Antibalas, the politically charged Brooklyn-based ensemble that meshes Afrobeat, Latin rhythms and any other appetizing world-music stylings it finds to its liking into a musical melting pot uniquely its own, is a dozen men strong. How will they all manage to fit on the tiny Troubadour stage for their show on Thursday?Read More
"We've played in kitchens," Stuart Bogie, the group's tenor saxophonist, recalls with a laugh. "We get real close. In a lot of places, we're physically touching each other for the duration of the show."
"A lot of times, our best shows are on small stages," says Martin Perna, who assembled the group a decade back and plays baritone sax.
"We hear each other a lot better on small stages."
Antibalas (Spanish for bulletproof) broke through with its universally acclaimed 2004 recording "Who Is This America?"; its current release, "Security," continues the band's ascent with impossibly infectious, swinging grooves and heartfelt, defiant political idealism.
"Most of us would like to be singing about flowers, trees and love, but Afrobeat is a music of resistance," Perna notes. "There are issues independent of major global geopolitics or American domestic policy. There's war going on, but people would get tired of an album of songs of how ridiculous and deceitful and expensive the war is."
To that end, "Security" begins with "Beaten Metal," a tune inspired by the fact that many of Germany's World War II weapons were melted down and turned into musical instruments. Perna says that lyrics were written for the songnumber, but the group decided the vibe came across just as persuasively as an instrumental.
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