Chicago Afrobeat Project

Region: USA, Nigeria

The nine members of Chicago Afrobeat Project individually donate various influences and skills — funk, rock, jazz, afro-Cuban, high life and juju music – that help settle the group’s music into a hypnotic, dance-compelling pulse that is equal parts high-energy rock and experimental jazz.

Chicago Afrobeat Project Podcast

Chicago Afrobeat Project is a nine-piece band that broadcasts music more complex and less straightforward than its name suggests.

Alarm Magazine is quoted saying, “The unambiguously named Chicago Afrobeat Project has a reputation for being able to throw down on the live stage. The group’s multi-rhythmic sound is comfortably situated between jazz, Yoruban music, and Chicago dance. In their second studio outing, (A) Move to Silent Unrest, the group continues to put a modern and fresh spin on the politically sparked sounds of Afrobeat.”

As afrobeat’s tempting sounds continue their resurgence across the globe, Chicago Afrobeat Project remains true to its original vision of breathing the intensity of Chicago’s rich music scene into the infectious sounds of afrobeat. Rather than become caricatures of the genre, Chicago Afrobeat Project slips a reverent nod to the tradition while delivering an energized originality different from any other band on the afrobeat scene today. At each of its 100+ live performances a year, the group’s frenzied songs hit audiences with a big enough one-two punch to tirelessly knock them onto the dance floor time and time again.

When compared to other afrobeat groups, Nashville Scene commented on Chicago Afrobeat Project’s unique style: “they strip the music down to its essential components while retaining a grittiness that eludes Antibalas. The rhythms are snakier, the grooves funkier and the horn work edgier, creating a hypnotic space in which to get carried away—you might even get lost in dance, as well you should.”

The individual players, coming from diverse backgrounds, each hold their own as soloists that ultimately characterize the live shows. Melodic and hard-hitting horn lines create a lyrical flow to the music, delivered by a cutting, driven rhythm section dynamic. Complex call-and-response percussion songs are dispersed throughout the performances. At select shows, African dancers from Chicago’s Muntu Dance Theatre accompany the band. Added up, the music is packaged with original songwriting that explores the stylistic reaches of afrobeat and a few classic covers delivered true to form.

The group currently performs across the country from coast to coast with notable festival dates including Bele Chere Music Festival (2005, 2006) Wakarusa Music Festival (2006, 2008), Chicago World Music Festival (2003, 2006), Vassar College Jazz Festival (2005, 2006), Summer Camp (2005, 2007, 2008), Chicago’s Summer Dance Series (2005, 2007), and High Sierra Music Festival (2007, 2008). Also in 2008: Utah Arts Fest (Salt Lake CIty), Fest Africa USA (Baltimore), Muikfest (Bethlehem, PA), Marketfest 07 and 08 (Redding, CA). They also performed in a number of KCRW sponsored shows at the Temple Bar in Santa Monica and Yoshis in SF, headlined the Fox in Boulder.

CAbP was nominated as Best African Artist in the Chicago Music Awards (CMA) in 2004 and 2005, and was nominated for the CMA’s “Award of Honor for Contribution to World Beat Music” in 2006. As a natural extension of the group’s ability to connect diverse musical styles through afrobeat, CAbP has featured many notable Chicago guest musicians such as Howard Levy of Bela Fleck fame, Fareed Haque of Garaj Mahal, seven-time Grammy-winner Paul Wertico, Bobby Broom, Jeff Parker of Tortoise, Kalyan Pathak, Diverse, Ugochi, Morikeba Kouyate and many other Chicago greats.

• Chicago Afrobeat Project, 2005
• (A) Move to Silent Unrest, 2007


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