Navigating the Arts Vol. 7 – An intro to Afrobeat

I’ve been slowly creeping into the Afrobeat world lately (at least in Cleveland).  It all started when I went to the Femi Kuti concert at Beachland Balllroom a couple of years back.  We were straight up blown away by the sights and sounds.  It was colorful and loud, but that was okay because there were about 20 people on stage, from the rhythm section to the singers and dancers to the horn players to the auxiliary.  I felt like I was on the mother continent; it was hot and the music was pumping!

So, since then I went to see the Fela Broadway musical and man, what an evening.  Fela was off the chart good.  I must admit, I was rushing because I got off work late and couldn’t pick out the right Afro garb – it was a special event you know?!?  Of course someone was mad because I was late.   After rushing in the theatre, we quickly found or seats and for the next two hours took a journey into the musical, political, spiritual world of Afrobeat and its origins.  I just found out most recently that my cousin Eddie once spent quite a bit of time with Fela Kuti in Nigeria.  I was like, you have got to be kidding me!!!

Well, just so happens that now I have performed in the genre twice (to date) with Fiscal Spliff out of Cleveland.  What an amazing time we’ve had, with more to come!  We played at Take 5 in downtown Cleveland last evening, and got some wonderful reviews form the audience.  It was simply exhilarating, so much fun.  I played percussion:  congas, bongos, etc.  We actually have another performance in the next weeks.  I can’t wait!

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