Nov 8, 2012
For Free: London Afrobeat Collective - Occupy
London Afrobeat Collective (LAC) is a dance music explosion that has been winning new fans across the UK scene, from funk n’ soul DJ Craig Charles, to afrobeat legend Dele Sosimi, to UK indie darlings Bombay Bicycle Club.
In 2011, Michael Eavis was so impressed by the band’s live show he personally invited the London 12-piece to perform on Glastonbury’s West Holts Stage.
It was to prove the centre-piece of a blazing summer season for LAC, as they rocked crowds from Green Man, to Secret Garden Party to Shambala and many more besides.
They even found time to hook up with North London neighbours Bombay Bicycle Club, lending their percussive beats and soaring horns to the rising indie stars’ celebrated performances at Latitude, Reading and the Other Stage at Glastonbury.
LAC’s debut album recorded with respected producer Sonny Simpson (Tony Allen, Polar Bear, Portico Quartet) showcases their potent blend of funk, roots afrobeat and psychedelic rock. The seven original tracks feature vocals from Inemo Samiama, as well as celebrated afrobeat ambassador and Egypt 80 member, Dele Sosimi.
The record has been championed by BBC6’s own Craig Charles who teamed up with LAC for an extraordinary sold out London show earlier in the year.
LAC are now working on new material and looking to break new ground and markets across the UK and beyond.
The LAC began in 2008 as a loose affiliation of more than 30 musicians from all corners of the globe who found themselves sharing nothing more than a London postcode and a love of Fela Kuti. ‘London Afrobeat Collective’ was exactly what it said on the tin.
In the months that followed, LAC rocked clubs across the capital to the songs of Cedric Im Brooks, Mongo Santamaria, Mulatu Astatke and of course Fela Kuti, winning friends and critical acclaim for the authenticity of their sound.
As gig followed gig, the LAC began to take shape as it is today. A new sound began to emerge; a groove that was unashamedly afrobeat but not afraid to embrace new influences, funk, latin, dubstep, even psychedelia. The line-up shifted until only 12 on the most ugly and battle-hardened remained.
In 2010, under the direction of band leader and rhythm guitar king Alex Farrell, LAC delivered their debut album of original material. Recorded at Livingston Studios with respected producer Sonny Simpson (Tony Allen, Polar Bear, Portico Quartet), the album (simply called ‘LAC’) was a showcase for the band’s original sound, crafted song-writing and skilled musicianship. Calling in favours from some new friends, it also featured guest vocals from Inemo Samiama, as well as celebrated afrobeat ambassador and Egypt 80 member, Dele Sosimi.
Self-financed and the result of many, many hours of hard graft, ‘LAC’ started to pay dividends when it began to reach the ears of some of most influential players on the UK music scene. Funk n’ soul DJ Craig Charles featured the record on his BBC6 radio show and teamed up with the LAC for a sold out club night in February 2011.
By April, the band found themselves in the unfamiliar surrounds of Pilton Working Men’s club, having been hand-picked from thousands of new bands to play a personal audition for Michael Eavis and friends to appear at Glastonbury. LAC rocked the club, won the day and were rewarded with a slot on the West Holts stage alongside acts such as Aloe Blacc, Cee lo Green, Big Boi and Kool and the Gang (they couldn’t do anything about the rain though).
Throughout the summer LAC were in great demand, criss-crossing the UK to delight festival audiences at Green Man, Secret Garden Party, Glastonbury, Shambala and many more. They even found time to hook up with North London neighbours Bombay Bicycle Club, lending their percussive beats and soaring horns to the rising indie stars’ celebrated performances at Latitude, Reading and the Other Stage at Glastonbury.
As summer drew to a close, LAC returned to their home town to start work on their second album. The band spend the winter writing and recording but recently found time to play sell out shows at Passing Clouds and the Hideaway to give audiences a sneak peek at the new material.
As a group, LAC are committed to the ideal that well-written, positive music can enrich society. They believe that by playing sets that get a crowd jumping, dancing and smiling, they can help to create an atmosphere where people feel good and positive about themselves and others. In a society where people so often feel alienated and unsatisfied, they feel that music is a key uniting factor.
By approaching their performances from this standpoint, LAC hope to convey a sense of unity and positivity in all their shows.
Labels: London Afrobeat Collective