The blues, funk, and world music soup of Afrosonics
Afrosonics keyboard player Todd Dunnigan likes to use a soup analogy to discuss his band. The Boise, Idaho-based group regularly boasts 10 or more regular members, and at times there are another 10 ready to fill in. They use blues, funk, and the music of West Africa, the Caribbean, and South America like ingredients, which simmer all day in a pot. The Afrosonics mix them all together with a dash of rock and roll to come up with something diverse, flavorful, and completely delicious. It’s probably pretty good for you, too.
Afrosonics are in town tonight, playing at Buckley Park as part of the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College’s summer concert series.
“It’s such a cool kind of a hybrid sound. People in the band come from all over the world. You’ve got guys from the Congo, Nigeria, and at the time, guys from South America, and of course the U.S.,” said Dunnigan. “So everyone would bring their little bit of flavor to make the soup. Everyone would season it with where they came from. We came up with what I thought was an interesting hybrid sound of funk, and rock, and African music, and Latin music, and it’s all centered around this idea of being fun, high energy, danceable, community building. We try to focus our lyrics toward positive vibes. That’s essentially what we’re all about, and at the end of the day, we the people who come out, and we want to lift them up with music as best as we can. That’s ultimately our goal.”
Afrosonics is still a young band, having really only come together a couple of years back, and touring for the first time last summer. Dunnigan’s role in the band is also relatively new. He was first approached by an early version of Afrosonics to produce some demos. Dunnigan is a longtime musician whose production credits run the gamut from what he says is “polka to punk.” Upon hearing the band, his impression of what was and what could be led to him jumping in, whole hog, in every aspect.
“Once I started working with them, I said, ‘This is great music. It’s a great vibe. I want to throw myself all into it and really be a part of it,’” said Dunnigan. “Next thing you know, we’re doing my songs, and I’m spending a lot of time on the phone booking gigs.”
Their debut record, “People Meet Your People,” is a big one, drawing upon genres that spark high-energy dance from different regions of the world. This is good time music, and the strength of the band lies in the individual ingredients that make up the recipe, which ultimately come together on stage.
The band is currently in the studio, recording their next album with the approach that they’re all on stage together. If your strength is in being a live band, then you take the elements that make you a great live band, and bring them to the studio. It’s a method that works.
Confidence in the delivery of your live show is also a great game plan when you tour to a place you’ve never been, like Durango. The concerts in the park always have a ready-to-entertain audience, and Afrosonics bring with them an attitude that assures they’ll make some friends and fans when they hit the stage.
“Why we love these types of events, we’re not a well-known band outside of Boise,” said Dunnigan. “But, put us in front of an audience, and we will win them over. That’s why these events are so perfect. The audience is there. They are primed to hear some good music. So you set them up, and we knock them down.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. email@example.com.