On SuperAfrican, his first album in three years, singer-songwriter-producer Sila Mutungi delivers his most impassioned and eclectic work to date. The Kenyan-born artist, who’s lived in San Francisco for the last decade, harked back to his childhood growing up on a rural village 45 miles from Nairobi, for inspiration while making the new album.
The result is a twelve-track effort that shimmers, pulses, and throbs with earnest and heartfelt expressions of American pop, R&B, soul, and funk, filtered through an Afropop prism. Though all of the lyrics (with the exception of Sila’s trademark tribal shouts and wails) are sung in English, it’s a record with a global identity...much like Sila himself. SuperAfrican looks at American black music through the eyes and ears of an African expatriate, grasping for the American Dream while relating the immigrant experience in this country, adapting to encompass new forms of expression while still retaining a native cultural identity.
SuperAfrican represents a stunning achievement for Sila, who surpasses previous platitudes (he’s been called a “Kenyan funk master” and “Africa’s James Brown”) to incorporate a wildly diverse musical sensibility that thinks outside the genre-limited box of both funk and Afrobeat, the two styles Sila has fused throughout most of his career.
Prior to writing and recording SuperAfrican, his first record as a solo artist, Sila spent seven years as frontman of the Afrofunk Experience, who rose to the top of the Bay Area’s storied world music scene with their funkified take on Afrobeat. Sila recorded two critically-acclaimed albums with the AFE, The Funkiest Man in Africa and Black President (the latter recording earned Sila a 2010 NAACP Image Award, for which he beat out better-known artists including Zap Mama and Omou Sangare).
In addition to being an artist who’s been at the cutting edge of the West Coast’s progressive world music scene for years, Sila has also made a noticeable impact with his support for humanitarian causes. He is a co-founder (with DJ Jeremiah) of the Afrofunk Festival, an annual multi-day music festival which raised money for refugees and orphans in East Africa. And in 2010, Sila produced the I [Heart] Haiti benefit, which raised more than $10,000 for earthquake relief efforts.
With SuperAfrican, Sila has made an album suitable for making sweet love, wrestling lions, or enjoying a night out. It’s the latest step in a journey that has taken him from Africa to the United States to Europe, and back again, while allowing him to share his own story with the world.
San Francisco powerhouse, Native Elements has been keeping the energetic, feel-good reggae tradition alive in the Bay Area for over 19 years. Comprised of 10 seasoned musicians with years of experience in rock, metal, blues, jazz, r&b and hip-hop, this eclectic and fearless crew melds their unique influences into a
contemporary melodic horn-driven party. Each show takes their listeners through improvisational peaks and valleys from blazing guitar solos to soaring saxophone wails while providing an authentic reggae foundation. Having grown up together since elementary school (playing in garage bands and skateboarding) in Daly City and South City, CA, Native Elements bring a uniquely warm experience to the stage that is both entertaining and uplifting