Aphrodesia Lagos by Bus

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Like musical cousins Antibalas and NOMO, the Bay Area Afrobeat enthusiasts of Aphrodesia take their Afro straight-up, no relaxer: The group recently toured Africa, sucking up influences, and even playing Fela Kuti’s daughter’s club in Nigeria. Lagos by Bus shows off this knowledge, resetting highlife and Afrobeat sounds alongside American free-jazz influences and other African sounds, such as mbira playing reminiscent of Thomas Mapfumo’s Blacks Unlimited. Yet something musically timid remains, as though Aphrodesia remains slightly in awe of its influences, and for now it seems that this remarkably talented band’s best efforts remain on stage rather than in the studio.