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At the Granada Theater in Dallas, TX on May 19, 2005.
At the Granada Theater in Dallas, TX on May 19, 2005.
Background information
Also known asAntibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
OriginUnited States
GenresAfrobeat, funk, jazz
Years active1998–present
LabelsNinja Tune, ANTI-, Ropeadope Records, Exactamundo, Daptone
MembersMartín Perna
Marcos García
Jordan McLean
Marcus Farrar
Reinalde Dejesus
Will Rast
Justin Kimmel
Timothy J Allen
Kevin Raczka
Raymond James Mason
Raja Kassi
Morgan Price
Eric Biondo
Jackie Coleman
Past memberssee below

Antibalas (Spanish for "bulletproof") is an American, Brooklyn-based afrobeat band that is modeled after Fela Kuti's Africa 70 band and Eddie Palmieri's Harlem River Drive Orchestra. Although their music generally follows the musical architecture and language of afrobeat, it incorporates elements of jazz, funk, dub, improvised music, and traditional drumming from Cuba and West Africa.


Founded in 1998 by Martín Perna as "Conjunto Antibalas", the group first performed on May 26, 1998, at St. Nicks Pub in Harlem at a poetry night organized by renowned visual artist Xaviera Simmons. Over the course of the next few months, the group solidified with a core of eleven band members and expanded their repertoire of original songs. For the first year of the group's existence, they performed exclusively at non-commercial venues such as block parties, lofts, and public parks, before securing a Friday night residency at the now-defunct NoMoore in August 1999. Called Africalia!, the residency lasted from August 1999 till April 2001, when the club was shut down by fire officials during the Giuliani administration's crackdown on nightclubs and cabarets. Guitarist and producer/engineer Gabriel Roth wrote several of the earlier tunes and oversaw recording and production of the first three records.

Over the next few years, the band's presence grew; by summer 2000 Antibalas had released their first album Liberation Afrobeat Vol. 1 and had toured twice in England, while continuing to play at venues throughout New York City. Recording with the group in the early days was Cameroonian drummer Jojo Kuo, who can be heard on the studio recordings of "Uprising" and "Machete".

By early 2002, the horn-driven outfit had released their second album, Talkatif, and continued to tour throughout the United States and Europe. In summer 2004, their third studio album, Who is This America?, was released on Ropeadope Records. Antibalas's album, Security, was produced by John McEntire and released on the ANTI- label in 2007.

Antibalas has performed in 35 countries, including Japan and Australia, and throughout New York City, from Carnegie Hall to Central Park Summerstage to the Rikers Island prison facility.

The group has received guest visits from several musicians from Fela Kuti's Afrika 70 and Egypt 80 bands, including Tony Allen (drums), Femi Kuti (alto sax), Seun Kuti (tenor sax), Tunde Williams (trumpet), Oghene Kologbo (guitar), Nicolas Addey (congas), Dele Sosimi (keyboards), Ola Jagun (drums/percussion), and Jojo Kuo (drums) among others.

In the summer of 2008, Antibalas was featured off-Broadway in Fela!, a musical celebrating the life of Fela Kuti. The group arranged and performed the show's score of music originally performed by Kuti. In the fall of 2009, Fela! opened on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, once again with Antibalas.

In 2010, the band released their Rat Race EP, with an arrangement of Bob Marley's "Rat Race" featuring Amayo on vocals, as well as "Se Chifló" featuring Chico Mann as vocalist.

In 2011, the band reunited with producer and former Antibalas guitarist Gabriel Roth at Daptone Studios in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to record their fifth full-length album, entitled Antibalas. The album was released on August 7, 2012, on the Daptone label.

The band resumed a heavy touring schedule beginning in April 2012 with their debut tour in Brazil, performing in São Paulo and Recife, and kicked off a US tour at the Outsidelands Festival in San Francisco, followed by a tour of California. On August 24, 2012, Antibalas made their national television debut, performing their single "Dirty Money" on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. On September 11, they resumed their US/Canada tour with 30 dates in the Midwest, East Coast, Southeast and Gulf Coast, including the Austin City Limits Festival. On October 4, they appeared on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts.[1] The band toured in Europe in October and November 2012, followed by an Australian tour in March 2013 . In May of the same year Antibalas visited Mexico for first time, performing in Puebla "Festival 5 de Mayo" with original members like Victor Axelrod.

In 2015, The Antibalas horn section collaborated with The Dap-Kings horn section, Mark Ronson, and Bruno Mars to record Uptown Funk and other tracks from Mark Ronson's 2015 album Uptown Special. They also performed Uptown Funk together on Saturday Night Live in November 2014.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

In 2020, Antibalas released their seventh full-length studio album, entitled Fu Chronicles, on the Daptone label. Amayo told NPR's Morning Edition "Since I was a kid, I was always studying martial arts and kung fu was very central [to] everything I did. So when I started playing music, I couldn't imagine not having kung fu as part of that training. But then, I wanted to now figure out a way to bring it all together. So this album was the first chapter in [which] kung fu meets Afrobeat."[9] The band will be on a worldwide tour in support of Fu Chronicles throughout 2020.[10] Fu Chronicles was nominated in the category of Best Global Music Album for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.[11]

Band members[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Antibalas: Tiny Desk Concert". Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  2. ^ Rogers, Ray (November 10, 2014). "Mark Ronson Says New Single With Bruno Mars 'Uptown Funk' Is a Milestone for Both of Them". Billboard. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  3. ^ RYZIK, MELENA (January 11, 2015). "Back to the Studio, With Hits in Hand: Mark Ronson's Fourth Solo Album, 'Uptown Special,' Is a Star Collaboration". The New York Times. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  4. ^ Fusilli, Jim (January 12, 2015). "Big-Name Musicians Get Funky: Mark Ronson once again proves he has superb taste in funk and R&B on 'Uptown Special'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  5. ^ Johnston, Maura (January 9, 2015). "Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson head 'Uptown' to No. 1". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  6. ^ Schiff, Mark (November 10, 2014). "Mark Ronson shares funky new song with Bruno Mars, announces upcoming album". AXS. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  7. ^ Molanphy, Chris (January 13, 2015). "Why Is Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk!" No. 1?". Slate. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  8. ^ Byron, Tim (December 16, 2014). "Number Ones: Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars 'Uptown Funk'". The Vine. Archived from the original on March 21, 2015. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "Antibalas' 'Fu Chronicles' Is A Martial Arts-Inspired Testament To Afrobeat". February 8, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  10. ^ "Antibalas Announces New Album 'Fu Chronicles' & Early-2020 Tour, Shares Single". November 19, 2019. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
  11. ^ "2021 GRAMMYs: Complete Nominees List". November 24, 2020. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  12. ^ "Review – Antibalas (self-titled)". August 7, 2012. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  13. ^ Sylvester, Daniel (September 13, 2017). "Antibalas Where the Gods Are in Peace". Exclaim!. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  14. ^ "ANTIBALAS RELEASING NEW ALBUM 'FU CHRONICLES' ON DAPTONE RECORDS FEBRUARY 7TH". November 22, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  15. ^ "Daptone Records on Instagram: "@Antibalas is back with a new album, Fu Chronicles, out February 7th. Listen to their new single "Fight Am Finish" and pre-order now via link in profile: with a globetrotting 20-year career renowned for being a voice for the people across four decades of political and societal upheaval from the late '90s to today, Antibalas celebrates its 20th Anniversary with a stark return to their Williamsburg roots on its latest Daptone Records studio album, Fu Chronicles. Pre-gentrified Williamsburg serves as the backdrop for Fu Chronicles–voyaging back to the early days of when Antibalas and Daptone Records spawned out of lead singer Duke Amayo's kung fu dojo. A senior master of the Jow Ga Kung FuSchool of martial arts, Duke Amayo along with Antibalas founder/Baritone saxophonist Martín Perna guide listeners through an epic journey of where kung fu ingeniously intersects with Afrobeat on Fu Chronicles. #antibalas #daptonerecords"". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021. Retrieved December 13, 2019.

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