Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Album Review: Alma Afrobeat Ensemble -Toubab Soul

Alma Afrobeat Ensemble
Toubab Soul
*** out of *****

Residing in Barcelona by way of Chicago this world beat group mixes it all up but like their name suggest Alma Afrobeat Ensemble looks to Afrobeat and specifically Fela Kuti for inspiration on Toubab Soul. Aaron Feder and crew have crafted a slick combo on this release.   

All of the tunes run long with beats and rhythms being laid down while horns, MC chants and keys take songs over the top.  The inclusion of hip-hop rhymes seems like a natural fit for Afrobeat and they show up early and often.  Tracks like "Live Na Yeye" show off the vocals in multiple languages as the band is clearly after a world vibe.

"Mali" rambles with a fat bass line while "Yoruba" picks up the tempo and gets slick.  "New School" puts a rock vibe into things over french vocals in the process updating the groups sound from the traditional tunes like "Muziqawi Silt".  "Shameless" is the most vigorous workout here ascending and descending scales at a frantic pace, quite exhilarating. 

This Catalan act should be able to attract fans and followers of the traditional Afrobeat sound, while still engaging more adventurous minded jamband fans at the same. Lovers of grooving tunes of any ilk can find something to make them get down and dance via Toubab Soul.
Fun the group here, buy the disk here and peep some samples below:
"Shameless" Live:
"Live Na YeYe" Live:

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