The large American Afrobeat ensemble NOMO relocated from Ann Arbor, Mich., where they’d performed music inspired by the late Nigerian superstar Fela Kuti, to Chicago, where they’ve since absorbed influences from electronic pop, krautrock, Brian Eno, and the Italian novelist Italo Calvino. (They took a Calvino title for their most recent album, Invisible Cities.) The band’s evolving style still reflects African pop’s insistent rhythms and repetitive grooves, but now with an even wider scope. Here's what founding member Elliot Bergman has been listening to lately.
Bubu King (True Panther, 2010)
Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang have been playing amazing shows around Brooklyn this summer. He is backed by some of the guys from Skeleton$ and the band is great. His music is this amazing mix of electronic drums and synths with traditional music from Sierra Leone that Janka says is 500 years old.
Wondervisions (Small Boy Pants, 2010)
Another great new group playing around Brooklyn. We’re excited to play with them at Union Pool next week. He plays these soaring guitar melodies that are very uplifting in a non-cheesy way. Very positive music.
Shangaan Electro: New Wave Dance Music From South Africa (Honest Jon’s Records, 2010)
This stuff is so crazy and fast. A weird mix of urban and rural South African music, with hyper-fast marimba parts. Be careful because you might hurt yourself trying to dance at tempos up to 180 bpm. Be sure to check out some of the YouTube videos of the groups that dance to this style of music.
Court and Spark (Asylum, 1974)
This is a van classic. We like to put on “Help Me” and “Free Man in Paris” and jam those two songs back-to-back for about an hour until we can all nail the harmonies, flute parts, and baritone sax fills. Plus the sweet drum beats! What an amazing record.