City Slang: Odu Afrobeat Orchestra at the Concert of Colors

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Part of what this whole City Slang thing is all about is delving into and discovering genres of music, little musical subcultures, that you, the reader, and I, the writer, may not have previously been aware of. Sometimes that will mean exploring one of the countless sub-sub-genres of rock or electronic music, and that’s great. But the Concert of Colors is an excellent way to really study some music that lies off the beaten path. A lot of this stuff is lumped together as “world music”, but that almost seems disrespectful and lazy. Here in Detroit, we have such a gloriously diverse collection of cultures, and this festival is a wonderful chance to celebrate them all.

Last night, I had a great evening watching the Don Was Detroit All-Star Revue but, to be honest, most of the artists performing were people that I was aware of and had enjoyed in the past. On Sunday, I wanted to challenge myself a little more, and that is why I watched the Odu Afrobeat Orchestra.

The thing is, the band turned out not to be challenging in the least. Once they kicked into gear and the beat seemed to be bouncing around the room with unapologetic glee, listening to this collective seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do. I was almost tempted to dance with the masses gathered on the floor, but Detroit isn’t yet ready for my lack of rhythm.

Listening to this band in the live setting isn’t dissimilar to attending a techno show (besides the volume). The rhythm and the beat have much to do with the experience. To this writer, this isn’t music to listen to in the car or while working at a desk. This is music to dance to. To let yourself go to. It’s party music, and it’s incredible fun.

The band, featuring Joel Peterson on bass, were tight and impressive. But let’s not dwell on technical details. The Odu Afrobeat Orchestra are, as they proved at the Concert of Colors, a celebration of diversity, of musical expertise, and of life.


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