Antibalas: Tiny Desk Concert It's one thing for 11 musicians to make a big sound — and, sure, Antibalas does that — but what stands out is the subtlety of this ensemble; the way the horns weave in and out of each other, sometimes complementing and at other times inspiring and creating musical conversation between players.

Tiny Desk

Antibalas

Antibalas: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/162165793/162187784" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

There just aren't many bands like Antibalas. These are jazz players making dance music: Their music is big and fun, and their guiding spirit is Fela Kuti, the brilliant big-band leader and Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer. Afrobeat is a musical style featuring nearly endless songs, mixing funk and jazz, grooves and riffs, with the rhythm carried by not only the drums, but everyone. Everyone — horn players, bass players, guitarists — plays rhythm in Afrobeat music.

Antibalas (Spanish for "bulletproof") is a Brooklyn ensemble, and 11 members turned up at the Tiny Desk. Many of these musicians may be familiar to listeners of Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, The Roots, Paul Simon or Public Enemy. Most recently, Antibalas found some fame performing — and some of the members arranging and directing music — for the Tony-winning Broadway stage presentation of Fela!

It's one thing for a big group to make a big sound — and, sure, Antibalas does that — but what stands out is the subtlety of this ensemble; the way the horns weave in and out of each other, sometimes complementing and at other times inspiring and creating musical conversation between players. That extends to all the players, from vocals to guitar. When you start to listen to that conversation and you hear that build in a rhythm, it's so powerful, so full of joy. If they come to your town, drop what you're doing and go see them. Wear dancing shoes.

Set List

  • "Dirty Money"
  • "Him Belly Go No Sweet"

Credits

Producer: Bob Boilen; Editor: Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Christopher Parks, Lauren Rock; photo by Ryan Smith/NPR

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Come From Away plays a Tiny Desk Concert on Aug. 12, 2019 (Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR

Come From Away

Sixteen performers from the Broadway cast crammed behind the Tiny Desk to sing songs and share stories about thousands of airline passengers who were stranded in Newfoundland after 9/11.

Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley

With eyes shut, Marley dug deep into the healing power of music with songs from his 2017 album Stony Hill.

The Tallest Man On Earth plays a Tiny Desk Concert on July 10, 2019. Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

The Tallest Man On Earth (2019)

The Tallest Man On Earth's second appearance at the Tiny Desk comes almost 10 years to the day after his first. He returns with a touch of grey and a beard, but no less intense or moving.

A-WA plays a Tiny Desk Concert (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

A-WA

The three Israeli sisters in A-WA mix Yemenite and Arabic traditions with splashes of reggae and hip-hop.

The-Dream plays a Tiny Desk Concert on April 12, 2019 (Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR). Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR

The-Dream

The singer and mega-hit songwriter showcases three of his own tracks, including "I Luv Your Girl" and two songs from Ménage à Trois: Sextape Vol. 1, 2, 3.

Dan Tepfer plays a Tiny Desk concert on July 30, 2019 (Olivia Falcigno/NPR). Olivia Falcigno/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Olivia Falcigno/NPR

Dan Tepfer

The pianist and programmer has transformed the acoustic piano into his duet partner.

47SOUL plays a Tiny Desk Concert on July 1, 2019 (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

47SOUL

47SOUL's message of equality is meant for the world. It's music without borders, mixing old and new, acoustic and electronic from a band formed in Amman Jordan, singing in Arabic and English.

Mandolin Orange plays a Tiny Desk Concert on June 21, 2019 (Shuran Huang/NPR). Shuran Huang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Shuran Huang/NPR

Mandolin Orange

Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz made everything seem so easy, with just a few acoustic instruments and a single microphone behind the Tiny Desk, performing songs full of joy and thoughtfulness.

Nicole Bus plays a Tiny Desk Concert on July 8, 2019 (Olivia Falcigno/NPR). Olivia Falcigno/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Olivia Falcigno/NPR

Nicole Bus

Nicole Bus' sound is reminiscent of vintage R&B, yet still feels current and capable of transcending age and demographics.

Tobe Nwigwe plays a Tiny Desk Concert on June 27, 2019 (Bob Boilen/NPR). Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

Tobe Nwigwe

The Houston-based rapper's mindful words are like a life hack for anyone seeking guidance, with pleas to look past inherent hardships and evil and to stay focused on life's ultimate prizes.

Back To Top