If there's one thing Asheville, North Carolina, is good at exporting, it's sure-fire music talent — especially of the Afro-hippie variety. That town's got more dub, Afrobeat, and West African percussion acts fronted by Anglos than you can imagine. Interestingly, most of them are pretty good, but one Asheville group seems to have its groove locked in even tighter than most. Listen to the funky sounds of nine-piece powerhouse ensemble the Afromotive and it's hard not to get enraptured as crisp keyboard, brass, and percussion instruments all work together to create a cohesive sound. Led by an affable frontman, Kevin Meyame of the Ivory Coast, the Afromotive's biggest asset is its ability to expound upon the groundwork laid by Tony Allen, Fela Kuti, and other Afrobeat giants, then to pepper it with a heavily synthesized modern touch. When the combination of old- and new-school Afro-funk comes out right, the Afromotive is a force to be reckoned with. You can try to compare them to other contemporary Afrobeat groups like Antibalas or Nomo, but it's only a waste of time. With the '70s long gone, any group adventurous enough to take on Afrobeat as its life work will undoubtedly interpret it in different fashions, and the Afromotive is no different.
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