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The Afrorockerz

Global events remind us the French have a thing for satire. They also have a taste for the experimental and innovative, so much so, they coined the name for it, 'avant-garde'. The Afrobeat pioneered by Fela Kuti and drummer, Tony Allen in Afro '70 has been reinvented in many ways; served straight up and reverse-engineered for retro authenticity, blended with Latin grooves for a new world approach or tempered with soul for a softer R&B smokiness. Back in France, a global sextet dubbed The Afrorockerz has opted for 'Afrobeat au avant-garde'. Dialing up the way back machine a decade from the '70s to the '80s, The Afrorockerz update the funk from James Brown to early Prince. And, keeping instep with the 80's vibe they've even managed to cross-breed the essentials with a little new wave wackiness. A meeting between The Afrorockerz' principals and devout Fela fans, guitarist, Julien Raulet and bassist, Sylvain Daniel was foundational to their sound. As well as Afrobeat aficionados, the pair was inspired by Prince, Talking Heads and Frank Zappa. The opening track to the premier album, 'I Go U Go' puts the new vision into motion. Over a deep pocket groove of guitar skank and bombastic analog synth shots, Central African singer, Emma Lamadji blazes soulful verse and chorus chant over farfisa chords. 'Talking In Rings' is another favorite, doinking and bleeping with new wave weird science and Blondiesque chorus. Chicago born, Parisian sworn singer/poet Allonymous leads that cycle of surrealism. The throw-back synth sounds are the handiwork of David Monet and set the Afrorockerz well apart from the herd. Drummer, Maxime Zampieri puts the pulse into each composition, with the class and intricacy of the master Tony Allen himself. I Was Blind is another gorgeous slow burn that highlights Emma Lamadiji's gospelled flights. Neither satirical nor disrespectful, The Afrorockerz unique take on the hallowed Afrobeat is a joyful exploration into future possibilities of the form. Lucky for us, there are no sacred cows in music, nor should there be.