Founded in the 1960s, Afrobeat is a fusion of West African musical genres (Yoruba, highlife, funk, jazz, soul, etc.) with a focus on chanting vocals, complex interlocking rhythms, and percussion. It was popularized in Nigeria and beyond by Fela Kuti in the 1970s.

What is Afrobeats? Afrobeats is a sound that originates in West Africa. It is an eclectic mix of genres (i.e. hip hop/house/jùjú/ndombolo/r&b/ska). Although often confused with Afrobeat, it is not the same. Who is Seun Kuti? When performing Afrobeat. Afrobeat originated in Nigeria at the end of the 1960s, when Fela and his drummer Tony Allen experimented with various contemporary music styles of the period. Kuti was influenced by many different genres, including highlife and fuji, as well as by Yoruba vocal styles, rhythm and instruments.[1][2][3] At the end of the 1950s, he left Nigeria to study at London’s School of Music, where he was introduced to jazz. Returning to Lagos in 1969, he played a mixture of highlife and jazz, but without any commercial success.[4] In 1969, he went on a tour of the United States with his band, where he met singer and ex-Black Panther Sandra Smith, who introduced him to many of the writings of African-American activists, including those of Malcolm X. As a result of his frequent visits to Smith’s house, he began to rethink his music. Smith would keep him up to date on current events, and he would teach her about African culture.
Jazz musicians have long been drawn to Afrobeat, from Roy Ayers of the 1970s and Randy Weston of the 1990s, who collaborated on albums such as ‘Africa: centre of the world’ by Roy Ayers (Polydore, 1981). In 1994, the American saxophonist Branford Marsalis used samples of Fela’s ‘Beasts of no Nation’ on his album ‘Buckshot leFonque’. The influence of Afrobeat on important [according to whom?] producers and musicians, including Brian Eno, David Byrne, and Fela Kuti, has been well-documented. Eno and Fela collaborated on the 1980 album ‘Remain in Light’ by the Talking Heads, which introduced polyrhythmic afrobeat to Western music. The new generation of DJs/musicians of the 2000s, who are in love with both ‘Kuti’s music and other rare releases, compilations/remixes of these recordings and re-introduced the genre to a new generation of listeners and afropop/ groove fans.

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