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The name conjures images of erotic bliss, of sweet nectar removing all inhibitions, a gift from the Goddess of Love herself. And now of a young San Francisco-based musical orchestra that marries the rumble of 10,000 wildebeasts marching through your bedroom to the gentle aroma of a drop of honey on your lover’s trembling backside. True children of the world, Aphrodesia interweaves the threads of many traditional songs from Africa, Cuba and Brazil with the band’s shimmering new electrified colors, as if your village ancestor showed up tomorrow in a sparkling new suit ready to give you a lift to the big city in a jet-powered Lincoln continental.

Emerging in 2003 from the fertile San Francisco Bay Area music scene, Aphrodesia has been tagged as part of the afro beat revival and has been embraced by the world music and the jam band scenes- but their highly original brand of ‘Super Aphro Beat’ and uncompromising political stance make them resist easy classification. In 2004, the band exploded into the national conciousness with the “Just Vote Tour”, a swing-state voter registration tour that took the band all the way to NYC and back in their vegetable oil-powered bus and landed the group on the cover of USA Today. Showstopping performances at the High Sierra Music Festival and the Baja Bash also won the group high praise, and the band’s debut CD, “Shackrobeat Vol. 1”, was picked as one of the best records of 2003 by the East Bay Express.  








The touches of Afrobeat, Highlife, dub, funk, Caribbean spice and East African trance music that encompass Aphrodesia’s irresistible sound have the captivating vocal stylings of Lara Maykovich as their focal point, creating an extraordinary sonic stew with an all-star cast of Bay Area musicians who have been spotted playing with everyone from Bitches Brew to Groundation to Antibalas to Tom Waits. After living in Ghana and Zimbabwe during 1997 and ’98, where she studied and performed with members of Akrowa Dance Ensemble of Ghana, Hewale Sounds of Ghana, Ghana National Dance Company and National Music and Dance Company of Zimbabwe, Maykovich returned to Boulder, Colorado, where she sang with The Motet and performed with Boubacar Diabete. She met bassist Ezra Gale soon after moving to the Bay Area in 2002, and the pair then recruited a stellar supporting cast that before long created such a buzz the East Bay Express dubbed them “The Bay Area’s answer to Antibalas.” 

Aphrodesia’s music carries with it a strong sense of social justice, and the band has been known to write their own politically-charged lyrics while updating Fela Kuti classics like ‘No Agreement’ and ‘Zombie’. But the band’s commitment to social change extends offstage as well. Believing that increased political participation will make the world a better place, Aphrodesia brings voter registration forms to every show, and the band also proudly travels in a vegetable-oil powered bus- meaning it’s one of the few groups of any stripe not sponsored by Chevron, Texaco, and co. It may be a small start, but the group believes that its actions, like its music, can have a huge effect.

Aphrodesia Links:



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