project, and The Afrorockerz (most importantly); however, the talent that is required to pull this genre off is absolutely nothing to scoff at. Like prog-rock, this is not music that gets created in a bedroom on a laptop; it requires some serious musicianship. The Afrorockerz is way more daring and creative with their music than they are with naming their band. On their self-titled debut, they dare to channel the spirit of Fela Kuti, and they do it righteously and impressively so.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The Afrorockerz will make Fela proud, but these guys don’t approach this debut effort of theirs as sycophantic enthusiasts simply trying to follow in the footsteps of their musical idol. They make this music their own. One facet of the band’s music is set in 1970s Nigeria; the other is set in the synth-dominated era of the ‘80s. When these two worlds come together, the result is a sleeker and more modern take on Afrobeat. On tracks like “Looking For Change” and “Time For Me,” this French collective sounds like a more soulful, funky, and jazzy cousin of Talking Heads. “Talking In Rings” sounds like a New Wave-inspired modern indie band’s take on African music, only that The Afrorockerz sounds way more tasteful and sophisticated than any such band ever would.

The musical mastery of this act is undeniable in the unique and amazing ways it reinvents a genre that would sound equally cool if it were played exactly the same way as Fela played it in the ‘70s. But what makes this band even more extraordinary are the vocalists, who add their own special flavors to the music: singer Allonymous has a certain ferocity in his vocals and he delivers them with the intensity of a slam poet. On the other hand, his co-vocalist Emma Lamadji is more laidback, and sings with the sexiness of a jazz singer, sounding like Central Africa’s answer to Ella Fitzgerald when she sings in her native Sango. The Afrorockerz is a perfect example of how the humble “world music” can make rock music look really cool.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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