The Two Coasts of Afrobeat

Two Afrobeat bands based in the United States have new recordings. The Afromotive, based in Asheville (North Carolina), in the East Coast, is led by Ivorian singer  and percussionist Kevin Meyame. The band uses electric guitar and vintage-sounding electric organ and piano, along with dual saxophones, trumpet, bass, a drummer and two percussionists,  to produce a vigorous musical jam inspired by the sounds of the late Fela Kuti.

After performing throughout West Africa and France, Kevin Meyame moved to Asheville in 2004 to perform as lead dancer with Ballet Warraba. He joined bassist Ryan Reardon and founded a musical collaboration that is The Afromotive, which grew to a 10-piece band. On Scare Tactics, The Afromotive takes the raw energy of their live performance into the studio. The trancelike beats and lengthy pieces on the debut album Scare Tactics will please Afrobeat enthusiasts.

Aphrodesia is a veteran Afrobeat band from the San Francisco Bay area. What differentiates them from other U.S.-based bands is that the group is led by two women vocalists who combine the traditional Nigerian Afrobeat style with instruments and melodies and instruments from other parts of Africa and the globe. Singer Lara Maykovich plays Zimbabwean mbira on one track and there is also monkey chant from Indonesia and an assortment of world percussion.


The fiery album Lagos By Bus was inspired by a bus trip the band made through several African countries (read American Afrobeat Musicians Aphrodesia Go to Afrobeat Birthplace by Bus).  

Buy Scare Tactics  and Lagos By Bus.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for TelevisiĆ³n EspaƱola (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.