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Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra -

Liberation Afro Beat Vol. 1

Date: January 16, 2001
Release: Ninja Tune #56
Cover Art: view / download
Buy the Album

Like America itself, Antibalas (Spanish for “Bulletproof” or “Anti-bullets”) is a vast and multi-ethnic superpower. This fourteen-plus musical collective is a tight union of Latinos, whites, Asian-Americans, African-Americans and Africans who all call New York their home. Their music moves like a burning spear launched from the heart of Mother Africa to skewer the Big Apple with its funk. Every Friday night Antibalas brutalizes grateful New York audiences with AFRICALIA, a ferocious concert series touted as “America’s only live Afro-beat party.” In every way, the group pays homage to their source of inspiration, the Black President, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Their sound and message closely follow that of Fela, whose radical politics and electrifying Afro-beat shook world music and Nigerian politics until his death in 1997.

With missionary zeal, Antibalas play their asses off, doing everything they can on Liberation Afro Beat Volume 1 to draw the people into Fela’s African-born movement of political funksters. Their music sustains the blueprint Fela laid down, with lots of drums and percussion breaks, thick bass lines, funky rhythm guitar, throbbing Hammond organ, and catchy horn riffs, all interlocking in hypnotic polyrhythms.

While Fela lives on as the holy ghost hovering over their music, the spirits of other great ancestors also make their heavy presence felt. The deep funk energy of the JBs and Tower Of Power unmistakably permeate the grooves all over this record. Antibalas is able to project the mighty sounds of their musical elders by employing a vast arsenal of hard hitting horns and drums.

Despite their numbers, this big band of dedicated musicians are tightly integrated by conductor Martin C-Perna Antibalas, creating one powerful Afro Beat Orchestra that demonstrates why music is the weapon of the future. Like an insurrectionary force whose moment of truth has arrived, Antibalas is moving out of the shadows and into the light. Get ready to move.


  • Martin C-Perna Antibalas – Conductor, Baritone Aaxophone
  • Duke Amayo – Vocals, Conga
  • Phillip Ballman – Drums
  • Giancarlo Luiggi – Shekere
  • Dylan Fusillo – Sticks, Drums
  • Fernando Velez – Conga
  • Luke O’Malley – Guitar
  • Mother Africa – Second Guitar
  • Don Bonus – Trombone
  • Amadou Dioulde Diallo  -  Guitar, Guitar (Bass)
  • Victor Axelrod – Organ
  • Michael Herbst – Tenor & Alto Saxophones
  • Jordan McLean – Trumpet
  • Nick Movshon – Bass (on NESTA)
  • JoJo Quo – Drums


  1. Si, Se Puede
  2. Dirt And Blood
  3. Battle Of The Species
  4. N.E.S.T.A. (Never Ever Submit To Authority)
  5. Musicawi Silt (Live)
  6. Uprising
  7. El Machete
  8. World War IV (Live)

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