Article originally appeared in City Pages.
Well over a decade after Fela Kuti’s death, his influence remains profound, via Bill T. Jones’s award-winning Broadway show based on his life as well as by bands inspired by his signature Afrobeat, a potent mixture of traditional West African music, funk, jazz, soul, and rock. Chicago Afrobeat Project has been around for a decade, initially focusing on Fela material and then coming up with its own variations and working in fresh influences, like hip hop. CAP’s new album, Nyash Up!, is still more adventurous, the octet conjuring up Afrobeat covers of an eclectic array of artists, including the Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin, System of a Down, Brazilian singer Céu, and Marvin Gaye, whose “Inner City Blues” echoes Fela’s virulent political content. Also notable are fusions of Fela tunes with those of Fugazi and Radiohead. Opening will be the Dérobé Dance Band, a local 12-piece associated with the Secret Stash, and Impala Sound Champions. –Rick Mason