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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

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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)