Sila and the Afrofunk Experience Black President

Kenya-born and San Francisco-based Victor Sila's sophomore offering seamlessly unifies elements of soukus, Afrobeat, reggae, soul and funk into a musical call to arms. Recorded while tribal warfare raged in his homeland and inspired by Barack Obama's historic presidential victory, every track bristles with tension and urgency, and the conscious lyrical content, covering neo-colonialism, AIDS and political corruption, is heavy, to be sure. This isn't an exercise in didacticism though, since the scorching grooves of Sila's nine-piece band match the intensity of his message. Punchy horns, dual guitars and addictively tight, in the pocket bass and drums ensure that everything's on point, and Sila's vocals, ranging from Fela-inspired call and response to James Brown-ish yelps and squeals, entertain as well as engage. In the best tradition of Fela, James Brown and Bob Marley, Black President is an album that rocks the body and mind. (Visila)