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 29, 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 afrobeat 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 Up following suit.

“Highlighted Releases – Week of 9/8/2017: ‘What Goes Up'” from KFAI Minneapolis – St. Paul

This review appeared on the WFAI website.

It’s not just the twin cities that have been ripe with afropop revitalization the last few years. The band teamed up with Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen and a whole mess of Chicago emcees before tossing together this gem. From Nigerian phrasing (Igbo) to gospel, the vocals cover almost as many ranges as the music. As if this wasn’t enough, the cover art is also stellar. Get your feet moving.

“Chicago Afrobeat Project drops their video for “No Bad News” featuring Legit, Tony Allen & Kiara Lanier” from Fake Shore Drive

This write-up by Andrew Barber originally appeared on Fake Shore Drive.

This is dope and refreshing. Something fresh from the Chicago Afrobeat Project, featuring assistance from Legit storied drummer Tony Allen and songstress Kiara Lanier. The clip is well-played and focuses on choosing that positive energy instead of embracing the negative. I think it’s something we could all get behind.

Mention in The New York Times Playlist: “The Playlist: Sam Smith Guards His Heart, and 12 More New Songs”

This article by Giovanni Russonello originally appeared in The New York Times.

Tony Allen puts a lot of respect into each drum stroke. He’s not a quick or flashy player; with him, your ear zooms out slowly: The full structure of a beat comes into view only after you’ve appreciated its components. Mr. Allen, who was the de facto musical director of Fela Kuti’s band, now lives in Paris, but lately he’s been working in the United States more than usual. So let’s zoom in.

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Management:

Sound + Air Music Group
david@soundandair.com
312.404.4530

Booking:

Luc Parcell
Sound + Air Music Group
luc@soundandair.com
630.802.3685

Media:

Ron Kadish
rock paper scissors, inc.
ron@rockpaperscissors.biz
812.961.3722

Studio/Recording:

Kevin Ford
Fullerton Recording Studios
kevin@fullertonrecording.com
312.925.8979