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Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra Releases "Payaso" Just in Time for Inauguration

The single art for Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra's new single, "Payaso." Resemble anyone you know?
The single art for Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra's new single, "Payaso." Resemble anyone you know? Melissa Waddell
Donald Trump will become the 45th president this morning. Let the artistic protests begin.

Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra gets a party started like few other local bands. But listen to their lyrics and there's a creeping current of social consciousness flowing beneath the channel of afrobeat rhythms and horns that are the band's signature.

With the release of "Payaso" today, that current gets a lot stronger.

Payaso is the Spanish word for "clown," and with one look at the single art by Melissa Waddell, it's pretty clear who the title references.

"I see you clown-face man, your mind before your soul / You have a funny face, but are we laughing, no!" singer Camille Sledge sings.

The song is filled with bright horns, unhinged instrumental solos, and percussion that could make even the most conservative wallflowers want to dance. After a break in the action during the six-minute, 34-second song, Sledge breaks into a speech, which essentially serves as a declaration of purpose for the band's next four years. Here's an excerpt:

"Times like these, you gotta laugh to keep from crying," she says, delivering the line with a subtle laugh of her own. "We're a nation of unafraid, un-abound, un-hands-tied, un-shackled, adult human beings with love in our hearts. This is our cry to you; this is our plea. Stand together in solidarity with us."

Listen to the full song below:
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David Accomazzo is a music wrangler, award-winning reporter, critic, and editor with more than a decade in the business.
Contact: David Accomazzo