The band locks into a fierce soulful groove. With a laugh, the singer enters, Rhodes and percussion percolating behind him. “It’s a beautiful world,” he chuckles, and the music starts to lift off. The Alma Afrobeat Ensemble is on the stage. And that’s where they’ll be starting on May 19th, 2016, as they begin a 10-day Midwestern tour to support their third album, It’s Time (to be released April 15, 2016). It’s definitely time for the band, bringing the heartening sound of Afrobeat from Barcelona, Spain to the American heartland.
“It’s a little weird,” says guitarist and group founder Aaron Feder. “I actually started the band in Chicago in 2003. But I moved to Barcelona 10 years ago and that’s where it really began to happen. So this is actually our first proper American tour.”
To say it’s taken off hardly does the band justice. They’ve closed out the last night of WOMAD Canary Islands, taking the coveted headlining slot, and shared the stage with the legendary master of Ghanaian highlife music, Ebo Taylor, as well as the junkyard pioneers Konono No 1. Afropop Worldwide has called the band’s sound “as dark and intensely danceable as any African musical experience can be,” and their songs have been featured on PRI’s The World, in movies and on TV shows. It’s very definitely time.