The musical collective known as ​Antibalas​ (Spanish for bullet-proof or anti-bullets) was conceived of in Mexico City and formed in Brooklyn New York. The early nucleus of the group was composed of the band's founder Martín Perna and included several members from the Soul Providers / Dap Kings band, performing their first show in May 1998 in Harlem, NY. Soon after, Lagos, Nigeria native Amayo joined the band after seeing the band at a neighborhood concert. Fluent in the afrobeat music of Fela, he began composing and performing lyrics and assuming the role of the group's lead vocalist / frontman. The band began rehearsing and composing at Desco 41st street studios and later at the first Daptone Studios at Amayo's Afro Spot venue. They spent their first year performing exclusively in noncommercial spaces in lofts, community centers, parks, art galleries. In August 1999, they created a weekly residence called Africalia at Tribeca club NoMoore that ran for 18 months, where the band and repertoire expanded.

In 2001, following their debut record (reissued independently, then licensed to Ninja Tune) they began touring internationally, from Glastonbury, Montreux to Newport Jazz and other renowned rock, jazz and world music festivals. Around 2003, following their third album "Who Is This America," the Dap Kings and Antibalas both became very busy, each group developed its separate full-time lineup although the groups would remain close, later reuniting with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Charles Bradley for the 2014 Daptone Super Soul Revue across summer festivals and theaters in Europe and culminating in a three night run at New York's Apollo Theater. The group toured heavily performing over one hundred shows per year spread across North America and Europe between 2002 and 2007 with the releases of their third album, "Who Is This America", and fourth, "Security".

From 2007-2012 many members and former members of the Antibalas participated in the Tony-Award winning Broadway musical FELA!, including the show's musical director Aaron Johnson, lead saxophonist Stuart Bogie, and assistant MD trumpeter Jordan McLean. In 2011, the group returned to the Daptone House of Soul to record their most recent album, "Antibalas" produced by emeritus member Gabriel Roth. The group toured heavily throughout the US and Europe, and later that year, performed songs from the album live on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Antibalas has recorded five studio albums on the Daptone, Ninja Tune, Anti-, and Ropeadope labels as well as a number of singles and EPs. The band is currently finishing their sixth studio album due out in mid-2017. Though recognized for their fluency in Afrobeat and funk music, the band is known to collaborate with diverse groups and artists, from Angélique Kidjo to Jovanotti to Medeski Martin & Wood
to Public Enemy, and served as the house band at Carnegie Hall in 2014 (Music of Paul Simon), 2015 (Music of David Byrne & Talking Heads) and most recently 2017’s Music of Aretha Franklin.

The Antibalas horns have performed on Grammy award-winning albums by Angelique Kidjo, and Mark Ronson and dozens of albums, sound tracks and live guest appearances with artists including The Roots, My Morning Jacket, TV on the Radio, Santigold, Jovanotti, Nneka, Ed Sheeran, Alabama Shakes, The String Cheese Incident and numerous others. Former Antibalas members have gone on to record and perform with The Dap Kings, Arcade Fire, Mark Ronson, the Black Keys, the Arks, Menahan Street Band, the El Michels Affair, Iron and Wine, Bat For Lashes, and Imogen Heap.

Cochemea Gastelum is coming home to connect with his roots. After nearly 15 years of touring the world with Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, the saxophonist offers a deeply personal album of jazz and indigenous-influenced rhythms. All My Relations¸ out February 22 on Daptone Records, is 10 tracks of mesmerizing and spiritually ascendant instrumentation.

“All My Relations is a way for me to explore my roots through music. Some of it is a memory that is imagined from a time and place I’ve never been (‘Sonora’) or a musical impression of ritual (‘Mitote’),” Cochemea says. “I felt compelled to add the way I feel when I go to ceremony, when I feel connected with my ancestors, to the musical narrative.”

A California native with Yaqui and Mescalero Apache Indian ancestry, Cochemea grew up surrounded by music but without knowing much about his heritage. Both his parents were musicians, and gave him a heavy name meaning “they were all killed asleep.” Cochemea has spent much of his diverse musical career – as a soloist, musical director, composer and ensemble player – exploring and iterating on roots music, and All My Relations is a capstone meditation on his own ancestry.

Originally conceived during Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings’ final year of touring, Cochemea and Daptone’s Gabe Roth cast a varied but familial set of New York musicians to bring All My Relations to life. A large portion of the album was created through improvisation and collective writing, where its 10 musicians created a melodic, percussive conversation. “It was a beautiful experience – people would start playing and we’d work up these arrangements on the spot, then record it.”

The album begins with an invocation and plays like a story. Several songs have indigenous names and each track is an experiment in roots – from the Sanskrit prayer on which “Asatoma” is based, to the Mexican huapango rhythms in “Mescalero” and “Song of Happiness,” which is partly derived from a Navajo melody called Shii’ Naasha.’ “In a sense, this record is a prayer for unity, love and the recognition that we are all part of a web, and everything we do effects everything else,” Cochemea says. “These days there’s so many lines being drawn, I wanted to focus on what unites us.”

Cochemea has a long history of uniting multiple genres with his powerful polyrhythmic sensibilities. His roots in jazz, Latin, funk and rock led to multiple tours with funk-jazz organist Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, and connected him with SJDK for their 2005 Naturally tour. Cochemea also played tenor sax with The Budos Band and Antibalas, and Baritone sax on the Amy Winehouse sessions, before becoming a full-time Dap-King in 2009.  

In between marathon tours, Cochemea recorded a critically acclaimed solo album of soul, funk, and afro-Latin jazz, The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow, all while doing session work for the likes of Mark Ronson, Rick Rubin and Quincy Jones. He’s performed alongside Archie Shepp, Beck, David Byrne, Public Enemy and The Roots. Cochemea was also a featured soloist in the award-winning Broadway play Fela!, which led to historic performances in Lagos, Nigeria.  

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