Jun 23, 2011

From Switzerland: The Faranas - Who Are You?

In the seventies, when Fela Kuti started to mix Afro music with Jazz and Funk, he created the Afro beat the way it is known today. Now, 40 years later, Afro beat is experiencing a revival, not least due to the Broadway and London musicals honoring Fela Kuti.

Switzerland now has its own Afro beat orchestra: The Faranas. If you assumed that the ten Bern-based musicians merely want to be part of an upcoming musical trend, you assumed wrongly. It all started in Berne, on a hot summer night in 2003.

Long before the Afro beat fever hit Switzerland, a bunch of Bernese musicians played a concert in honor of Fela Kuti. The club was packed with people sweating, singing and dancing until the early hours. Even though it was planned to be a one-time event, the success of the night led the musicians to pursue the concept to keep giving concerts. After countless shows in Switzerland, Germany and Italy, playing the music by the Nigerian, Fela Kuti, the group, then known as The Felas, decided to write and record their own material.

By releasing their first record, Who Are You? the Swiss-Senegalese group, now The Faranas, has made a substantial contribution to the further development of Afro Beat music.

Who Are You? – the Album

When listening to The Faranas, it becomes obvious that they are not reproducing ready-made patterns, but presenting their own musical interpretations. This is also reflected in the slightly ironic band name The Faranas (Pidgin English for foreigners) as well as in the title of the album Who Are You?.

The Senegalese singer and percussionist Mori Samb, who joined the group in 2009 was born to a Griot family. Griots are the poets of western Africa who hand down their traditional knowledge and wisdom through chants and stories. Mori Samb, has added a new colorful dimension to the Afro beat of The Faranas.

There are no boundaries to the new Afro beat fever. Will Switzerland soon submit to the hype?



Farana = Pidgin English for “foreigner”.

Some Faranas travelled around the globe with open ears and have found a new home within the melting pot of their ideas. They have come up with a unique interpretation of afro beat, which they are now presenting on stage and on their new CD.

The Faranas’ musical roots can be traced back to dirty funk, swinging jazz, soul and electro. These influences are mixed with traditional Griot chants, driving percus sion pat terns as well as afro beat grooves. The result is an authentic, archaic but still modern sound.

The raw grooves of the rhythm section are the Faranas’ heart beat. The drumbeat and the earthy virtuous bass combined with percussion, guitar and vibraphone form the foundation for the powerful horns, the soulful vocals in English and the Griot chants in Wolof.

The Faranas support your heartbeat, flush your ears and electrify your legs.



Press comments

“The currently most interesting World Music Band in Switzerland”

“Rarely has a provocative follows grooving Tonwerk leaving a Bernese Studio.”

“With influences of jazz and funk, their Afrobeat invites furiously to dance and party, without never losing itself in monotony.”

“At the release party, an impressive concert from where every note is sitting at the right place. In the audience, the jazz savvy as well as the native African are equally represented - and all get their money’s worth.”


01. Ouverture
02. Saccarbala
03. Who Are You? Intro
04. Who Are You?
05. Nomad Tales
06. Dochinudjamano
07. Die Kaa
08. Djiowlene
09. New
10. Farana
11. Xew Xew

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