Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Based in Asheville, NC, this large ensemble plays music inspired by West African rhythms and songs- while bringing the music to the 21st Century through strong composition, improvisation, and straight ahead dance beats.


"The Afromotive fuse the polyrhythms of Afrobeat with funk and extended improv... If you can stand still listening to their music, check your pulse- you might be dead."
Jack Silverman, Nashville Scene

"The Asheville, N.C., band fuses the brass and polyrhythms of Fela Kuti with jazzy improvisational solos and a heavy dose of funk."
Fritz Hahn, Washington Post

Based in Asheville, NC, Afromotive is helping to start a new wave of uptempo afrobeat music- fusing West African rhythms, song forms, and instrumentation with funk, improvisation, and straight-ahead dance beats.

A fan once said, “It’s sounds like James Brown’s band went to Africa.” Furthering the connection between traditional African rhythms and American funk and dance music is precisely what Afromotive is doing with their style of afrobeat music.

Thirty-third generation djembe player Adama Dembele from Cote d‘Ivoire, West Africa brings his vast musical knowledge and touring experience to the Afromotive. Traditional West African rhythms combined with a mentality for upbeat funk music is what the Afromotive brings to its audiences. They have created a sound that crosses musical and ethnic boundaries.

On their debut album "Scare Tactics," Afromotive takes the raw energy of their live performance into the studio. This album is an elaboration on the language of afrobeat music, yielding a truly unique sound that is rooted in tradition.

Afromotive has performed with many notable musicians, including:
Erykah Badu (special guest appearance, World Grotto, Knoxville, June 10 2006)
Michael Franti and Spearhead (AmJam 07, Smilefest 06, Fall LEAF 05)
Jeff Coffin (special guest appearance, AmJam 2008)
Kalakuta Moziak (former guitarist of Fela Kuti's Egypt 80)
Mamadou Diabate (One World Innernational Music Celebration, Deerfields, NC, Aug 19 2006)
Ikwunga (the Afrobeat Poet, Apache Cafe, Atlanta, Dec. 30 2005)
Cyro Baptista and Beat the Donkey (Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte, Apr. 20 2006)
Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk
Jude Osadalos (ex- Femi Kuti drummer)(Emerald Lounge, Asheville July 05)
Rebirth Brass Band (Tipitina's, New Orleans, Nov 24 2006)

Selection of Past Festival Appearances:
Bonnaroo (2008)
Joshua Tree Music Festival (2008)
Bear Creek Music Festival (2008)
Trinumeral Festival (2008)
Asheville Music Jamboree (2007-08)
Bele Chere (2007-08)


One Way Go

Written By: Meyame

My people when dem dey hear
Dem no think
Dem go believe
Dem dey go one way go
Forget about your past
No care about the present
Your future be one way go

We learn from past mistake
We learn from past mistake

What you gonna do
You been push us
you been push us
We no go
What you gonna do
You been scare us,
you been scare us
We no go
What you gonna do
You been beat us,
you been kill us
We no go

We know no go
One way go
How hard dey push us
We know no go

On The Cuff

Written By: Knowles, Ryan



Independent Single release "Simbo" released Fall 2009. Available at live performances and on itunes.

Debut album "Scare Tactics" released October 16, 2007, on Harmonized Records.

Set List

The Afromotive plays 1 or 2 sets depending on the crowd and the bill.