The word “eparapo” means “join forces” in Yoruba, the language of Afrobeat. In troubled times when so many seek to divide us, an expression of unity can be an act of defiance. A call to join forces, come together and fight back.
Eparapo is also the title of a track by the late, great Tony Allen – drummer for Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti and lifelong friend and mentor of our very own “Afrobeat Ambassador”, Dele Sosimi. Not only did Tony help to invent Afrobeat, he always looked for ways to push the boundaries, never content with recreating what had gone before but constantly expanding and developing the genre. This project hopes to pay homage to his legacy, and that of Fela Kuti himself. Its aim is to innovate, fuse and diversify while still retaining the essence of the music.
The force behind Eparapo is bassist, composer & producer Suman Joshi. He’s a long time member of Dele Sosimi’s Afrobeat Orchestra and has performed on stage with the likes of Tony Allen, Seun Kuti, Ginger Baker & Laura Mvula. He is also bassist with UK jazz ensemble Collocutor and fusion project Cubafrobeat.
Featured vocalist on both tracks is the aforementioned Dele Sosimi – keyboard player and musical director for Fela’s Egypt 80 as well as Wah Wah 45s recording artist on both his solo material and the recent collaboration with house music producer, Medlar.
The rest of the group comprises of bandleader of Afrik Bawantu and percussionist for Ibibio Sound Machine and Keleketla, Afla Sackey; highly rated UK jazz vocalist Sahre Gure; saxophonist, composer, producer and bandleader of the renowned forward thinking jazz outfit Collocutor, Tamar Obsorn; keyboard player, producer and front man for Lokkhi Terra and Cubafrobeat, Kishon Khan; one of the UK’s finest and most in demand trumpeters, Graeme Flowers, who has played with Quincy Jones, Gregory Porter and many more; trombonist for Bellowhead and mainstay of Dele’s Afrobeat Orchestra, Justin Thurgur; and finally drummer for Steamdown and Sons of Kemet, as well as the man behind the Nache project, Eddie Wakili Hick.
Photo by Chantal Azar