Since Fela Kuti’s 1970 afrobeat revolution, the movement has come a long way from Lagos’ Afrika Shrine nightclub – perhaps moreso geographically than musically.
From across Africa (and the globe) Melbourne’s 20-strong Public Opinion Afro Orchestra stay true to afrobeat’s roots while adding a modern hip hop flourish. Future Africa is more trad – jazz, funk and big band brass held together by pulsating polyrhythmic percussion and punctuated with short blooms of female vocal harmony. Were it not for DJ Manchild’s occasional scratch and jump this track could be from the original revolution. On the other side is title track Do Anything Go Anywhere, featuring South African hip hop legend Tumi Molekane rapping over bongos, Wurlitzer and bass, with flashes of brass and chorus.
The album’s lyrics, both rapped and sung are forward-looking and the music is made to lift both the spirit and the arse – to the dance floor. Fela would be proud.
Review by Nils Hay