As leaders of the non-traditional interpretation of afrobeat, Chicago Afrobeat Project marks 2013 with the official release of “Nyash Up!” the band’s fourth album and the best sounding release in its 10-year history. This latest work shows the group defining and redefining their signature version of afrobeat and stretches into new territories by incorporating elements of hip-hop, orchestra-like musical arrangement, and stylistic explorations of rock, jazz and funk.
Afrobeat has succeeded in establishing itself as a wide reaching genre with groups all over the world performing their take on the music first pioneered by Fela Kuti. The success of the Broadway musical, Fela! (and its recent take to the road) has made afrobeat a widely-known sound. Elements of the music are pushing their way further into more diverse and mainstream outlets with a widening array of successful artists such as The Roots, Janelle Monae, Vampire Weekend and drawing influence from the sound.
Chicago Afrobeat Project embarked as one of the first nationally touring American bands to take the sound to the masses. Over the years the band has mastered a sound that successfully weaves the uniqueness of the Chicago music scene with a distinct western-influenced Nigerian style of music. Last year the group performed with Seun Kuti (son of the late Fela Kuti) and featured Sahr (the original actor portraying Fela in the Broadway musical) as a part of the official Fela! musical kick off party in Chicago. In the past with artists the group has performed with notables such as Bill Kreutzman of the Grateful Dead, Jeff Parker of Tortoise, Paul Wertico, Steve Kimmock, Sugar Blue, Howard Levy, and many others.
In late summer 2013 the group plans to collaborate with master drummer Tony Allen.
Chicago Afrobeat Project channels this immense momentum to every performance. The band’s reputation as delivering a stellar live performance translates to group’s new “Nyash Up!” album as well, with critics clamoring that it’s the groups best studio record to date.