feature: afropunk meets afrofunk – sila releases album/comic book ‘superafrican’
By Sound Check
March 17, 2014
Creative expression is best exemplified through a compilation of various art forms. Whether it be the mixed product of dance and poetry, or the alluring blend achieved when music is intertwined with visual art, the latter of which Kenyan native, Sila, chose to demonstrate through his latest offering. The humanitarian, soulfully-inclined and world music frontiersman has recently released the 12-track SuperAfrican, accompanied by a comic book of the same name. The SuperAfrican comic book—set in the not-too-distant future of 2045 , is based on a concept that provides the children of Sila’s native land with a superhero they can identify with.
By Jarrett Johnson, AFROPUNK Contributor *
Sila has created a superhero whose actions are dedicated to empowering African children through a display of positivity, as well as empathy. This African protagonist clashes with the injustices cast upon his continent’s inhabitants, all the while dealing with issues of poverty, disease, and many of the conditions prevalent in Africa. SuperAfrican is strong-willed, charismatic and dedicated to righteousness. This comic book not only caters to the youth by quenching their necessity to visualize a beacon of luminosity—whom they bear a resemblance to, but it also proposes a weapon against the oppression many children come to grips with on a frequent basis. A comic book is a marvelous visual aid in capturing a young person’s attention, and being that the subject matter pertains to their plight, it is very likely that their interest would be lasting.
By combining his specific brand of R&B with a sound reminiscent of the dark continent, Sila tapped into a musical concoction referred to as Afrofunk—a term coined by Tony Allen, a drummer for Fela Kuti. Afrofunk is a genre consisting of funk, jazz, reggae and African rhythms. Sila became fully invested within this musical hybrid consisting of western influence and African rhythms, so much so, he adopted the term as a one word depiction of his own music. Along with his group Sila and the Afrofunk Experience—formed in 2003, Sila continues to present a sound that still resonates as strongly as it did when he first began developing his niche, which is quite apparent on this new album. SuperAfrican is a hard-hitting, soulful, yet melodic explosion captured on twelve, pulsating tracks. If color possessed a sound, it would closely resemble the tunes bleeding through collective speakers as they belt out the Super African record.
Sila’s funky sound—complete with live instruments played by world renowned musicians, would explain why he is referred to as “Africa’s James Brown”. Sila’s intoxicating musical prowess is matched only by his dedication to conveying a message through his music. In 2009, Sila and the Afrofunk Experience released the album, “Black President” which earned Sila a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding World Music Album. Black President was an album dedicated to activism, and the modification of societal norms, norms that were undoubtedly uprooted by the election of black, African born, president. With SuperAfrican, Sila has again proven his dual capabilities of creating infectiously elevating world music, while delivering an important message to the masses.
All proceeds from the SuperAfrican comic will go to onemama.org which will be used to raise money in efforts to construct a library in a community center located in Kirindi, Uganda. To be part of the Super African journey, purchase a copy of the album (available on iTunes) and comic book (visit http://superafrican.com). Also, follow the band on its album release tour at the following locations:
San Francisco, CA- The Chapel, March 14, 2014
Mill Valley, CA- Sweetwater, March 15, 2014
Santa Cruz, CA- Moe’s Alley , March 16, 2014
Los Angeles, CA- Fais Do-Do, April 5, 2014
Arcata, CA- Jambalaya, April 18, 2014
Eugene, OR- WOW Hall, April 26, 2014
* Jarrett Johnson’s website: kasualworld.com
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