On Ninja Tune
Antibalas is the spirit of Afrobeat reincarnated as a hard-hitting collective of musicians in New York City. The group carries on the soul of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, founder of the unique Afrobeat sound, which unites highlife, jazz, funk, and traditional African elements with unabashed political messages. Antibalas-which means "anti-bullets" or "bullet-proof"-shoots out monstrous horns and bass layered over polyrhythmic beats coupled with furious lyrics inciting insurrection in English, Yoruba, and Spanish.
Antibalas formed in 1998 from members of Desco Records' Soul Providers and the Daktaris. They were quickly joined by like-minded New York musicians active in the worlds of jazz, rock, improvised music, and traditional drumming from Cuba and Brazil. The union of Latinos, whites, African Americans, Africans, and Asian Americans is based in Brooklyn, NYC.
With fifteen band members, Antibalas-which is run as a collective-cannot easily be described in a traditional biography. The group's players come from such diverse professional, cultural, and personal backgrounds that only a spray of bullets can shed light on the foundation of this musical insurrection.