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What I’m Listening To This Week

I have been slowly discovering Afrobeat. The grooves are mental. There seems to be a lot of improvising, weird snare patterns and generally the kind of independence I associate with playing Latin music.

I started listening to some stuff by Fela Kuti whose drummer, Tony Allen is considered to be a pioneer of the Afrobeat style of drumming. Back in the days of my misspent youth I remember Fela’s music being popular among people I knew but it didn’t draw me in.

Recently I’ve stumbled upon a couple of bands that I am liking. Don’t know whether they are authentic examples of the style or not, I have a lot to learn.

I’m planning on dissecting what the drummers are doing and teaching myself how to do some of it myself.

Ariya Astrobeat Arkestra are a British band whose drummer, Eddie Hick, plays with the great Saxophonist, Gilad Atzmon.

Antibalas are from New York. Their drummer is a guy called Miles Arntzen and he’s got great feel and a wacky style. It’s hard to play with the sort of busy intensity you can hear here and still maintain such a nice, loose pocket. Groovy.