Lagos by Bus | Cyberset
By BANNING EYRE  |  January 23, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars
The 11 California-based musicians of Aphrodesia are part of a new wave of US-based Afropop bands who don’t simply draw inspiration from recordings but are driven to travel and learn from their sources. The group’s principals are two women with experiences in Ghana and Cuba and familiarity with Shona music from Zimbabwe. Aphrodesia’s new CD commemorates the band’s collective — and intrepid — overland trip from Ghana into Nigeria, where they opened for Femi Kuti at the legendary Lagos nightclub the Shrine, home of Africa’s most widely imitated modern genre. Afrobeat, with its funky grooves, trenchant brass arrangements, and feisty call-and-response vocals, is the glue that binds these nine original tracks. But along the way, we get traditional mbira (hand piano) and guitar-driven boogie from Zimbabwe, an Afro-Cuban homage to the healing saint Babalu-aye, and, on “Everyday,” the two lead women singing in Ghana’s Ga language over a funky brass-and-electric guitar backbeat. The band are tight and fluid, and their command of far-flung languages and musical genres is sure-footed without being reverential.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Femi Kuti
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