Sep 21, 2010

Australian Afrobeat (Pt.III): Askari Afrobeat Orchestra

Information at their myspace page:

The Askari Afrobeat Orchestra is a collective of musicians brought together by a common love for African music, particularly the Afrobeat of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen. Led by the intrepid duo of Jamie Searle (Mwalimu) and Jon Fernandes (Kinanda), the Askari Afrobeat Orchestra sets a course through Afrobeat, Highlife, Afro-funk and into the uncharted regions of African music... and beyond!!


Live review - from Xpress Magazine
The Askari Afrobeat Orchestra soon took the stage to perform. Their impressive 11-piece lineup (consisting of members of Odette Mercy and her Soul Atomics, the Funk Club House Band and Grace Barbe and her band) kept the dance floor going with a set of Afrobeat covers and originals.

Some of the covers were particularly well received, including Ghanian musical icon Ebo Taylor's Heaven, and the hypnotic Ethiopian funk of the Wallias Band's Musikawi Silt, which closed the set. Russ Dewbury took the mic to ask the crowd if they wanted more, and the Orchestra quickly returned for a slightly chaotic yet highly entertaining performance of Afrobeat classic Zombie with Jon Fernandes doing his best Fela Kuti impression.

Joshua Hayes - originally published in Xpress Magazine article Talkin all that Jazz - Russ Dewbury/Askari Afrobeat Orchestra/Charlie Bucket/Paul Gamblin
Devilles Pad Sunday April 25, 2010



The Askari Afrobeat Orchestra are one of the most exciting bands to come out of Perth in recent times.

This heavy weight collective of musicians are spearheading Australia’s growing Afro Funk movement hard on the heels of international luminaries Antibalas, the Soul Jazz Orchestra and Kokolo whilst continuing the rich legacy of Afro groove pioneers Fela Kuti and Tony Allen.

The band have attracted rave reviews for their energetic and authentic set of deep grooves and vicious rhythms. Bring your dancing shoes!



The Askari afrobeat orchestra is one of the bands I play in regularly around the Perth metropolitan area. We are a 13 piece band, yes that is big, that have been brought together by a common love for African music, particularly the Afrobeat of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen.

Since forming in 2009 we have been the resident band at Afrodisia, this is a night promoted by Think Twice promotions which celebrates African Music, particularly the genre of Afrobeat. The Afrodisia nights started at Mojos in North Fremantle once a month on a Saturday before moving earlier in 2010 to being hosted at the Funk Club which is located upstairs at the Leederville Hotel. Afrodisia occurs the third Saturday of every month, the rest of the Friday nights at the Funk Club feature local, national and international acts in the Soul and Funk genres. On the 8th October the band get to support the inaugural visit of Mulatu Astatke and the 11 piece band “The Black Jesus Experience” at the Bakery in Northbridge. Multatu is considered to be the Father of the style of music known as Ethio-Jazz.

The band has largely been influenced by the music of Fela Kuti, considered the Father of Afrobeat, as well as Toni Allen and others including Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, Manu Dibango, Mulatu Astatqe, Franco Luambo Makaidi, Antibalas, Ebo Taylor, Alhaji K. Frimpong, the Daktaris, Orchestra Baobab, Sam Mangwana, Tabu Ley Rocheareau, Mbaraka Mwinshehe, Mahmoud Ahmed, Wallias Band in styles that include Afrobeat, Afrofunk, Highlife and Ethio Jazz.

The Askari are a local Perth band and comprise of 13 local Perth Musicians who work in numerous other bands across the city. The high level of skill and years of experience of these performers leads to a high energy and exciting evening of entertainment every time. Co-led by Jon Fernandes (Bass) and Jamie Searle (Guitar) the band features Grace Barbe (Neema) – bass, guitar, vocals. Ofa Fotu (Mrembo) – guitar, percussion, vocals. Rhys Bailey-Brooks (Kijana) – baritone saxophone. Jimmy Murphy (Madomo) – trumpet. Alistair McEvoy (Buzi) – saxophones. Simon Montgomery (Mtaalamu) – alto, tenor sax. John Brown (Anaondokaye) – sticks, shakere. Shane Kearney (Bingwa) – congas, djembe, talking drum. Zen Fusion (Kifimbo) – drum set. The regular band has also been joined at various times by many other musicians form in the Perth Music community for various shows.


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