Antibalas celebrates 20th anniversary with a brand new album on Daptone
To manifest the utopian visions of where kung fu meets Afrobeat, one must enter the world of Duke Amayo who rose from his upbringing in Lagos, Nigeria to become a prominent football kicker at Howard University, and ultimately, a kung fu master and Afrobeat superstar. At age 12, Amayo began his kung fu practise while simultaneously witnessing the spiritual leader Fela Kuti perform at his famous nightclubs the Afro-Spot and Afrika Shrine in Lagos. Living in the same neighbourhood of the Afro-Spot and sneaking into the clubs to experience the force of nature that was Fela Kuti, a young Amayo was enlightened on his path destined for greatness in America.
Attracted to the cosmopolitan lifestyle of fashion, dance, martial arts, and music, Amayo moved beyond the highlights of his football career (which led to try-outs with the Washington Redskins and Montreal Concordes) to launch a singular clothing brand and open a kung fu dojo in Williamsburg, dubbed the Afro-Spot Temple. Upon opening the dojo, Daptone co-founder Gabe Roth and Martín Perna inquired about classes and soon invited Amayo to join Antibalas. The dojo became the headquarters for the band and label with Antibalas’ classic second album, “Talkatif” (2002), being recorded onsite at the dojo’s recording studio. Coming full circle, Fu Chronicles sees Gabe Roth in the producer’s chair with Antibalas laying down the tracks at Daptone’s House of Soul in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Over the course of its lauded 20-year career, Antibalas has toured across four continents and produced eight studio albums establishing them the premier Afrobeat band in the West. In addition to their integral role as the backing band for the Tony Award-Winning Broadway musical “Fela,” Antibalas has served as the house band for several star-studded tribute shows at Carnegie Hall and the Apollo Theatre paying tribute to the music of Aretha Franklin, David Byrne, Paul Simon, and Billie Holiday, backing dozens including Allen Toussaint, Cee Lo Green, Sharon Jones, Santigold, and Angelique Kidjo. Antibalas members have appeared alongside some of today’s biggest stars, such as Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Arcade Fire, Lady Antebellum, and many others. In 2012, Antibalas made their late-night television debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and have appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
2. Lai Lai
3. MTTT Pt 1 & 2
4. Fight Am Finish