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World Music CD Reviews North American

ANTIBALAS’ AFROBEAT ORCHESTRA

By Ben Frandzel
Published February 17, 2006

Talkatif
Ninja Tune

This 15-piece, Brooklyn-based outfit has absorbed the sound and spirit of the late Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat idiom and whipped up a potent sound on this seven-track CD, their second for Ninja Tune. The group largely succeeds in absorbing Fela’s powerful legacy. All the hallmarks of the style are in place: the tight guitar grooves, high-powered horns, complex polyrhythmic funk, and impassioned vocals. The grooves are excellent and the band is very tight indeed, and this release is well worth hearing and dancing to, not to mention absorbing its liberating politics. The sound is so reminiscent of Fela, though, that during the vocal stretches, one misses his commanding, riveting voice. Otherwise, this hits a bullseye in its goal of adding to Fela’s legacy.