The group Funkadesi hails from Chicago, but their music is literally far-reaching and across-the-board. Their style is a combination of reggae, funk, dance, and pop, and their influences range from African tribal beats to Indian pop. I always thought that the term “world music” was vague, especially since it seemed to encompass all music that wasn’t American or classical, but if any band deserves this title, the very “worldly” Funkadesi does.
I first encountered this group at a party in my very own home, when a friend slyly switched the music that was playing with a Funkadesi album. It took a moment to catch on, but soon enough, every other person was asking about the music. (Those who didn’t ask merely danced.) Once the mystery was cleared up, it became obvious that this group was irresistible. A steady, pulsing dance beat mixed with a gorgeous Indian vocals or a Jamaican-styled rap, I learned, is undeniably fun. (It also proved fortunate that the aforementioned friend brought over not one, but two, albums.)
While some songs like “Crash Da Party” don’t exactly send out a political message, all of Funkadesi’s songs (that I’ve heard, anyway) sound optimistic, and many of them encourage togetherness and unity. Not all of the songs are in English, but translated lyrics are included with the albums. On the unsigned group’s website and myspace, they espouse the motto “one family… many children.” Aww. Funkadesi is not for the cynical.
Another cool thing about Funkadesi? Even the President thinks they’re awesome! Barack Obama himself said, “Funkadesi knows how to get a crowd fired up!” Check out the Youtube video on the band’s website for the then-Senator’s comments about Funkadesi.