The story of Chicago Afrobeat Project begins a short 15 years ago.

In 2002, a group of musicians sharing a common interest in West African rhythms met to jam in a West side artist loft on Chicago’s Lake Street. Quickly they realized that mixing afrobeat with Chicago house, indie rock, hip-hop, or jazz opened new avenues for experimentation. Something clicked. The group had found a collective calling.
Fast-forward 15 years, hundreds of tour dates, and four studio releases, and the group has found ways of interpreting afrobeat through American urban sounds. Through it all, CAbP has been at the center of the emergence of the North American afrobeat scene. In its newest release, What Goes Up(September 15, 2017) the band features special guest and legendary innovative drummer Tony Allen, as well as many Chicago vocalists and MCs.

Allen, once exclaimed by Brian Eno as “perhaps the greatest drummer who ever lived,” plays kit on all 10 tracks, recording his signature beats behind the band and vocalists. This collaboration makes Chicago Afrobeat Project the first American band to produce a full-length studio record with Tony Allen.

Taking the vocal helm on the album are Akenya (Noname, Chance the Rapper), JC Brooks, Kiara Lanier, Legit (Chance the Rapper), Ugochi, Oranmiyan and Rico Sisney/Maggie Vagle (Sidewalk Chalk). The band’s new vocal-laden approach makes the songs of What Goes Up concise and intentional, and markedly different from CAbP’s prior recordings.

A staple of the American live music scene for years, the band’s live show now combines its historically instrumental style with the new vocal approach. Crowds feed off the spontaneity of the soloists and enthusiasm of the band.

Chicago Afrobeat Project has been a 100% independent artist since day one, with its new release What Goes Upfollowing suit.

“Tickling Our Fancy 053: Chicago Afrobeat Project, Deben Bhattacharya, Odd Nosdam, Širom, Nosaj Thing” from Monolith Cocktail blog

This article originally appeared on Monolith Cocktail by Dominic Valvona.

Starting life as a shifting collective of musicians jamming in a artist’s loft, channeling the fervor of Afrobeat’s progenitor Fela Kuti, the Chicago Afrobeat Project initially covered the Nigerian icon’s back catalogue before developing their own variant style. Transducing the sound of downtown Lagos and the Afro-Spot nightclub via the rich musical heritage of their own native metropolis, the group, now settling with a regular lineup, open the studio doors to embrace the city’s famous blues, soul, R&B, jazz, gospel, house and hip-hop culture.
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“Interview: Chicago Afrobeat Project’s Kevin Ford talks about upcoming album ‘What Goes Up'” from

This article originally appeared on

By Kevin Wierzbicki

Afrobeat music, a genre with its roots in Nigeria that was virtually invented by the late great Fela Kuti, is known primarily for two things: It is constructed of stretched-out grooves that put listeners in a mood to dance all night, and, because of Fela’s outspoken nature and his constant battles with authority, Afrobeat songs are also known for their no-holds-barred lyrical take on societal ills. Both of those qualities sizzle like the hot West African sun on What Goes Up, the upcoming release from the Chicago Afrobeat Project (CAbP).

In advance of the Sept. 15 release date of What Goes Up we interviewed band keyboards player Kevin Ford by email, and he told us about the making of the album, including working with drummer extraordinaire Tony Allen, who was a longtime member of Fela Kuti’s band. Ford’s insights below are given exclusively to

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“Chicago Afrobeat Project and Tony Allen ask What Goes Up” from Music Africa

This article originally appeared on Music Africa.

by Oris Aigbokhaevbolo

Chicago Afrobeat Project is set to release its fifth album, What Goes Up, on 15 September. The album features Tony Allen on each of its 10 tracks.

The initial plan, according to the band, was to record a couple of songs with the Fela collaborator and co-creator of the Afrobeat sound. That changed with a declaration from the drummer.

“We’re not recording two tracks,” he said. “We’re recording 10 tracks for an album.” With those words work towards What Goes Up began. The collaboration has now yielded what the band calls their “most musically expansive album to date”. The album, says the band, is the first in North America to feature Tony Allen on every track.

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