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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DJ Sessions: Afrobeat After Fela Kuti

Members of the Afrobeat band, Soul Jazz Orchestra. (Soul Jazz Orchestra)

Members of the Afrobeat band, Soul Jazz Orchestra. (Soul Jazz Orchestra)

The genre of Afrobeat was started by Fela Kuti, the legendary Nigerian singer and political activist who died of AIDS in 1997.

There’s been a push to teach people more about him, with museum exhibits, books and the critically acclaimed Broadway musical, “Fela!”

But how has Afrobeat developed since Fela Kuti, and what does it sound like today?

DJ and producer Rich Medina has been working to get Afrobeat into the U.S. mainstream, playing it in clubs, and hosting “Jump N Funk” Afrobeat dance parties around the U.S.

Today, even without Fela Kuti, the genre — which draws attention to corruption and oppression — continues to thrive because the “themes are timeless,” Medina says.

Rich Medina’s Afrobeat Picks

Guest

  • Rich Medina, a music producer and DJ who leads “Jump N Funk,” a touring Afrobeat dance party. He tweets @richmedina.

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