Brooklyn’s Kaleta & Super Yamba Band are fronted by Afrobeat/Juju veteran Leon Ligan-Majek a.k.a. Kaleta. The singer/guitarist from the West African country of Benin Republic lived his adolescent life in Lagos, Nigeria where Afrobeat was born. Kaleta’s guitar chops earned him decades of touring/recording with Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Lauryn Hill & more. Kaleta got his start in the late 70s performing in church & was soon after picked up by iconic Juju master & world music pioneer King Sunny Ade. A few years later Fela Kuti came calling. Kaleta would go on to tour the world playing guitar for the King of Afrobeat in his storied band Egypt 80 through the 1980s & into the 1990s. Now based in New York City, Kaleta has been leading Super Yamba Band since 2017. Their debut album “Mèdaho,” which was released by California indie label Ubiquity Records, draws on the group’s shared reverence for the raw, psychedelic sounds that captivated Kaleta as a music loving kid in 1970s Benin. Mèdaho means “big brother,” “elder” or “teacher” and is dedicated to Kaleta’s late brother Ligan-Ozavino Pascal who introduced him to funk and soul music at a very early age. The album was included on Bandcamp’s “Best Albums of Summer 2019” list and two of the songs were chosen for the ABC/Hulu series High Fidelity staring Zoe Kravitz. Kaleta & his band have also erupted onto the stages and video screens of major music festivals/music publications across the US. They performed at the historic Apollo Theatre in 2019. In 2017 they rocked Paste Magazine’s Emerging Music Festival in NYC & after that performance Afropop Worldwide fell in love with Kaleta, saying “his James Brown grunts have got to be some of the best in the business!” The members of Super Yamba Band have honed their craft performing with a diverse range of artists such as David Byrne, Rubblebucket, Yeasayer & Between The Buried And Me, just to name a few.
My pal Kaleta [we have been sharing music for well over a decade now] fought jet-lag to make sure we chatted briefly about the upcoming event in Madison at the Marquette Waterfront Festival. Kaleta & Super Yamba Band will be closing out the Saturday night festivities. We got into the facts that the show will be more than expected or seen before, new music and how the sounds evolve and grow further/deeper as the group gets more time back in each others space. As far as the show goes on Saturday – Madison will be ready – I hope wherever you are, you get a chance to share time with Kaleta & Super Yamba Band.