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  • Chris Eckman wrote on May 19, 2012 report

    As a friend of Ben Zabo, and also the producer of his album, I am excited that Chris May enjoys the music. I do find it a bit regrettable that his review becomes obsessed with the semantics of the word "Afrobeat." Afrobeat is not a term that needs protecting, despite May's self-assigned duty to protect it. To imply that Afrobeat starts and stops with the Kuti clan and their cohorts is simply wrong. In the 70's the word and musical style quickly spread throughout Africa and the term was widely used in many different countries by African musicians themselves to describe music, that like Ben Zabo's shared characteristics with Kuti and Tony Allen's music. To imply that the term can only be used in reference to the original nexus of its usage seems unduly limiting and not reflective of the international expansion of the Afrobeat sound. Limiting the term Afrobeat to its Nigerian/Yoruba roots is like saying that we cannot use the term punk rock except in reference to the original CBGBs bands, or that we cannot call any music the Blues unless it originated with a 30 Km radius of Clarksdale, Mississippi. Most people would agree that such limitations are rather absurd. In my liner notes of the album, I only say that Ben Zabo's music is influenced by Afrobeat. May himself writes in his review that Zabo's music shares characteristics, so one wonders why he spends so much time on these peripheral semantics? At the end of the day the music itself is what matters, and I am pleased that May found enjoyment in that: Ben Zabo indeed ROCKS.

  • Chris May wrote on May 19, 2012 report

    Thanks for your response. Protecting Afrobeat's integrity is, however, not "peripheral." Applying the description to music that is not, in any meaningful sense, Afrobeat is simply exploitative. If a label is required for Ben Zabo's music, Afrorock would be a better one.