When Bill T. Jones needed a band for his Fela! musical, it was no doubt a no-brainer to recruit Antibalas (a.k.a. Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra). The large Brooklyn-based band has spent the last 12 years essentially paying tribute to Fela Kuti and the Afro-beat music he created. Who Is This America?, the band’s third album, was released in 2004 and remains the band’s strongest effort to date. On the leadoff “Who Is This America Dem Speak of Today?” they channel their inspirations with the greatest verve. Like Kuti, here Antibalas inject their political message into a miasma of funky rhythm and horn-punctuated groove so that’s it hard not to get swept away even when questioning American imperialism. More so than previous and subsequent efforts, on this album the band was able to tap into the power of repetition, developing each song at a slow build so that the groove perpetually grows. This motif is particularly noticeable on “Big Man,” which calls into question modern capitalism. So too with the 19-minute “Sister,” a repeating bassline woven with a piquant sax solo. America is the perfect Western version of Kuti’s vision, calling into question our government and economy in much the same way he once challenged that of Nigeria. Fortunately it’s not short on musical achievements as well.
Fuente: LimeWire Music Blog