Results for Fela Kuti

interviews

Chris Jones

Chris Jones In anticipation of this weekend's Tony Awards, Jim and Greg invite Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones to join them on the show. Jones has been watching the trend of intersecting rock and theater for years, and this year it seems to have come to an apex. All four of the nominees for Best Musical have rock roots: American Idiot, which features music by Green Day, Million Dollar Quartet, which is inspired by the famed recording session featuring Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, Fela!, which is based on the music of African musician Fela Kuti, and Memphis, which tells the story of a rock DJ in Memphis in the 1950s. As Chris Jones explains, much of this trend is the result of economic interests–a new generation of theatergoers raised on rock and roll are now willing to pay big bucks for Broadway shows. He also credits shows like Spring Awakening for helping to bend the old musical rules. To Jim and Greg's surprise, Chris enthusiastically recommends American Idiot and doesn‘t think the band’s fans will be put off.

Go to episode 237

Antibalas

Jim and Greg are joined by Antibalas, a Brooklyn-based afrobeat band. The 12-piece group has specialized in socially aware horn-heavy music inspired by afrobeat artists like Fela Kuti. They've recorded 6 albums, and have also collaborated with other artists like Mark Ronson and The Dap-Kings. The group spoke with Jim and Greg about the messages in their music, notable collaborations, and about how the changing music industry has impacted a band their size.

Go to episode 642
reviews
44 available on iTunes

Beyoncé 4

Beyoncé's got her fourth album and her fourth number one…aptly named 4. With this record, she's earned her stripes, so rumors swirled that she was indulging her whims production-wise by collaborating with Diplo and Fela Kuti and recording upwards of seventy songs. But,rumors were just that, and of those seventy tracks, Beyoncé picked some doozies. Greg hears more soul on the ballads, but otherwise is disappointed by the hodge podge of bad choices. Jim can't even get behind the ballads and calls 4 the epitomy of factory-made pop product. 4 = 2 Trash Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 293
SecuritySecurity available on iTunes

Antibalas Security

Antibalas, formerly Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, also has a new album out entitled Security. The Brooklyn-based band, who often plays in the same musical circles as TV on the Radio, modeled itself after Fela Kuti's Africa 70 band. Greg describes them as a true musical collective, and really enjoyed the fiery, polyrhythmic first half of the record. He thinks the second half is a little too subdued, and too controlled however, and can only give Security a Burn It. Jim blames that level of control and“sterility”on producer John McEntire, of Tortoise. He calls Security the coolest album that McIntyre has produced to date, but wishes it was a little more accessible, and a little less“skronky.”He also gives it a Burn It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 68
lists

Greg's SXSW 2019 Recap

Instagram/Cimafunk

The 32nd South By Southwest festival wrapped up last weekend in Austin, Texas. The music industry spring break has long been one of the best places to discover ambitious new bands for record labels, managers, promoters and critics. Jim was sad to miss the event for the first time in 27 years, but was eager to hear what Greg learned while down south.

Greg was happy to report that after years of expansion (the film and tech conferences are in some ways bigger newsmakers now) and over-the-top corporate presence (Doritos vending machine stage, anyone?), the music festival was scaled-back this year. There was less focus on major stars and more emphasis on acts from around the world.

The decline in corporate influence at SXSW could be heard in the keynote address from T. Bone Burnett, the producer of many Coen brothers film soundtracks. He didn't hold back, claiming that tech companies like Facebook and Google were a threat to our humanity.

"To stay human, to survive as a species, we have to wrest our communications out of the control of the lust for power, the avarice, larceny, hubris, deceit, and self-delusion of the heads of Google and Facebook. I am confident that we can do this," Burnett said.

Greg juxtaposed Burnett's comments against a panel with Nile Rodgers on songwriting as an investment. In that discussion Rodgers' business partner made a plea to keep streaming platforms like Spotify alive until they can become worldwide platforms despite the low dividends they provide artists now.

As for new music discoveries, Greg shared three:

  • Cimafunk, a project of Erik Alejandro Rodriguez that blends Afro-Cuban polyrhythms with Fela Kuti trance vibes.
  • Trupa Trupa, a Polish band he saw last year at SXSW and signed to Sub Pop Records as a result of that visit.
  • Tasha, a Chicago-based solo artist with radiant stage presence who reminded Greg of the folk soul movement of the 1960s and 70s.
Go to episode 695
news

Music News

The verdict is in: three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been found guilty of "hooliganism" and are sentenced to two years in prison. Pussy Riot caught international notice when they performed their song "Punk Prayer" in Moscow's foremost Orthodox Cathedral in February, calling upon the Virgin Mary to“banish Putin.”The Russian government responded with a Soviet-style show trial, making Pussy Riot the darlings of the West. Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney, and Madonna are just a sampling of the pop music illuminati who have publicly supported the group. Jim's impressed that in 2012, punk music still has the power to seriously rile governments. To those who think rock music is just entertainment, he says,“think again.”Greg points out that Pussy Riot aren't the first musical act to suffer serious consequences for politically charged music. They join a list that also includes Fela Kuti, Gilberto Gil, and The Plastic People of the Universe.

In other news, the RIAA's profits are way down according to their latest tax filings. Membership dues from the major labels fell 50% in two years, reflecting the hemorrhaging of the industry as a whole. Unsurprisingly, the RIAA's executives are still doing just dandy. President Carey Sherman and VP Mitch Bainwol each pulled down million-plus salaries last year.

Go to episode 352