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Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra

Antibalas is a culturally diverse Afrobeat ensemble based in the heart of Brooklyn, New York. Judging by their complex percussive approach, the band's fourteen-plus members -- including Latinos, whites, African-Americans, Africans, and Asian-Americans -- are chiefly inspired by the Reverend Fela Kuti, though they are also unquestionably indebted to '70s funk troupe War and Nigerian rhythm doctor Tony Allen.

Founded in '98, this collection of talented multi-instrumentalists includes members of two influential New York-based percussive funk groups, Soul Providers and Daktaris. Collectively they run Africalia, a club that provides a forum for up-and-coming dub, cumbia, and batucada bands. Besides Afrosound, which has put out a handful of Antibalas's releases, Ninja Tune is the first label to pick up on Antibalas fever (no surprise there, since Ninja is known for cutting its own groove). The energetic, optimistic "Si, Se Puede" (which translates as "Yes You Can") and the steadfastly political "N.E.S.T.A." (which stands for "Never Ever Submit To Authority") both feature on their '01 Ninja Tune debut Liberation Afro Beat Vol. 1. "Hypocrite" is featured on their '02 album Talkatif. Listen and learn.