I headed to Chesapeake Beach last weekend equipped with the essentials: sunscreen, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and Chopteeth‘s self-titled debut. Sunscreen was unnecessary (the day, though steamy, was overcast), the pillars a bit heavy (WWI Turkish politics ≠ beach reading). But man, the Chopteeth was right on the money. Whether funky-murky (“Dog Days”), feel-good-shimmery (“Upendo”), rappy (“No Condition Is Permanent,” feat. Head-Roc), or pseudo-political (“Struggle”), the disc’s ten tracks never fail to deliver blood-pumping, Afrofunking goodness.
And how ’bout onstage? From our last write-up:
Chopteeth is a fearsome live act, especially when Anna Mwalagho steps up to the mic to add a gradual, shimmering Swahili lyric to “Upendo.” Maybe the band’s decided that there’s no percentage in edge (it bleeps guest MC Head-Roc, who lends a verse to “No Condition Is Permanent”), but it’s hard not to get swept up in its urgent beat. And if you still need more grit in your groove, Justine Miller’s snarling trumpet pits Maynard Ferguson acrobatics with the deep syncopation of Fela’s great bands.
Catch ’em this Friday at the Strathmore; deets below the jump.
Friday, July 17
Strathmore Arts Center presents
Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band
7:00 PM [gates at 6]
Backyard Theater Stage