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Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra Biography

Birth Place: United States
Years Active: 1998–present
Genres: Afrobeat, Funk, Jazz

Antibalas is a Brooklyn-based afrobeat band that formed in 1998. The collective has shared their dynamic afrobeat and funk sound to 35 countries while performing over 1000 concerts. From humble beginnings in Brooklyn block parties and community benefits, Antibalas has since been featured at prestigious festivals including Coachella, Glastonbury, Montreux, Newport Jazz, and at venues from Rikers Island to Carnegie Hall.

Antibalas membership consists of Amayo (vocals and percussion), Victor Axelrod (organ/clavinet), Eric Biondo (trumpet), Stuart Bogie (tenor sax), Marcus Farrar (shekere), Marcos Garcia (guitar), Aaron Johnson (trombone), Jordan McLean (trumpet), Nick Movshon (bass), Luke O'Malley (guitar), Martin Perna (baritone sax) and Chris Vatalardo (drums). Antibalas' musical lineage is steeped in jazz, funk, Afro-Caribbean and West African music. Antibalas is widely recognized for their mastery of, and innovation in, the afrobeat musical form created in the early 1970s by Nigerian composer/activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

In 2000 Antinbalas released their debut album, “Liberation Afrobeat Vol.1,” and hit the road to tour in support of the record. 2002 brought the band’s second offering “Talkatif,” while still touring and playing gigs in New York City. A third studio album, “Who is this America,” followed two years later as Antibalas' fan base began to swell. It was the band's 2007 album, “Security,” that brought critical acclaim.

Antibalas performed at Carnegie Hall in early 2009 as part of the Tibet House Benefit. After performing original material, they backed Grammy-winning Beninoise singer Angelique Kidjo and Vampire Weekend. In June 2009, Antibalas and The Roots joined forces with Public Enemy to recreate the classic album, “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back,” live at The Roots Picnic in Philadelphia.

Anthibalas members have also been at the heart of the Tony award-winning Broadway musical “FELA!” The show launched on Broadway in November 2009, with Jay-Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith as executive producers. Antibalas musicians can also be found collaborating with other artists, such as The Dap Kings, whom they teamed with to create the grooves for Amy Winehouse’s multi-platinum, “Back to Black” album.