ALMA AFROBEAT ENSEMBLE with special guest

The Cedar and Mshale Present

ALMA AFROBEAT ENSEMBLE with special guest

Fri, June 30, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Cedar Cultural Center - Global Roots

Minneapolis, MN

$15 Advance / $20 Day of show

This event is all ages

This is a standing show with an open floor.

Tickets are available online, by phone, ​and at Depth of Field, Electric Fetus, and The Cedar during shows.

Sponsored by Mshale African News.

Alma Afrobeat Ensemble
Alma Afrobeat Ensemble
The band locks into a fierce soulful groove. With a laugh, the singer enters, Rhodes and percussion percolating behind him. “It’s a beautiful world,” he chuckles, and the music starts to lift off. The Alma Afrobeat Ensemble is on the stage. And that’s where they’ll be starting on May 19th, 2016, as they begin a 10 day Midwestern tour to support their third album, It’s Time (to be released April 1, 2016). It’s definitely time for the band, bringing the heartening sound of Afrobeat from Barcelona, Spain to the American heartland.

“It’s a little weird,” says guitarist and group founder Aaron Feder. “I actually started the band in Chicago in 2003. But I moved to Spain 10 years ago and that’s where it really began to happen. So this is actually our first proper American tour.”

To say it’s taken off hardly does the band justice. They’ve closed out the last night of WOMAD Canary Islands, taking the coveted headlining slot, and shared the stage with the legendary master of Ghanaian highlife music, Ebo Taylor, as well as the junkyard pioneers Konono No 1. Afropop Worldwide has called the band’s sound “as dark and intensely danceable as any African musical experience can be,” and their songs have been featured on PRI’s The World, in movies and on TV shows. It’s very definitely time.
“It’s Time has 35 minutes of music that we played live in the studio, with just a few overdubs later,” Feder says. “Then we gave those tracks to some DJs to reimagine the music. We’ve done that all through our career, with every album. The only instructions were that they shouldn’t sound like the originals.”

The five remixes by the likes of DJ Farmo, DJ Phader, Los Kalakos, DJ Quiet and Ray Lugo, that make up the rest of the album do the band full justice, but certainly take the music in very different directions, bringing in elements of hip-hop, coupé decalé, dance music, and dub. And that’s absolutely fine, Feder says.
“We’re not purists. Afrobeat has always been dance music. That’s what Fela made. But he was also influenced by what he heard when he was in London and Los Angeles. He saw the possibilities for the music, and we try to also. We’re not revisiting the past. We want to embrace the future.”

Like Fela Kuti, the originator of Afrobeat, the band isn’t afraid to tackle difficult issues in the music. “Shakedown” explores racism and corruption, while “Lost” looks at the philosophical implications of being a good person. But through it all, the beat continues, moving feet as well as hearts and minds.

Putting original music and remixes on the same disc also deliberately raises the question of what, exactly, is an album these days.

“We certainly wanted to consider that,” Feder notes. “The definition has changed so much in the last 10 years. So often now, people think in terms of individual tracks and all the different formats, so bands have to, as well. But we still tell a story with the album, hence the Side A and Side B. Plus, just before the tour we’ll put out a vinyl version of It’s Time with just the four original cuts. But there’ll also be a code to download all the tracks, including the remixes. We think it’s quite a modern album.”

The album also marks another big change: the addition of a new member to the nine-strong band. Singer Joe Psalmist was born in Lagos, Nigeria; he has Afrobeat in his blood and that shows in the way he’s quickly become an integral member of the band, with a commanding presence both onstage and on recordings.

“I met him two years ago,” Feder recalls. “Joe comes from a musical family and he runs a gospel choir here. He fits naturally into the band, this takes him to part of his musical heritage. He’s very influenced by soul music and you can hear that in his voice.”
The band has evolved. That’s documented in the music Alma Afrobeat Ensemble has released, and all the shows the musicians have played, even taking the music back to the African continent on one notable occasion when they played in the city of Ceuta.
In addition to the musicians coming from the Iberian Peninsula, the band will pick up local musicians in the Midwest, bringing a slightly different twist to the tour.

“It’s going to be good,” Feder says with certainty. “I’ve played with these people before when I’ve come back to Chicago. They’ll fit in, but they’ll also bring their own styles. When we tour we almost always pick up additional horn players and percussionists wherever we go; sometimes dancers and other guests. This way there is more of a community atmosphere, and we can have more interaction with our environment. And it’s going to be a thrill to bring this music back to where I grew up. I’m so proud of what everyone in the band has done, and what they’ve given and keep on giving.”
It’s Time.
Venue Information:
Cedar Cultural Center - Global Roots
416 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN, 55454


Ticket options and info

PLEASE NOTE: Tickets are not always available at Depth of Field, Electric Fetus & The Cedar.

Check the top of this page under the “Buy Tickets” button for up-to-date ticket information.

  • Phone: 612-338-2674 ext 0 between 12 noon and 4pm M-F ($2 fee per ticket)
  • In person: Tickets can be purchased at The Cedar when we are open for shows. Check our calendar for show dates and door times  (no fee; cash, check, credit card). Our other ticket outlets are Depth of Field (no fee; cash or check only), and Electric Fetus (approximately $2 fee).
  • Online: (On Ticketfly, typically $2–$3 fee/ticket) until 2 hours before door time on day of show
  • The Cedar is an all ages venue
  • Discounts: Students with ID, seniors over 65, and children under 12 may purchase tickets at a discount at the door (subject to ticket availability).
  • Access: The Cedar strives to make our facilities and programming available to as many community members as possible and will accommodate special requests to the best of our ability. To request special accommodations or seating at an upcoming Cedar show, please contact our box office at 612-338-2674 or