Livewire: The Baltimore Afrobeat Society @ the 5th Dimension (2009.12.12)

baltimore afrobeatEditor’s note: We are proud to welcome new contributor/taper David Carter to our ranks at Aural States, with his new column Livewire, featuring live recordings of shows around the area.

Photo: Frank Hamilton (2007 performance)

The Baltimore Afrobeat Society plays the music of the late Fela Kuti, a hugely influential Nigerian musician and pioneer of the afrobeat genre. I have loved Fela’s music for many years, and could go on about how his music makes me feel. But a more interesting introduction would probably be Bootsy Collins’ first-hand account of going to Africa as a teenager with James Brown, and meeting the man in person.

Fela had such a unique vision and approach, blending traditional African influences and passionate political invective with western instruments and sheer manpower. I find The Baltimore Afrobeat Society’s renditions of his songs amazing. Their carefully rendered, yet loose and free channeling of Fela’s spirit is energetic, vital, and just plain fun. This is a local treasure, and a testament to the magnitude of the Baltimore scene that feeds into this monster quasi-annual event.

Enough of that, however; let us chairdance. For THREE AND A HALF HOURS.

The Baltimore Afrobeat Society
H&H Building, 5th Floor
Baltimore, Maryland

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


1. MOP (24:39)
2. Shakara Oloje (21:54)
3. Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense (27:21)
4. Coffin For Head of State (30:41)
5. JJD (18:42)
6. Colonial Mentality (19:17)
7. Original Sufferhead (33:54)
8. Zombie (21:40)
9. Open & Close (12:03)


baltimore-afrobeat-society-12-12-2009.zip (400MB)


Chris Pumphrey (leader & alto sax)
Rose Hammer (baritone sax)
John Berndt (alto sax)
John Dierker (tenor sax)
Calvin Tullos (tenor sax)
Tiffany DeFoe (tenor sax)
Ben Forstenser (tenor sax)
Mike Cerri (trumpet)
Chris Manthorne (trumpet)
Geof Manthorne (trumpet)
Tom Boram (vocals, piano)
Shawna Potter (vocals & dancer)
Katie Pumphrey (vocals & dancer)
Tara Cariaso (vocals & dancer)
Freda Mohr (vocals & dancer)
Dan Breen (bass)
Erich von Marko (guitar)
Matthew Dickinson (guitar)
Chris Donoghue (guitar)
Mike Wright (drums,percussion)
Zak Fusciello (drums,percussion)
Steve Windows (percussion)
Moziah (hand drums)


AKG 414 pair (mid/side) -> Zoom h4n 48kHz/24bit -> Nuendo (stereo encoding, EQ, limiting) -> MP3

Recorded by:

David Carter (carteriffic@gmail.com)

Related posts

  1. Livewire: Matmos @ 5th Dimension (2010.03.26)// Photos & words: Greg Szeto [Audio clip: view full...
  2. Live Review: Baltimore Rock Opera Society presents Gründlehämmer @ 2640 Space (2009.10.03)Editor’s note: This is a long overdue report from the...
  3. Livewire: The Multiphonic Choir @ The Windup Space (2010.01.14)Photo: David Carter The Multiphonic Choir played Thursday night at...
  4. Preview: Konk Pack, Matmos, Leprechaun Catering @ the 5th Dimension (2010.03.26)[Audio clip: view full post to listen] MP3: The Work...
  5. Livewire: Avec @ the Ottobar (2010.01.16)Photo: Linda Kokenge Avec is four-piece rock band from Baltimore...

4 Responses to “Livewire: The Baltimore Afrobeat Society @ the 5th Dimension (2009.12.12)”

  1. Maria says:

    OMFG I love this recording. This is awesome music. Everyone should hear this. Thank you, Obvious. I love you!!!

  2. jp says:

    I really like the variety that is on this blog. I’m a huge fan of Afro Beat and I feel like not enough people cover it. I also run a blog and one of our contributors just covered a benefit that featured an afro beat group, Euforquesta. Since you seem interested in this check out our post http://tinyurl.com/yzkvfbz.

    Keep up the good work we will be checking on you guys regularly!

  3. nic says:

    This is an excellent recording of an amazing, electric night. Thank you!

  4. Note: The correct venue billings for the show would be “…@ the Fifth Dimension” or “…@ 5th Floor H&H”. I think the whole gallery is on the 3rd floor, or 4th??
    Thanks all. Glad you’re enjoying the music!

    Ed. Note: Corrected. Don’t know why I put Whole Gallery!

Leave a Reply