Alma Afrobeat Ensemble

Alma Afrobeat Ensemble


Afrobeat is what happens when you combine funk, jazz and traditional African rhythms on top of political protest. The Alma Afrobeat Ensemble is dedicated to raising awareness while making the whole room dance. We honor the music of Fela Kuti with our own arrangements and original compositions.


The Alma Afrobeat Ensemble hails from Champaign/Urbana, Illinois. Their emergence in 2005 was more like an explosion, playing to sold out crowds with lines wrapping around the venue... and they're gaining momentum fast. The Ensemble plays an energized set dominated by funky horn lines and powerful percussion. The Alma Afrobeat Ensemble formed to carry on the tradition of Fela Kuti's music while allowing the soul of afrobeat to explore new horizons.
Original Alma music is influenced by such legends as Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, James Brown, Santana, Miles Davis and many others. The members see themselves as musical alchemists experimenting with afrobeat, traditional African music, funk, jazz, reggae, hip-hop, soul, world music and whatever grooves. Come to the shows prepared to dance, sweat, scream, sing, and be blown away by the beats and blaring solos of the Alma Afrobeat Ensemble.


Live EP- "WEFT Sessions Presents: Alma Afrobeat Ensemble"

More live releases coming soon

Set List

Usually our sets go as long as possible, between one and two hours. Songs are usually in the 10-15 minute range, standard for afrobeat and dancing! We play a mixture of old school afrobeat from Fela Kuti, such as Open/Close, JJD, Unnecessary Begging, Trademark and others, as well as originals such as Kudja, Mali and Banlieu. Additionally the band sprinkles in some afrolatin jazz tunes (Afroblue) and modern afrobeat tunes such as NESTA and Si Se Puede from Antibalas. Typical sets alternate styles grooves and tempos, as well as alternating "covers" and originals. Calling the songs from other artists "covers" is like saying that modern jazz bands "cover" All Blues or All of Me. While each song is spontaneous and ever changing in terms of solos and arrangements, set lists are carefully chosen to keep people's feet moving and mind rolling.