Thursday, June 8, 2006

Lagos No Shaking

Posted on Thu, Jun 8, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Lagos No Shaking
Label: Honest Jons / Astralwerks
Length: LP
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Lagos No Shaking
The return of drummer Tony Allen to the Nigerian capital in which he and Fela Kuti essentially invented Afrobeat is not a momentous event. Ever since leaving Fela's band, Allen has carried a parallel torch for Afrobeat, laying down those driving and distinctive percussion patterns with a wide variety of collaborators. Allen may have left Lagos, but Lagos never left him. Nonetheless, the all-African lineup on Lagos No Shaking does clarify his approach, and that purity results in a disc that stunningly evokes the city's energy, passion and insanity. Bringing in legendary Fela alumni like saxophonist Baba Ani was a good move, as was the inclusion of Rolling Dollar's raw, emotional vocals. But Allen is not making a nostalgia disc here; most of the cuts (notably the deceptively lilting groove of 'Moroseâ?�) blithely combine the insistent groove of Afrobeat with a modern touch. To be clear, Allen never loses sight of Lagos' singularly chaotic vibe, but Lagos No Shaking definitely proves that music in that city didn't stop with Fela's death.

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