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World Music CD Reviews Africa

THE ALLENKO BROTHERHOOD ENSEMBLE

By Phil Meadley
Published April 26, 2006

THE ALLENKO BROTHERHOOD ENSEMBLE
Shanachie

Anyone lucky enough to have sampled the Allenko Brotherhood Ensemble from the series of Comet Records 12-inches will know that this is a compilation worth checking out. Based around the grooves of Fela Kuti’s celebrated drummer Tony Allen, France’s Comet Records invited some of the most versatile remixers of the day to interpret Allen’s funky drum patterns in their own style. The result is a fascinating melange of broken beats, full on Afro-flavored dance grooves, soulful vocals, abstract jazz and plenty of dub action. For 25 years Allen has explored the realms of jazz, funk and African rhythms, and even now continues to play throughout Europe and America. Here the likes of Tweak and Boozoo Bajou take the beats in a more obvious Afro-funk direction with a great deal of aplomb. Son Of Scientist and Unsung Heroes featuring Ty and Bries take the more abstract jazz-hop path while it’s left up to London’s Cinematic Orchestra and France’s Joakim Lone to take the grooves right “out there.” Elsewhere, Kirk Degiorgio takes his customary deep Detroit direction under his Off-World Ensemble moniker, while Jeff Sharel offers up the most intriguing and effective slice of future Afro-beat in his wonderfully driving “Afrocosmic Drums.”