Aug 28, 2009

Chopteeth - Afrofunk Big Band

The Band

Chopteeth is a 14-piece Afrofunk orchestra exploring the common groove between the funkiest, most hip-shakin’ West African and American popular music on the planet.

The core of the Chopteeth sound is Afrobeat: a big-band funk invented by Fela Kuti in 1970’s Nigeria. Afrobeat is a spicy stew of modern jazz, Yoruba tribal music and burning, James Brown-inspired rhythms.

Chopteeth’s sets feature original compositions along with updates of African dance classics, all while remaining true to the spirit of the music and its message. Band members step to the mic to serve up lyrics in a total of seven different languages.

In February 2009, the musicians and music professionals who are the members of the Washington Area Music Association voted the band Artist of the Year in their annual Wammie Award voting. In 2009 the band also won it's second Wammie Award for Best World Music Group as well as the awards for Debut CD of the Year and Best World Music CD.

Chopteeth performs frequently at numerous festivals including Artscape, The Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, The National Capitol Bar-B-Que Battle, The Adams Morgan Day Festival, Columbia Festival of the Arts, Taste of Bethesda Festival, The Baltimore Book Festival, The Baltimore Waterfront Festival, The Herndon Jazz Festival, The Takoma Park Folk Festival and The Takoma Park Street Festival and many others.

Chopteeth can also be seen regularly at top venues in Washington, DC, Baltimore and Virginia such as The Kennedy Center, Strathmore Arts Center, The 9:30 Club, The Black Cat, Rock And Roll Hotel, The State Theatre, The Clarendon Ballroom, The 8x10 Club, Ottobar and Iota. The band has opened for critically acclaimed world music and jazz-funk groups including Chuck Brown, Konono No. 1, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, The Pietasters, Soulive, Greyboy Allstars and Toubab Krewe.


Press Reviews

“A storming powerhouse of big-band African funk, Chopteeth is smart, tight and relentlessly driving...a definite don't-miss. Their live shows have been known to make even the most motionless of concert-watchers flail their limbs and do something that resembles dancing. Only the most determined stoics will be able to resist the grooves conjured up by Chopteeth.” — The Washington Post

“Wonderfully fresh…Chopteeth can lock into a groove and hold it tight, but still give the feeling of freedom. This is music that makes you want to move.” —

“Chopteeth crafts its own unique brand of songs that gleefully draw on everything from salsa to soukous to Balkan-style time signatures. This eclectic approach to composition takes the band from upbeat Swahili lyrics over a South African pulse one second (Upendo), to spaghetti Western-inspired instrumentals the next (Herky Jerk). True to the political essence at the heart of Fela's music. Socially conscious and raucous…” — All About Jazz

“The groove is unassailable—the band can execute feverish, acid-laced workouts on a mix of original as well as vintage tunes. A fearsome live act, it’s hard not to get swept up in its urgent beat.” — Washington City Paper

"The impressive debut album by this percussive 13-piece outfit from the nation’s capital came out at the end of 2008, but word-of-mouth is just starting to spread. Chopteeth’s bone-rattling, horn-blasted Afropop with touches of hip-hop may be closer in spirit to Lagos than D.C., but as the band whips through Fela Kuti-inspired grooves on such tracks as Fogo Fogo and Weigh Your Blessings, its place of origin becomes less important, as you’ll be too busy dancing. Word has it that Chopteeth’s live shows are as sweaty yet tasty as a Texas barbecue in August." — Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Percolating percussion, bursts of brass, and lilting guitars. Musically adventurous and politically conscious from start to finish. An epic show.” — Baltimore Magazine

“Chopteeth gives the listener the feel and the fire of the Afrofunk groove. It’s as if Tower of Power resurrected as Afrofunk.” — Albuquerque Journal

“A tight ensemble with locked-up drums and percussion, a storming horn section, relentlessly riffing guitar, bass and keyboards, and vocals that tell it like it is. It’s a fresh sound that will thrill lovers of classic Afrobeat and open up some new ears as well.” — World Music Central

“Raging guitars and rich, swaggering horns. Propulsive.” — The Boston Globe

"Audiences went crazy over their music, a barrage of sound and movement that compels everyone to dance. The energized musicians feed off each other and the audience gyrating on the dance floor." — The Washington Examiner

“Expert purveyors of ‘70s American funk blended with roiling Yoruba rhythms. Alongside its battery of horns blaring over streams of percussive rhythms, its musical reach also includes Ghanaian high-life, South African Soweto swing, and vocal harmonies to create an effective batch of pan-African dance grooves. This groups can keep the groove flowing and going all year long.” — The Virginian-Pilot

“Infectious jazz grooves and a high degree of funkability. Chopteeth is a gritty, dance-infused, Afrofunk ensemble that is sure to get everyone's feet moving for hours...and hours...and hours!” — Inside World Music

“Funk, Rhumba, Ska: this band will keep you moving...Sheer energy, dynamic beats, and call and response vocals—a powerhouse performance. Mesmerizing.” — The Music Center at Strathmore

“A healthy and upbeat energy. Invigorating.” — Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“This multi-piece band, including fantastic horns and percussion, will keep you dancing all night.” — On Tap

“A musical extravaganza of West African music, American Funk and Afrobeat—an eclectic and upbeat mix.” — DCist

“Watching Chopteeth is an experience. It feels huge and tribal—there’s a small army producing African rock in your ears. Chopteeth keeps it modern while retaining that thrilling vibe of protest that the genre was founded upon.” — Washington Post Express


01. Struggle 5:28
02. Weigh Your Blessings 5:52
03. Upendo 5:34
04. Snake Eyes 3:49
05. Dog Days 5:24
06. Wili Nineh 3:07
07. Herky Jerk 5:06
08. Eyi Su Ngaangaa 5:20
09. Fogo Fogo 6:44
10. No Condition Is Permanent

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