The SF Music Award-winning ALBINO! honors the fiery legacy of Fela Kuti, father of Afrobeat. Complete with horn section, choreography, wild costumes & facepaint, the live ALBINO! experience is an outrageous spectacle to behold. ALBINO! acquaints listeners with what it feels like to truly groove.
ALBINO! is a San Francisco-based, ten piece Afrobeat ensemble that honors the fiery legacy of Nigerian musical icon and political outlaw Fela Kuti. ALBINO!’s high-energy grooves and explosive stage show are thick with hypnotic percussion, heavy horns, African dance, wild costumes and elaborate group choreography. To date, the group has won the East Bay Express Best of the Bay Award for “Best Band” and an SF Music Award for “Best World Music Band”.
Armed with Fela’s three preferred weapons of choice, front man Michael Bello contributes lead vocals, saxes, and keyboards to ALBINO!’s intricately layered groove. Bello’s deep vocal growl gives potent, stout-hearted resonance to the band’s socially conscious lyrical messages, another key component of Afrobeat tradition. The four-piece ALBINO! horn section’s boldly-syncopated barrage packs a killer whallop, while their individual solo improvisations routinely reach dizzying climaxes. Alongside Bello on tenor sax is ALBINO! co-founder Nathan Endsley, a former contributor to the trance/world-beat ensemble Hamsa Lila. Riding the upper reaches of the section’s spectrum is trumpeter Chris Brown. Baritone saxophonist Pat Byers, formerly of the globe trotting pan-African funk ensemble Aphrodesia, fattens up the horn section’s “heavy heavy” bottom end.
Anchoring the ALBINO! rhythm section from behind the drum kit is Julian Fritz. A native Oregonian, Julian is a veteran of SF’s eclectic world groove outfit Gamelan X. Dancer/chekere player Kim Agnew fuses West African, Cuban, and Salsa dance styles into her electrifying style of motion and rhythm. Agnew currently performs with several folklore companies and teaches a multi-cultural dance and music outreach program for inner city youth with the San Francisco Ballet.
Tenor guitarist Cal Reichenbach is a seasoned teacher and producer who has toured and recorded with Aphrodesia, and also performs in the jazz funk group SOCKET. On rhythm guitar is Jacob Groopman, an accomplished bluegrass and jazz guitarist who studied at the Oberlin Conservatory. Aaron Bortz from the Humboldt based Afrobeat group Afro Massive holds it down deeply on bass. Covering congas in ALBINO! is percussionist Matthew Smith, a former member of the late SF afro-jam outfit The Flux. Smith developed his afro-cuban technique with percussion masters in Ghana, Mexico, NY and SF.
2007 LP "Rhino"
2008 LP "Live with Karl Denson"
2009 LP "Peralta House"
2009 Comp. "Rough Guide to Afrobeat Revolution"
2009 Comp. PlanetWize "Power up the Planet"
Average set length: 90 minutes
Average number of sets: 2
Deconstruction [of the Transitional Movement]
No Face Enemy
No Go Sell
On the Bus
Dirt Gets Heavy
Brown N' Serve
yoU uS American dream
Everyone Has Answers
Expensive Shit (Fela Kuti)
Gentleman (Fela Kuti)
Kalakuta Show (Fela Kuti)
Quiet Man Is Dead Man (The Daktaris)
Sorrow Tears & Blood (Fela Kuti)
Star Wars Overture Medley (John Williams)