Akoya Afrobeat

P.D.P. (President Dey Pass)

by Brendon Griffin

21 April 2008

 

They’ve come together from the four corners of the Earth, but you could hardly accuse this lot of musical tourism. Subtle Latin-isms, shadings of cinematic jazz (“Wahala” would’ve worked a treat in the The Last King of Scotland), and some Bernie Worrell-esque squiggles aside, they keep the faith with a fierceness bordering on the Amazonian. A 13-piece ensemble dedicated to 13-minute polygrooves, Akoya Afrobeat follow the Kuti creed to the letter, right down to sleeve designer (Lemi Ghariokwu) and vocalist (Egypt 80 veteran Kaleta). A rolling percussive thunder clacking with needle-knitted guitar and a jungle of militantly choreographed reeds, this is call and response as high drama. Resistance is futile, and when veteran pan-Africanist Cedric “Im” Brooks relays the melody line of “Je Je L’aiye”, you sense that Fela, somewhere, is smiling his laziest smile, pulling shrewdly on a rocket-shaped roll-up in the knowledge that a fire still roars under his legacy.

P.D.P. (President Dey Pass)

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