Booking: Tom Baggott
Marketing & Promotion: David Glines – 312-404-4530
Short Bio: The Chicago Afrobeat Project began in 2002 as a group of musicians sharing a common interest in West African rhythms, and rapidly emerged as one of North America’s preeminent purveyors of the ever-expanding, tremendously influential afrobeat idiom. For more than fifty years, the music popularized by Nigerian musical and cultural icon Fela Anikulapo Kuti has inspired artists ranging from Talking Heads and Brian Eno to Randy Weston and Branford Marsalis. Following in this tradition of adaptation and experimentation, Chicago Afrobeat Project realized early on that mixing afrobeat with Chicago house, indie rock, hiphop and jazz opened new avenues for exploration, and hundreds of shows and four studio releases later, the group continues to find new ways of interpreting afrobeat through American urban sounds. Throughout the years, Chicago Afrobeat Project has backed Jeff Parker (Tortoise), Fareed Haque (Garaj a Trois), Howard Levy, Bobby Broom, and others, and have performed at large music festivals such as High Sierra Music Festival, Wakarusa, Bele Chere, Bear Creek and countless smaller festivals and world music events. Solidifying their status in the popular Afrobeat scene, and affirming their instincts for pushing the limits of the genre, their latest release, What Goes Up (September, 2017) features legendary drummer Tony Allen (Fela, King Sunny Ade, Manu Dibango, Ernest Ranglin) — the perennial backbeat innovator of the afrobeat sound— in his first ever collaboration with an American afrobeat band. This recording, which also featured numerous vocalists, including Akenya (Noname, Chance the Rapper), JC Brooks, Kiara Lanier, Legit (Chance the Rapper), Ugochi, Oranmiyan and Rico Sisney / Maggie Vagle (Sidewalk Chalk), continues afrobeat’s legacy of speaking truth to power with politically charged lyrics that address social and racial injustices, ecological crisis, freedom of expression and disillusionment in the democratic process. The band’s new vocal-laden approach, in songs of that are concise and intentional, provides strong context for the deeply rhythmic pulse of the ensemble, and fuels the spontaneity of the soloists, while pulling the audience deeper into the entrancing live show.