Any discussion of Afrobeat should start with a lil’ primer on clave. Come Closer, the new dance-pop single from Demi Grace, is a wonderful example of clave primacy: the main syncopated beat you hear on this chorus is known as son clave, and the verse enjoys a modified form of it as well.
We could talk about Afro-Cuban influences, and synergy between European and African music styles, and the origin of the word ‘clave’ itself, but to me that obscures the plain fact that clave was a gift to the world from the African diaspora. End stop. Read that again.
The underlying heartbeat of such diverse musical traditions as Afrobeat, reggae, mambo, salsa, and Cuban jazz all extend directly from the rhythmic tradition of sub-Saharan Africa. Small world, indeed.
What is great about this song is that it joins such a rich and historied tradition with a very modern and current sense of purpose: the idea here is to make you move. A fun groove, a heartbeat kick drum, and some dance-floor flirtation come together to elevate this stylish reminder to enjoy your life.
Grace Abidemi Ayorinde (known as Demi Grace) is a Nigerian singer and model born in Manor Park, London. This song is featured on our CHILL NEW Songwriters playlist.