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Vinyl & Sila and the Afrofunk Experience

at GAMH on Sat 8/27

We're Californians, so we adore fusion in our music, as well as in our cuisine. Future collides with tradition as Vinyl and Sila and the Afrofunk Experience bring together the mix just the way we like it. Socially conscious? Check. Funky as hell? Check. The wide array of influences coalesce with blues, afrobeat, latin, reggae, a little ska thrown in for good measure and, of course, funk all in one package. Together these two bands, both of who have a reputation for keeping the party going all night long, a laid-back and sensuous groove, and a unique sound, will be playing at Great American Music Hall.

First up are Vinyl, a band that lays down no-bullshit, dancefloor-filling funk. Vinyl's instrumentation is comprised of vibrant guitar lines, sax, trumpet, flute, harmonica, congas, timbales, bass, drums and topped off with a Hammond that sounds like it's pouring out of a New Orleans blues bar. Vinyl never get tired of tossing out new influences, new sounds, and keeping the groove working, with each player in the seven-piece taking the lead in turn. No one gets tired or bored -- what everyone does get is sweaty. Vinyl received a "Wammie" award for Best International Band from San Francisco's SF Weekly and was voted one of the top 25 bands in the country by a jambands.com nationwide poll. Interesting note: Huey Lewis (yes, of The News) plays the harmonica on their latest album, All The Way Live.

Sila and the Afrofunk Experience create music that's like a rubber band ricocheting back and forth across decades and continents. African artists and rhythms influenced many American artists like James Brown and Prince, who the band then listened to and fused with African sounds. Sila leads a talented group of musicians who draw on diverse influences to form a solid, Africanized world beat groove. This group has played with everyone from Spearhead to Ballet National du Senegal. The lineup contains: on djembe, Samba Guisse, on bass SF native Wendell Rand, on horns is the inimitable Mike Pitre, Tai Kenning on drums, guitars by Ken House and David James, percussion by Elvis Nensah, and Jeremiah Kpoh on turntables.

What sets Sila apart more than his voice, his band leadership, or his take on the music is the way he uses all of it to give back to the world. The band is coming off a recent benefit whose profits went to the Save the Children Fund for children in Darfur, Sudan. Sila's blog (http://victorsila.com/afrofunk/index.php) keeps tabs on what our government is doing (or not doing) to help resolve the current crisis, and also celebrates the small victories won along the journey.

This hodgepodge of sound is sure to leave the dancefloor at Great American Music Hall sweating and smiling. In Sila's words "When it comes down to it, all that matters is the music."

Great American Music Hall
on 8.27
Doors: 8:30 pm
Show: 9pm
Tickets: $15