Antibalas1998 is a Bushwick, Brooklyn based afrobeat band that is modelled after Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 band and Eddie Palmieri’s Harlem River Drive Orchestra. Although their music is primarily afrobeat, their music incorporates elements of jazz, funk, dub, improvised music, and traditional drumming from Cuba and West Africa.
Founded in winter 1998 by Martín Perna as “Conjunto Antibalas,” the group played its inaugural concert in May of the following year. Over the course of the next few months, the group solidified with a core of eleven band members and began to develop a repertoire of original songs. Over the next few years, the band’s presence grew; by summer 2000 Antibalas had released their first album “Liberation Afrobeat Vol. 1” and had toured twice in England, all the while continuing to play at venues throughout New York City.
By early 2002, the horn-driven outfit had released their second album, “Talkatif,” and were continuing to tour throughout the United States. In summer 2004, their third studio album, “Who Is This America?” was released.
Antibalas has opened for James Brown, No Doubt, Wyclef Jean, Trey Anastasio and others, and have played at some of rock’s most famous venues, such as Irving Plaza in New York City. The group has also played at numerous music festivals, and has also played for inmates at the Rikers Island prison facility. The band is known to support progressive/radical causes, and is also known to appear at block parties throughout New York City.
Currently Martín Perna lives in Austin, TX, while the rest of Antibalas resides in Brooklyn. Martín can be found in Austin playing in Brown Out, a collaborative band consisting of himself and several members of the Austin-based band, Grupo Fantasma.