The Daktaris

Soul Explosion

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The Daktaris' 1998 debut, Soul Explosion, is dedicated to the memory of Fela Kuti, who pretty much single-handedly invented Afro-beat. The Daktaris are clearly influenced by Fela's signature style, mixing jazz and funk riffs with the hypnotic rhythms of his native Nigeria, but their groove-oriented music is much more accessible to the novice listener than Fela's occasionally fearsome soul stew. Where Fela was heavily influenced by both psychedelia and free jazz, the Daktaris are more like the Kool & the Gang (circa "Jungle Boogie") of Afro-beat: their music is deeply, undeniably funky, but the concise song lengths and well-structured solos keep the players in check. This is exotic music, but it's in no way difficult; anyone who loves Mothership Connection or One Nation Under a Groove will have no trouble with the slinky rhythms of the two-part "Musicawa Slitâ" or the respectful cover of James Brown's "Give It up Turn It Loose." Those already familiar with Afro-beat might find Soul Explosion a little tame, but it's an excellent introduction to the style.

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