“Black President” Becomes an Internet Sensation

January 26, 2009

Sila and the Afrofunk Experience Release their Funkiest, Most-Relevant Song To Date: “Black President” Becomes an Internet Sensation
San Francisco, California – January 23, 2009 –

As the United States-and the world-revels in Inaugural celebrations commemorating Barack Obama’s historic Presidency, San Francisco-based band Sila and the Afrofunk Experience have joined the legions of musicians paying tribute with what may be the first pro-Obama Afrobeat song, “Black President.”

“Mister President, I got something to say! People are hungry for change,” Sila announces, over a multi-layered, multicultural layered groove which references both James Brown and Fela Kuti while charting its own musical agenda. One of the band’s hardest-hitting and socially-relevant musical compositions to date, “Black President” makes a bold plea for Sila and the AFE’s inclusion into the top tier of Afrobeat revivalists as well as among the most original in the resurgent genre (originally started by Fela in the late ’60s/early ’70s).

Significantly, “Black President” unites James Brown’s “Funky President,” Fela’s honorary moniker, and Obama’s history-making win into a song impossible to resist, both on the dancefloor, and in the hearts and minds of all those who believed Obama’s trademark credo, “Yes We Can!” Yet believing in change is only the first step, Sila emphasizes; the next is being the change.

Strident, punchy horns, an insistent bassline, fuzztone guitars, and Sila’s impassioned, cries of “I am change, you are change…love is all we need now” combine with a seriously funk-infused rhythmic sensibility which connects Obama’s message of hope with the need for meaningful and lasting changes in both global foreign policy and the way we view each other as human beings.

Since being leaked as an mp3 on January 19th–one day before Obama’s inauguration–“Black President” amassed over 4,000 downloads in just 48 hours, and has already garnered write-ups in SF Weekly, World Music Central, and airplay on KPFA’s “Hard Knock Radio.”

Clearly, Sila and the AFE have struck a resonant chord, one that’s perfectly in tune with the evolutionary paradigm shift currently taking place all over the world.

Obama’s election has special significance to frontman Victor Sila, a Kenyan native-turned-San Francisco expatriate who feels personally validated by the election of an African to the nation’s highest office. Noting that Obama fever has brought Kenyans — whose recent elections were marred by ethnic strife — closer as a nation, Sila remains optimistic about the possible effect Obama’s presidency could have on politics in Africa.

“Obama’s speech about ‘clenched fists should become open hands’ and that ‘people will remember you by not what you destroy but what you build’ might very well rub off on African leaders such as Zimbabwe’s Mugabe and Kenya’s Kibaki and Odinga,” Sila says. “Africans are hoping Obama will have a better relationship with the continent than previous commanders-in-chief,” he adds, noting that the United States must learn from the painful lessons of Sudan, Somalia and Rwanda if it is to be a true world leader. “Obama has to do right by Africa,” he states emphatically.

Inspired by artists like Fela Kuti, Sly Stone, James Brown, and Bob Marley, Sila and the Afrofunk Experience have emerged as one of the most exciting and authentic new American bands flying the world music flag in recent years. Having established a strong following touring up and down the West Coast and hosting their own Afrofunk Festival-whose proceeds help child victims of war, famine and disease in Africa-the ten-piece outfit is poised to make 2009 a year of positive change – just like the United States’ 44th President, Barack Obama.

Following up their critically-acclaimed first album, The Funkiest Man in Africa, Sila and the Afrofunk Experience delve even deeper into funky Afro-groove and socially-conscious, politically-aware messages on their soon-to-be-released sophomore effort, Black President. For more info, or to download the song “Black President,” visit www.AfroFunk.net.

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