News, reviews and commentary on afrobeat and related music from Africa, The Caribbean and The Americas

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Afrobeat Band & Song Organization

By David McDavitt

Afrobeat Instrumentation (15-30 pieces)
o Sticks (claves)
o Drum set
o Bass Guitar (1+)
o Shekere
o Rhythm Congas (separate players for 2+ parts)
o Lead congas (3 akuba played by 1 player) and bells
o Rhythm Guitars (2+)
o Tenor Guitar (plays a finger-picked ostinato)
o Saxes (2+): bari. & tenor always, alto/sopr. occas.
o Trumpets (2+)
o Trombone (occas.)
o Organ/Keyboards (1 solo & 1 rhythm)
o Lead vocals
o Chorus vocals (6+)

Song form (early 70’s Afrobeat):
o Intro-chirping piano or guitar ostinato with percussion
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . lead conga, sticks, shekere)
o Rhythm guitar enters
o Bass guitar, drum kit, & rhythm congas enter
o Leader (Fela) solos on organ or sax
o Head (main theme) is introduced (horns)
o Series of horn solos [horn theme background]
o Head (main theme)
o Leader solos [horn theme background] Lyrics
o Lyrics with chorus response
o Lyrics/chorus/horn call & responses (increasingly interlocked & percussive)
o Leader Solo (Fela), end of song

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