Afrobeat is a combination of traditional Nigerian, Ghanaian, jazz, highlife music and chanted vocals, fused with percussion and vocal styles, popularised in Africa in the 1970s. It was named by Nigerian multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Fela Kuti, who is responsible for the creation of the style and spreading the genre outside of Nigeria. Fela Kuti invented the famous music genre name Afrobeat in Accra, Ghana in 1968. Afrobeat, which is currently seen as the most popular form of music in Nigeria, Ghana, some parts of Africa and the world, was born out of Fela’s dislike for late American music star James Brown and also because he wanted to distinguish his name from soul and the comparison to James Brown. Fela used it to revolutionize musical structure as well as the political context in his country, Nigeria. Afrobeat features chants, call-and-response vocals, and complex, interacting rhythms.
The new sound hailed from a club that he established called the Afrika Shrine. Upon arriving in Nigeria, Kuti also changed the name of his group to Africa ’70. The band maintained a five-year residency in the Afrika Shrine from 1970 to 1975 while afrobeat thrived among Nigerian youth. Afrobeat is now one of the most recognizable music genres in the world and has influenced as many Western musicians as it has African ones with its exuberant style and polyrhythms.