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Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness

This January, we’re returning to the archives of seminal Chicago house label Dance Mania for Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness. This […] Read More…

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Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics Announce European Tour

“In case it’s not clear: Jaiyede Afro is a tremendous album.” -PopMatters With this year’s collaborative album Jaiyede Afro hailed […] Read More…

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Out This Week – Spirit Of Malombo: Malombo Jazz Makers, Jabula And Jazz Afrika 1966 – 1984

South Africa’s Julian Bahula created a unique synthesis of Western jazz and the indigenous rhythms of his home country, spreading […] Read More…

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Stream “Abbey’s Body” from Spirit Of Malombo

As the release of the Spirit Of Malombo release approaches (it’s not next week!) we have another track for you […] Read More…

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Mike Huckaby Re-Edits Sun Ra

Legendary Detroit house producer Mike Huckaby has already established his skill for editing classic Sun Ra material. With our compilation […] Read More…

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Video Interview: Marshall Allen And Other Arkestra Members Reflect On Sun Ra

Long-time members of the Sun Ra Arkestra Marshall Allen, Danny Ray Thompson, Michael Ray and Knoel Scott reflect on the […] Read More…

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A Heavy Afrobeat Take On James Brown from Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics

Here’s another taste of the upcoming Orlando Julius & Heliocentrics collaborative album, and what a monster it is! Hailing from […] Read More…

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Deep Into The World Of Sun Ra

Sun Ra is one of the most respected, and perhaps most misunderstood creative minds in jazz music. To commemorate what […] Read More…

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Hear A New Track From Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics

Nigerian saxophone legend Orlando Julius’ collaboration with UK psychedelic jazz outfit The Heliocentrics is one of the most satisfying and […] Read More…

Orlando Julius, The Heliocentrics and Marshall Allen To Feature At Worldwide Awards

Gilles Peterson is a man of distinguishing tastes, and has been an enormous supporter of our music. This year at his annual Worldwide Awards he will be honoring Marshall Allen, the current leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra and compiler of our collection In The Orbit of Ra. The ceremony will also feature a special performance from Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics, as well as a host of other fine performers. If you’re in London in January, don’t miss it! Advance tickets available here.

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Inside ‘African Sounds:’ Nelson Mandela’s 65th Birthday Concert, London, 1983

The musicians and promoters behind the ‘African Sounds’ concert at Alexandra Palace, London in July 1983, tell the story of the first music event to raise awareness of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment and the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. Featured interviews include Julian Bahula, concert promoter and founding member of the bands Malombo and Jabula, his wife Liza and Jerry Dammers of The Specials. Inspired by seeing Jabula’s ‘Mandela’ performed live at the concert, Dammers went on to write the massive Special AKA hit, ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ and set up Artists Against Apartheid in the UK.

While the concerts did much to raise awareness for Mandela and the politics of apartheid in South Africa, years later the architects of the event series ponder the fuzzy overlap of politics and entertainment, and wonder whether it would have been possible to more actively engage with the African ex-pat musicians,

Julian Bahula’s work in various musical projects is collected on the album ‘Spirit of Malombo,’ out now on Strut, and available at your favorite local record shop, as well as iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.

Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness

Dance Mania cover for webThis January, we’re returning to the archives of seminal Chicago house label Dance Mania for Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness. This new installment places the spotlight on the raw, stripped back, hyper BPMs of ghetto house and the rise of the movement’s fresh generation of stars during the mid-‘90s including DJ Deeon, DJ Funk, Jammin’ Gerald and DJ Milton.

The album traces the evolution of Chicago’s sound during the era as mixtapes circulated through local shops and DJs developed their own underground following, playing local parties in the projects. As DJ Deeon remembers, “it bridged the gap. It made it OK for guys in the ghetto to like house again and it brought the women onto the dancefloor too.”

Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness will be released in 1CD unmixed, 2LP and digital formats. Physical formats are fully illustrated by James Wilson featuring caricatures of the featured artists and hand-drawn artwork. CD will include a fold-out poster featuring an exclusive James Wilson ghetto illustration. Pre-orders are available via iTunes and the Strut Store.

Check out the full tracklist, and stream Paul Johnson’s “Give Me Ecstasy” below.

Tracklist:

1. JAMMIN’ GERALD – PUMP THAT SHIT UP
2. DJ DEEON – THE FREAKS
3. DJ DEEON – 1112
4. STEVE POINDEXTER – COMPUTER MADNESS
5. DARIEN – HIT IT
6. DJ RUSH – THE REACTOR
7. WAX MASTER MAURICE – BOUNCE THAT BODY
8. TYREE – NUTHIN’ WRONG
9. JAMMIN GERALD – PUMP ON THE FLOOR
10. PAUL JOHNSON – GIVE ME ECSTASY
11. PARRIS MITCHELL – GHETTO BOOTY
12. DJ MILTON – HOUSE-O-MATICS
13. DJ FUNK – COMPUTER SEX
14. DJ FUNK – BITCHES
15. HOUZ’ MON – THE GROOVE

Orlando Julius Explains His Role In The Disco Classic ‘Back To My Roots’

4.1.1Lamont Dozier’s “Back To My Roots” (which would go on to be covered by Odyssey, Richie Havens and many others) is a classic of the disco era. The track’s message of returning “to the place of my birth” is accentuated by a chugging guitar line reminiscent of Afrobeat. As it turns out, that’s not an accident.

In the video below, Orlando Julius (pictured here with James Brown) explains how his impromptu session with Hugh Masekela resulted in Julius’ composition “Ashiko” appearing on Masekela’s new album. It’s the signature figure from “Ashiko” that appears in “Back To My Roots,” for which Masekela received a writing credit, while Julius’ contribution remains unacknowledged.

Orlando Julius has refused to become embittered by his experience, but it’s a good feeling to be able to share his story. His new collaborative album Jaiyede Afro, recorded with The Heliocentrics, is available now from your local record shop, on iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.

 

Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics Announce European Tour

“In case it’s not clear: Jaiyede Afro is a tremendous album.” -PopMatters

With this year’s collaborative album Jaiyede Afro hailed as one of the freshest takes on Afrobeat music in recent memory, Nigerian Afrobeat originator Orlando Julius and London’s psychedelic jazz ensemble The Heliocentrics are launching a massive European tour together. Who knows when this group of musicians will find themselves on stage together again? We suggest you don’t miss it.

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Out This Week – Spirit Of Malombo: Malombo Jazz Makers, Jabula And Jazz Afrika 1966 – 1984

STRUT119CDSouth Africa’s Julian Bahula created a unique synthesis of Western jazz and the indigenous rhythms of his home country, spreading his culture to an international audience as well as creating awareness for political issues affecting his homeland. Strut’s new Spirit of Malombo collection sheds light on this visionary musician and tireless advocate for equality in South Africa.

In the early ‘60s, Bahula introduced indigenous malombo drums alongside guitar and flute to create a new, politically-charged fusion. After a spell with guitarist Philip Tabane, Bahula settled with musicians Lucky Ranku and Abie Cindi as Malombo Jazz Makers and the trio placed themselves bravely on the frontline of anti-apartheid activism including a domestic tour with Steve Biko as part of the ‘Into The Heart of Negritude’ theatre production.

As the pressure of apartheid intensified, Bahula moved to political exile in the UK, where he formed new Afro super-group, Jabula. The band worked closely and selflessly with the exiled ANC, the Anti-Apartheid Movement and other anti-apartheid organisations, using their music to help spread political awareness across Europe.

In ’83, Bahula and his wife Liza set up the first concert in the UK to raise awareness for Nelson Mandela, ‘African Sounds’, an event that helped kick-start the international pressure leading to Mandela’s release in 1990. The Specials’ Jerry Dammers was there and was inspired by Jabula’s track ‘Mandela’ to write the huge hit for The Special A.K.A., ‘Free Nelson Mandela’.

Spirit Of Malombo documents Bahula’s incredible musical journey from 1966 to 1984 for the first time. Package includes rare photos, poster artwork and memorabilia with extensive sleeve notes from author Francis Gooding. The cover features a still from leading South African photographer, Ernest Cole. The album is available on iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.

Stream “Abbey’s Body” from Spirit Of Malombo

MalomboPressPic3As the release of the Spirit Of Malombo release approaches (it’s not next week!) we have another track for you to hear, via Wax Poetics. ‘Abbey’s Body’ appeared on the 1966 Malompo Jazz LP. After the departure of Tabane, Cindi had taken on compositional duties for the group and all the tracks on Malompo Jazz were penned by the flautist.

Spirit of Malombo is out October 20th 2014. Pre-orders are available on iTunes, and the Strut Store.

Mike Huckaby Re-Edits Sun Ra

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Legendary Detroit house producer Mike Huckaby has already established his skill for editing classic Sun Ra material. With our compilation In The Orbit Of Ra out now, Huckaby has generously offered a new edit of one of the songs included on the collection. Here is take on “The Lady With The Golden Stockings” below.

Huckaby’s thoughts on his work with Sun Ra’s music:
As a Sun Ra fan, it has been a pleasure to be able to do an edit of Sun Ra material. Sometimes its more of a restoration project, than it is an opportunity to do an edit. In any case, the goal is always to preserve the original integrity, and direction of the song, while somehow making it appealing to an new and emerging fan base of listeners from the traditional school, and emerging electronic market. Sun Ra’s fan base, and listeners might be changing and expanding, but you can always expect the end result of my work to highly respect the integrity of the original version. My version emphasizes the flute and percussive parts in this song.

In the Orbit Of Ra is available now in your favorite record shop, as well as iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.

Video Interview: Marshall Allen And Other Arkestra Members Reflect On Sun Ra

SunRA_EPK_stillLong-time members of the Sun Ra Arkestra Marshall Allen, Danny Ray Thompson, Michael Ray and Knoel Scott reflect on the life and influence of Sun Ra in a rare new interview with Art Yard’s Peter Dennett. Includes footage of the fabled Sun Ra house in Germantown, Philadelphia.

In The Orbit Of Ra, presented by Marshall Allen and mastered from the original tapes, is out September 22nd. Orders are available on iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.

Video: Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics In The Studio

Orlando Julius studio cropIn a behind-the-scenes look into the recording studio, The Heliocentrics and Orlando Julius talk about their collaborative album Jaiyede Afro. Malcolm Catto, the drummer and leader of The Heliocentrics mentions his desire to bring a psychedelic edge to the sessions, in the manner of some of his favorite African recordings by groups like the Psychedelic Aliens and others. Orlando Julius also gives the background on a few of his songs.

The Jaiyede Afro album is out September 8th, and can be ordered now on iTunes, with the track “Buje Buje” available instantly. CDs and limited 180 gram LPs are also available for pre-order from the Strut store.