Akoya Afrobeat


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Anyone expecting Akoya Afrobeat to follow the somewhat slick line of Femi Kuti and his ilk is in for a big surprise. This is a deliciously raw collection instead, which draws equally on other traditions, such as highlife (you won't, for instance, find all the parts locking together the way they do in much Afro-beat; instead, there's a looseness to the proceedings). Also, bringing in Jamaican sax player Cedric 'Im Brooks is an inspired move, connecting hands and styles across the Atlantic and showing that little really separates them. The highlights are the four big tracks that sprawl somewhat untidily but with a lot of musical force, using plenty of call and response vocals and showing the group really functioning as a unit, rather than as several soloists playing together. With time to stretch out, there's an unrelenting, irresistible insistence to the music. There's no attempt to buff any of this to a shine, and it's all the better for having some ragged edges. If you want to keep it real, then listen to this.

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