Aphrodesia, an Afrobeat (and so much more) band based in the Bay Area, will kick off the 20th season of Munch & Music Thursday. I spoke with bassist and bandleader Ezra Gale about the rising profile of Afrobeat in America.
“I think (Afrobeat) is definitely more in the mainstream consciousness than it was when we started doing this,” Gale said via telephone Monday. “Where I live in Brooklyn, there’s now at least three or four young Afrobeat bands who are playing (in the style of genre godfather Fela Kuti), and I remember when Aphrodesia first started, as far as we knew, it was us and (New York’s) Antibalas. It really was this new thing. Nobody knew who Kuti was, and we were playing this music that felt obscure.
“It’s important to keep it in perspective, because there are things that are pushing it into the mainstream (such as the Kuti-focused “Fela!” Broadway musical), but at the same time, when you talk about most people in this country, most still have never heard of it, really,” he said. “So us Afrobeat musicians kind of live in a bubble. To us, it may seem sort of played out and passé, but in fact, it’s still new to probably 98 percent of people.”
Accompanying the Aphrodesia story are a few words from Munch & Music founder Cameron Clark on what two decades of the popular, free concert series means to him. I hope you’ll click here and read it all.
Also in the music section this week:
New recorded music just keeps on coming from Bend’s ridiculously productive scene. This week, I wax poetic about the new album from Sara Jackson-Holman (“it’s an aural tractor beam, drawing me in over and over again”), who’ll hold a CD-release show Monday, and The Autonomics (“bruising rock ’n’ roll that draws influence from both modern and classic sounds”), who’ll celebrate their new EP with a show tonight.
Elsewhere, we’ve got all the details on the Breedlove Festival, a concert and barbecue at Maragas Winery, Lisa C. Pollock’s Indie Freedom Tour at Silver Moon Brewing, Eric Tollefson and the Show Us Your Spokes lineup, Curtis Salgado and the Picnic in the Park lineup, folk singers Kasey Anderson and Anastacia, and a scaled-down Pinback returning to the Domino Room. And as always, you can find lots more in The Bulletin’s complete music listing.