Underground System came bubbling up out of BKNY in early 2010. Originally steeped in influence and inspiration credited to Fela Kuti and the West African pioneered Afrobeat aesthetic, they have since carved out a niche that stands uniquely alone as their own. The group packages disparate influences with a unifying socially conscious voice, pulsing from the physical presence of one of the most diverse crews in the Afrobeat scene. Lead by a killer female front line, Underground System is a force: a freaky, dancey, multicultural laser, caught somewhere between militant and carefree, punk rock and slinky grooves, graceful dance and reckless abandonment.
With the success of their 12” vinyl release ‘The B.O.B. EP’ behind them (garnering attention and sales from radio, blogs, and distributors as far off as Europe, Africa, and Asia) and a noteworthy touring schedule to back it up (featured appearances at Burlington Jazz Fest, Bear Creek Music & Arts, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Natural History), Underground System has laid all the groundwork and is ready to aim the big guns- they’re pointed directly at a dance floor and sound system near you.
For Underground System, their forthcoming single release “Bella Ciao” (Out January 2014 on Ropeadope Records) is the first taste of what’s to come. A menagerie of the best kind – part Baile Funk MCing, part Italian folk song, part Afrobeat anthem – starting somewhere modern, dark, and late night club friendly, bringing it back just in time to a bouncy and deceptively light feel, the whole while grounded in the timeless sensibility and authority of a killer live band. Set to music by founder Peter Matson and front woman Domenica Fossati and given life by the bands collective work in arrangement, the ever-evolving personalities and influences on this record shine brighter than ever. And for all they're putting together, they are focused and poised to shoot back out of NYC in 2014. Keep your eyes and ears peeled.
“Two things came to mind. I always thought that melody was made to captivate the mind and beats were made to captivate the body, and I felt this really had both. As I was looking around everyone’s body was moving in a certain rhythm. It was very trancelike. And the second thing is, this reminded me of one of my favorite records of all time (Fela live w/ Ginger Baker). I can draw a straight line between that record and what you're doing and that's amazing.” -Associate Producer at WNYC Hsi-Chang Lin
“I definitely wanted to get out of my chair… it's amazing how tight you were. It's 11 players….. I also need to give props to seeing female horn players which is pretty unusual…. that sounded really hot, and I thought it was great.” -Studio 360, PRI, and WNYC Senior Producer Leital Molad
"One of those "hidden gems" is Underground System Afrobeat, an all star group of afrobeat musicians, some who have been a part of the Tony award winning musical "FELA!" about legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti" -O-Town Scene
“Their groove is obvious mustache and female lead vocals (both in English and as in Spanish) provide a welcome change in the male dominated world of Afrobeat.” According to Google Translator (ha) -Pieter Dewulf (tropicalidad.be)
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