San Francisco's favorite Kenyan Afro-groovester, Victor Sila, has just released Black President, his second album with the Afrofunk Experience. I'll admit to being a bit biased–Sila is a friend of mine, and I wrote his bio–but I really like the album. The musicianship on the Black President is quite good; the Afrofunk Experience has become a really tight ensemble, and the horns, guitar, and percussion all shine. Sila has evolved both as lead vocalist and songwriter, mixing Fela Kuti-esque social consciousness, righteous James Brownish funk, and various global influences, from Latin to soukous to reggae. My two favorite songs right now are “Shelter” (which addresses the AIDS epidemic, still a matter of grave concern in Africa) and the James Brown tribute “Chrome,” but the entire album is eminently listenable and danceable from start to finish.
The Afrofunk Experience's official record release happens at Mezzanine on May 30, and they've got a bunch of dates lined up through August, including the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, the Salem (Oregon) World Beat Festival, San Mateo's Central Park Music series, the Mt. Shasta Music festival, and the Fillmore Center Music series. Tour dates are here, and a free download of the album's title track is here.