Askari Afrobeat Orchestra

The Askari afrobeat orchestra is one of the bands I play in regularly around the Perth metropolitan area. We are a 13 piece band, yes that is big, that have been brought together by a common love for African music, particularly the Afrobeat of Fela Kuti and Tony Allen.

Since forming in 2009 we have been the resident band at Afrodisia, this is a night promoted by Think Twice promotions which celebrates African Music, particularly the genre of Afrobeat. The Afrodisia nights started at Mojos in North Fremantle once a month on a Saturday before moving earlier in 2010 to being hosted at the Funk Club which is located upstairs at the Leederville Hotel. Afrodisia occurs the third Saturday of every month, the rest of the Friday nights at the Funk Club feature local, national and international acts in the Soul and Funk genres. On the 8th October the band get to support the inaugural visit of Mulatu Astatke and the 11 piece band “The Black Jesus Experience” at the Bakery in Northbridge. Multatu is considered to be the Father of the style of music known as Ethio-Jazz.

The band has largely been influenced by the music of Fela Kuti, considered the Father of Afrobeat, as well as Toni Allen and others including Fela Kuti, Tony Allen, Manu Dibango, Mulatu Astatqe, Franco Luambo Makaidi, Antibalas, Ebo Taylor, Alhaji K. Frimpong, the Daktaris, Orchestra Baobab, Sam Mangwana, Tabu Ley Rocheareau, Mbaraka Mwinshehe, Mahmoud Ahmed, Wallias Band in styles that include Afrobeat, Afrofunk, Highlife and Ethio Jazz.

The Askari are a local Perth band and comprise of 13 local Perth Musicians who work in numerous other bands across the city. The high level of skill and years of experience of these performers leads to a high energy and exciting evening of entertainment every time. Co-led by Jon Fernandes (Bass) and Jamie Searle (Guitar) the band features Grace Barbe (Neema) – bass, guitar, vocals. Ofa Fotu (Mrembo) – guitar, percussion, vocals. Rhys Bailey-Brooks (Kijana) – baritone saxophone. Jimmy Murphy (Madomo) – trumpet. Alistair McEvoy (Buzi) – saxophones. Simon Montgomery (Mtaalamu) – alto, tenor sax. John Brown (Anaondokaye) – sticks, shakere. Shane Kearney (Bingwa) – congas, djembe, talking drum. Zen Fusion (Kifimbo) – drum set. The regular band has also been joined at various times by many other musicians form in the Perth Music community for various shows.

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