10 Essential New York Artists: # 7 Antibalas
The News: The new Antibalas record, Where The Gods Are At Peace , will be out September 15th! Catch them on the 14th at Gramercy Theatre.
Antibalas has been an essential NYC band since they came together around the turn of the century. In February of 2016, in a monthly series of concerts, they were unveiling new material, cross-pollinating with some guests like Angelique Kidjo. and basically opening up the well-oiled, high-powered machine that is their twelve piece band.
In the video above, Martin Perna and frontman Amayo discuss the residency and the polyrhythmic ecstasy that is Afrobeat but also compare it, somewhat surprisingly, to being in a military unit. That analogy speaks to the discipline that the form demands of its players.
Martin and Amayo were generous with their time at a practice space in Williamsburg the afternoon before one of their Brooklyn Bowl shows so I’m happy to offer the bonus vid below. Enjoy the fellas speaking about James Brown influencing Fela Kuti or the other way around as well as the origins of Antibalas, the connections with Mark Ronson, Gabriel Roth, The Dap-Kings, and the first Daptone Records’ studios on 340 Grand Street (also in Williamsburg).
Go to #8 Talib Kweli