Artist: Antibalas

Album: Who Is This America?

Release Date: 2010-08-16

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about the album



With post-September 11th New York City still the hotbed of anti-Republican furor as George Bush tried (and later succeeded) in holding on to his presidency, Antibalas was fueling the fires of controversy with their powerful musical rhetoric. Indeed, the Brooklyn based music collective was simultaneously indicting politicians, igniting a musical tsunami, and exciting a new generation of listeners that were just hearing about afrobeat for the first time.

The New York Times cemented the band's reputation with a headline review that put them on a crash course with destiny... "Owing as much to James Brown and Tito Puente as to Fela Kuti, Antibalas, the multiracial 17-piece Brooklyn collective is far from straight afro beat revivalists. The band lays New York's rich musical heritage of jazz, funk, and latin groove over afro beat's polyrhythms to spectacular effect, rustling in a raw selection of driving funk".

Today, Ropeadope is proud to release this special edition of the Antibalas classic 'Who Is This America?'. The questions and powerful social statements on the record are as relevant today as they were in 2004. 'Big Man' is a powerful musical essay on consumerism and the system of continued oppression that it supports, while the title track is even more poignant as our nation continues the struggle for our collective identity in the face of a changing world.

The CD features the previously unreleased bonus track, 'Money Talks', produced by the legendary Scott Harding in 2004.

about the artist

Formed in 1998, the Brooklyn-based music collective, Antibalas, has shared its dynamic afrobeat and funk sound with thirty-five countries and over 1000 performances. From humble beginnings at Brooklyn block parties and community benefits, Antibalas has since been featured at prestigious festivals including Coachella, Glastonbury, Montreux, Newport Jazz, and at venues from Rikers Island to Carnegie Hall. Drawing on musical lineages steeped in jazz, funk, Afro-Caribbean, and West African music, Antibalas is widely recognized for its mastery of and innovation in the afrobeat musical form created in the early 1970s by Nigerian composer/activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

Recently, Antibalas kicked off 2009 at Carnegie Hall, as part of the Tibet House Benefit. After performing original material, they backed Grammy-winning Beninoise singer Angelique Kidjo and Vampire Weekend. Later that month, Antibalas met the Roots head-to-head in Boston for the Red Bull Soundclash. In June 2009, the two bands joined forces with Public Enemy to recreate the classic Public Enemy album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back live at the Roots Picnic in Philadelphia. Furthermore, the Antibalas horn section joined the Roots twice that summer on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, alongside Public Enemy and Paul Simon. In early 2010, the group made its first trip to Australia and New Zealand, performing at major rock, world music, and arts festivals as well as a cabaret show with DJ Gilles Peterson.

Members of Antibalas have been at the heart of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical FELA! Born as a series of workshops with director/choreographer Bill T. Jones in late 2006, Antibalas musicians Aaron Johnson (musical director), Jordan McLean (assistant musical director), and Stuart Bogie helped create what associate producer Questlove called “The most uncut funk production ever!” After a triumphant off-Broadway run, the show opened on Broadway in November 2009 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, with executive producers Jay-Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith attracting a cavalcade of stars including Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Sting, Robert De Niro, and Toni Morrison.

Antibalas musicians can be seen and heard with major artists across genres. Members of the group teamed up with the Dap-Kings to create the grooves for Amy Winehouse’s multi-platinum Back to Black and continue to work with producer Mark Ronson. The horn section is featured prominently on albums by TV on the Radio; Medeski, Martin and Wood; and won a Grammy for their work on Angelique Kidjo’s Djin Djin. The group has also performed live with a diverse group of artists including Burning Spear, Baaba Maal, Sinead O’Connor, Gomez, and cast members of FELA!