The Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra celebrates its 10-year anniversary

By Lauren Gilger
Published: Friday, February 3, 2023 - 11:38am

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The Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra
The Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra.

The Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra has been making people dance across the Phoenix area for 10 years.

For the last decade, PAO, as they’re called, has become synonymous with infectious rhythms, powerful performances and beats that you can’t help but dance to.

At 16 members strong, PAO is dedicated to the music that inspired them — and the man who created it, the father of afrobeat, Fela Kuti.

Now, they’re celebrating their 10-year anniversary with a new album and a show Saturday night at Walter Studios in downtown Phoenix. 

The Show sat down with three of the central members of the Phoenix collective to talk more about it: multi-instrumentalists and vocalist Mitch Freedom, bassist David Marquez and lead singer — or “Leader of Rituals,” as they call her — Camille Sledge.  They talked about their new album, their legacy and how it all began, when Marquez discovered afrobeat music more than a decade ago.

The Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra
Kyle Dehn
The Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra.

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