As practitioners of a “non-traditional” interpretation of afrobeat for 15 years, Chicago Afrobeat Project continually reinvents itself within a genre first pioneered by Fela Kuti. The group’s latest studio release “Nyash Up!” shows the group redefining their signature version of afrobeat by incorporating elements of hip-hop, orchestra-like musical arrangement, and stylistic explorations of rock, jazz and funk.
The group is set to release its next studio release “What Goes Up” in summer 2017 featuring master afrobeat drummer Tony Allen. The vocal-hevy album also features JC Brooks, Kiara Lanier, Akenya Seymour, Legit, Ugochi and more.
Chicago Afrobeat Project and Tony Allen first collaborated in the summers of 2013 and 2014 on a series of concerts across the U.S. and studio work in Logan Square’s Fullerton Recording Studio. “What Goes Up” is the culmination of that collaboration and criss-crosses Tony Allen’s effortless afrobeat feel with hip-hop, vintage synths, raucous horns, slinky guitars, and a heavy dose of politically driven, Chicago attitude.
As a genre, elements of afrobeat 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. The band has mastered a sound that weaves the uniqueness of the Chicago music scene with a distinct western-influenced Nigerian style of music. 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 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.