Sila and the Afrofunk Experience Up For NAACP Image Award

Sila and the AfroFunk
Sila and the AfroFunk

No longer the Bay Area’s best-kept world music secret, San Francisco-based Sila and the AfroFunk have been recognized as being among the genre’s elite and most promising artists with the nomination of their sophomore album, Black President, for an NAACP Image Award.

With the nomination, Sila and the AFE join such notables as Omou Sangare, Zap Mama, Maria De Barros, and Rodrigo y Gabriela in the nominations for "Best World Music Album."

With the nomination, Sila and the AFE join such notables as Omou Sangare, Zap Mama, Maria De Barros, and Rodrigo y Gabriela in the nominations for "Best World Music Album."

Declared "Africa’s James Brown" by the Oakland Post and a worthy successor to "the legendary sounds of Fela" by the SF Weekly (who also named the band "Best International Act"), success and recognition have been a long time coming for Sila and the AFE.

Since forming Sila and the AFE in 2003, Kenyan expatriate Victor Sila has spearheaded the Bay Area’s world beat resurgence, with two critically-acclaimed albums (The Funkiest Man in Africa and Black President), a trail of Afrofunkitized venues (including the Stern Grove Festival and the Outside Lands Music Festival), and a history of supporting humanitarian causes in developing nations.

The co-founder of the annual AfroFunk Festival, Sila and the AFE have presided over benefits for numerous charities supporting in Africa. Most recently, Sila’s Thursday night residency at SF nightclub Coda, "Sahara," raised $4,000 for Haitian disaster relief; additional benefits are scheduled for Coda Jan. 21 & 28 and the Independent on Jan. 27th.

The album for which Sila & the AFE were nominated for, Black President, is perhaps the hardest and most socially- and politically-relevant Afrobeat album of the year. It updates the message of the late Fela Kuti, while adding a contemporary slant, influenced by the election of President Obama, but also equally by James Brown, reggae, samba, and P-Funk, creating an urbanized Diasporan variant known as "A-Funk."

Black President overflows with slinky, expansive grooves and pro-humanistic messages, addressing such poignant issues as world politics ("Black President"), refugees ("Shelter"), female beauty ideals ("Beauty Queen"), and the current state of Africa in a post-Obama world ("Thief in the Night").

Alongside all its near-militancy, the album also revels in somewhat lighter notes. The James Brown homage "Chrome" – a single and video which puts the ‘funk’ in Afrofunk-was highlighted in Paste magazine, and Black President was listed among the Top 5 African releases for 2009 by NPR’s "Afropop Worldwide."

"I am very honored and pleased to be nominated for an Image Award," said Sila "In these times of national recession, global epidemics and worldwide disasters, it’s more important that music tell the truth than ever before. We need music to give us the strength to go through, and with a larger platform, hopefully we can do more to support people who need shelter all over the world, by giving them culture – and a beat they can dance to."

The NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) Image Awards, which was founded in 1909, is the U.S.’ premier event celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, including motion picture, television, recording, and literature, as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.

The NAACP awards show airs live on Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Author: l.krick


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