16 August 2010

Monday's mp3: The Budos Band

Where does Afrobeat end and soul begin?

You may ponder that question as you listen to the Budos Band. Having just released their third album, the NYC-based group is the heavy-soul sibling of Antibalas, the nephew you might say of The Daktaris. That earlier semi-mythical Afrobeat assembly (see "A Beginner's Guide to the Daktaris") was the seed from which sprouted a renewed interest in Afrobeat following the 1997 death of Fela Kuti.

Fela was himself influenced by musicians such as James Brown, so the who-was-first question between soul, Afrobeat, and funk becomes something of a chicken-and-egg conundrum. Let's just agree that the result is one tasty omelette of horns, attitude, and sometimes revolutionary social consciousness.

Another question, then: Can a group maintain some level of social consciousness doing Afro-soul instrumentals? Doesn't much of the power of folks such as Fela, his son Femi, Lagbaja, Antibalas and the like spring from their lyrics?

A shout comes from the other room. An answer to the question? She doesn't hear modern Afro-soul, but instead says "It sounds like you're listening to a Starsky and Hutch soundtrack." Perhaps something is lost without lyrics.

Still, I'm digging The Budos Band. They blipped on my radar only relatively recently, and while they won't displace the Afrobeat music in my collection, they've won a place with (from the new album) driving tracks such as "Budos Dirge," "Black Venom," and "Golden Dunes." The Budos Band III has a fuller, louder sound than their first album, and swings harder than their second.

The band is touring this summer (see schedule below); here's a taste of their horn-driven madness on a tune with an African name and some soulful Latinesque flute. Check it.

[mp3] The Budos Band: Adeniji
from the album The Budos Band II

More Budos Band:
Listen/buy The Budos Band III

The Budos Band 2010 Tour Schedule:
8/17 Phoenix, AZ Sail In
8/19 Santa Fe, MN Corazon
8/21 Austin, TX The Mohawk
8/22 Dallas, TX Granada
8/24 Oklahoma City, OK Conservatory
8/25 Kansas City, MO Record Bar
8/27 Denver, CO Larimer Lounge
8/28 Boulder, CO Fox Theater
8/29 Durango, Colorado, Abbey Theatre
8/31 Salt Lake City, UT State Room
9/1 Boise, ID The Grove Plaza
9/2 Eugene, OR W.O.W. Hall
9/3 Portland, OR Dante’s
9/4 Seattle, WA Bumbershoot
10/2 Montreal, QC, POP Montreal
10/30 Honolulu, Hawaii, Hallowbaloo Music & Arts
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