I had no idea who he was or just how significant a person could be in music. Especially in the creation of a new music genre that is just so, simply put, fucking fresh.
In the late 1950s, Kuti left his native Nigeria to go study medicine in London. Instead, he ended up studying music at Trinity College of Music. During those years, he formed a band, got married and had 3 children. Over the next few decades, Fela Kuti would bounce back and forth between Nigeria, London and U.S. while working with his band and spreading the sound of Afrobeat.
Fela started not just a band, but a movement. Afro-beat is a hypnotizing concoction of West African drums, American jazz, funk, soul, and rock serving as backdrop to politics-tinged, history-mapping and love-inducing lyrics.
Surely Afrobeat has been around in the District, but it was never a prevailing or obvious sound to expect from the DMV area..not until Lunchbox Theory Productions took reign and introduced the area to this great sound.
This newly-formed production team, co-managed by Christine and Allison. Two twenty-somethingers, one hailing from The Bay and the latter from Maryland, but having lived in the District for years, they shared a common vision of introducing a plethora of different sounds, events and causes to the area.
They introduced themselves to the area for Inauguration back in January when they had The People’s Party at Selam restaurant and bar (1524 U Street, Washington , DC 20009). After some planning and organizing, the team had their first Afro-beat party in March 2009, with DJ Underdog spinning ONLY records, (no ipods/computers!), no dress-code, $1 cover, face-painting, drummers, live art, and drink specials from 10-12am.
From March up till this past August, this last-Friday-of-every-month event has developed a very strong following and managed to receive positive press and grow its attendance enough so, in sucha short number of months that there’s almost always a line outside to get in…and you definitely want to be inside for the entire duration of the party.
Selam restaurant and bar has pretty simple two-room layout. Intimate.It gets hot but in a good way. The way a party should when you are having a great time, whilst dancing to beautiful music, mingling with a friendly-chill crowd and sipping from the decently-priced drinks in your hands.
Here are the last 3 mixtapes that Lunchbox Theory Productions has come out with:
Lastly, a few past flyers for your viewing pleasure:
Stay tuned for news on the next Afrobeat Fridays events and please do check out Lunchbox Theory Productions website.