Sep 8, 2009

The Daktaris - Soul Explosion


The Daktaris were an Afro-beat group on the New York-based funk revival label Desco, recording compact, Fela Kuti-style grooves that sounded as though they'd come straight out of 1970s Nigeria. At first, Desco did nothing to discourage that perception, packaging their 1998 album Soul Explosion to look like an authentically African collector's dream, and even giving some of the band members Nigerian aliases. But in reality, the Daktaris were Brooklyn-based studio musicians, many of them white, many of whom had already been assembled by Desco heads Gabriel Roth and Phillipe Lehman as the label's house band, the Soul Providers. Besieged by inquiries about the music's origins and demand for a Daktaris tour, Roth and Lehman soon acknowledged the hoax, but given the quality of the album, the backlash wasn't enormously great. There was no follow-up to the Daktaris' initial session, but some of the members formed a new Afro-beat revivalist group called Antibalas in the spring of 1998. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide


The Daktaris are actually several alumni from Fela Kuti's band, and as expected, Soul Explosion contains massive chunks of throbbing Afrobeat, the style perfected by the late Nigerian performer. Part Nigerian and part American funk à la James Brown, these 10 mostly instrumental tracks are hardcore, juju-headed time bombs from the dance floor of the motherland, with a baritone sax-fronted horn section riding earthshaking rhythms, thundering bass lines, and occasional wah-wah guitar. Except for classic workouts on Fela's "Upside Down," James Brown's "Give It Up, Turn It Loose," and the rare "Musicawa Silt" from Ethiopia's Wallias Band, these are all original tunes from a 15-strong ensemble that charges straight at you like a herd of elephants, absolutely unstoppable. Hopefully, any future release from this outfit will extend the group's monumental grooves beyond a five-minute format, which most of these Lagos-produced tracks fit into.



01. Musicawi Silt
02. Musicawi Silt, Pt. 2
03. Quiet Man Is Deam Man
04. Modern Technology
05. Super Afro-Beat
06. Give It Up Turnit Loose
07. Eltsuhg Ibal Lasiti
08. Daktari Walk
09. Voodoo Soul Stew
10. Upside Down

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