Here's the second half of our video documentary on Celluloid Records. Bill Laswell and Grandmixer DXT, part of Celluloid's production brain trust, speak on some of their production work together outside of the label, including Herbie Hancock's groundbreaking song "Rockit," and PiL's Album with Ginger Baker. Label founder Jean Karakos also speaks about signing Fela Kuti to Celluloid. Hearing info on these projects and more from the mouths of their creators is one of the reasons we love what we do! Change The Beat: The Celluloid Records Story is out now on double CD, double LP (w/ CD insert) and digital download.
By 1986, Laswell's work for Celluloid became increasingly sparse as he was pulled onto major projects for Yoko Ono, Mick Jagger, PiL and more. The label, meanwhile, continued its eclectic path with recordings by jazz legend Eric Dolphy, John McLaughlin and the Welcome To Dreamland compilation of out-there Japanese pop overseen by regular Laswell cohort, Fred Frith. African music also continued to feature heavily in the label’s later output through world pop stars like Kassav and Toure Kunda.
Change The Beat is released in conjunction with Jean Karakos and Celluloid Records. Formats include 2CD, 2LP and digital. All physical formats feature rare photos from the Celluloid Records archive and extended interviews with label owner Jean Karakos, Bill Laswell, Afrika Bambaataa, John Lydon, Rusty Egan (Time Zone) and more. The digital version of the album features five extra tracks not featured on the physical formats.
1. SHOCKABILLY – DAY TRIPPER 3.43
1. NINI RAVIOLETTE – SUIS-JE NORMALE 6.34
With globe-spanning influences that touch on some of our very favorite genres and musicians, Ottawa's The Souljazz Orchestra and London's Sofrito make for a complementary pair. Both released incendiary albums this year, and as The Souljazz Orchestra prepares for a string of North American dates, the timing is perfect for a collaboration.
Utilizing the original multi-track masters (one of the benefits of keeping things in the family) Sofrito's Frankie Francis has created a masterful re-edit of "Serve And Protect," showcasing some of the fiercest playing on the latest Souljazz LP Solidarity.
North American Tour Dates
Nov 28 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
Nov 29 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall
Nov 30 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
Dec 01 - Washington, DC - Jammin' Java
Dec 02 - Philadelphia, PA - World Café Live
Dec 04 - Buffalo, NY - Nietche's
Dec 05 - Columbus, OH - Woodlands Tavern
Dec 06 - Detroit, MI - Pike Room
Dec 07 - Chicago, IL - The Empty Bottle
Dec 08 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock
On 18th December, we return to the best little boat in London for the funkiest of festive parties. The maestro Ashley Beedle returns to the capital for an exclusive set mixing up rare and classic soul and boogie, Frankie Francis brings the unique Sofrito sound drawing from all manner of archive Latin American, Caribbean and Afro styles and Duncan Brooker spins a selection of fine soulful rarities of all shapes and sizes. We'll have some home made mulled wine on the go all night too. Hope to see you there!
The first Nigeria 70 collection, originally released in 2001, will always have a special place in our heats. It remains to us one of the most clear expressions of what we love about Afrobeat, and African music of the 70s. With the launch of our new web store, we thought we'd take the opportunity to put together something special to celebrate this release, and to make the music available once again on vinyl.
This definitive reissue features the original LP remastered and pressed on 180g triple vinyl in a gatefold sleeve. The package comes with the full 2CD edition of the album and a copy of the Nigeria 70 audio documentary, unavailable since the original CD issue (also as download as soon as the package is shipped).
Narrated by Wunmi with commentary by the late Nigerian academic "Elder" Steve Rhodes, this one-hour piece is an essential snapshot of the 1970s Lagos scene and the cultural and political context from many of the key players of the time. It includes interviews with Ginger Baker, Fela Kuti, Ebenezer Obey, Segun Bucknor, Joni Haastrup of Monomono and many more.
Nigeria 70 - The Definitive LP Edition on the Strut web store
Digital Download (STRUT044CDX)
Welcome To Nigeria - Introduction: Welcome to Nigeria
Nigeria 70 Documentary - Interlude
Nigeria 70 Documentary - Highlife Time
Fela Kuti, Tony Allen and Ginger Baker - Fela Kuti, Tony Allen and Ginger Baker
Voices of the People - Voices of the people: social commentary, critical statement and satire
Charlie Dark - Charlie Dark: 'Nigeria 70' poem
Orlando Julius & The Afro Sounders - Alo Mi Alo (Parts 1 & 2)
Segun Bucknor & His Revolution - La La La
Lijadu Sisters - Orere Elejigbo
Peter King - Shango
Sahara All Stars Band Jos - Enjoy Yourself
Fela Ransome Kuti & The Africa 70 - Jeun Ko Ku (Chop ‘N’ Quench)
Tunji Oyelana & The Benders - Ifa
Ofo The Black Company - Allah Wakbarr
The Funkees - Dancing Time
Monomono - Tire Loma Da Nigbehin
Bala Miller & The Great Music Pirameeds Of Afrika - Ikon Allah
Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Melody Maestroes - Akuyan Ekassa
Shina Williams & His African Percussionists - Agboju Logun
Gasper Lawal - Kita Kita
Sunny Ade & His African Beats - Ja Fun Mi (Instrumental)
The story of the Fangnawa Experience collaboration is one best told by the artists themselves, and that's exactly what we've done in this video feature on the project. The guys in Fanga and Maâlem Abdallah Guinéa & his musicians don't speak the same language, but they were able to connect via their dedication to music. Watching them perform together is a real treat, as is the closer look at the instruments (the qraqab and the gimbri) used by the Gnawa players. Fangnawa Experience experience is out November 13th.
We can't say enough good things about Souljazz Orchestra's new album Solidarity, which happens to be out this week. It feels like they've taken all of the things that we love about them (airtight musicianship, raw analog recording, diverse global influences) and created a perfect synthesis for us to play over and over. We can't wait to see them live when they hit the road this fall, but until then we have this awesome new video which captures their blistering live show with the glory of analog video tape. We're all about this.
We've been collecting, enjoying, and releasing African music of many varieties for more than a decade at Strut, but this Fall will be the first time we've had the pleasure of releasing a project that touches on Gnawa, the sacred music of Morocco and North Africa. The album functions both as an introduction to this rich style, as well as an indication of some of the parallels between Gnawa music and West African Highlife and Afrobeat. Whether you're completely new to Moroccan Gnawa music or not, the Fangnawa Experience project offers a fresh take on African music and cultural exchange. The album will be released November 13th, and we'll be sharing music here soon.
A term referring both to a North African ethnic group, as well as a ritual musical style and ceremony performed by maâlem (master musicians), traditionally on the qraqab (heavy iron castanets) and the gimbri (three-string lute).
A cross-cultural musical fusion undertaken by French collective Fanga and Moroccan master musician Maâlem Abdallah Guinéa.
A meeting of complementary personalities and cross-cultural energy, Fanga began to take shape in 1998, as hip-hop producer Serge Amiano returned to France from a trip to Africa with a selection of West African vinyl from the 60s and 70s. The nascent band, including Burkina Fasso-born rapper Korbo on vocals, worked with Tony Allen on his album Black Voices in 2000, and began releasing its own recordings in 2001. Acclaimed by tastemakers like Gilles Peterson, Wax Poetics, and Rich Medina, the band has built a global following based on a dynamite live show, socially conscious lyrics, and an ever-evolving interpretation of classic Afrobeat and Highlife sounds.
Maâlem Abdallah Guinéa
Descended from a renowned family of artists (his father, Boubker Guinéa, is considered as one of Morocco’s greatest of all maâlems) Abdellah Guinéa began playing the gimbri at age 12, and became a full maâlem and master musician at age 16. Along with his band, Nasse Ejadba, he quickly developed his own musical style, somewhere between traditional and modern Gnawa, which he calls “Fusion Trance.” As well as gimbri, Guinéa plays guitar, banjo and mandolin and has continued the progression of his music by introducing Western sounds into the mix, effortlessly building a cultural bridge between different musical styles.
Ottawa's Souljazz Orchestra does not mess around. One look at the band's rigorous tour schedule makes it clear that this is a group of musicians on a mission. The super-group's dedication shines through the music as well of course, a distillation of a variety of Latin & African styles with a solid vocabulary of funk, soul and jazz. Check out the new track "Cartão Postal" which fuses Brazilian samba with Angolan semba, with lyrics (in Portuguese, of course) contrasting the generic "post-card" conception of the Tropics with the reality of poverty that pervades many of these idealized areas. The band's new album Solidarity will be out September 18th. For further information on these tour dates, visit the band's site.
Sep 22 - Ottawa, ON - Babylon
Oct 10 - Paris, France - La Bellevilloise
Oct 11 - Pau, France - Showcase Time
Oct 12 - Marseille, France - Cabaret Aléatoire
Oct 13 - Lille, France - Bal à Fives
Oct 14 - Chalon-sur-Saône, France - La Péniche
Oct 17 - Lyon, France - La Marquise
Oct 19 - Bordeaux, France - BT59
Oct 20 - Montpellier, France - Le Jam
Oct 22 - Antwerp, Belgium - Trix
Oct 23 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - MC Theatre
Oct 24 - Vienna, Austria - Fledermaus
Oct 25 - Bratislava, Slovakia - Bratislava Jazz Days
Oct 26 - Prague, Czech Republic - Agharta
Oct 27 - České Budějovice, Czech Republic - South Bohemia Jazzfest
Oct 28 - Dornbirn, Austria - Conrad Sohm
Oct 31 - Cologne, Germany - Stadtgarden
Nov 01 - Athens, Greece - Gazarte
Nov 02 - Athens, Greece - Gazarte
Nov 04 - London, UK - Jazz Cafe
Nov 09 - Toronto, ON - Wrongbar
Nov 10 - Kingston, ON - The Mansion
Nov 15 - Québec, QC - Le Cercle
Nov 16 - Montréal, QC - Le Belmont
Nov 17 - Gatineau, QC - Petit Chicago
Nov 28 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground *
Nov 29 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall *
Nov 30 - New York, NY - Webster Hall *
Dec 01 - Washington, DC - Jammin Java
Dec 02 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live *
Dec 04 - Buffalo, NY - Nietzsche's *
Dec 05 - Detroit, MI - The Crofoot *
Dec 06 - Columbus, OH - Woodlands Tavern *
Dec 07 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle *
Dec 08 - Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock
* w/ Zongo Junction
Canada’s hardest working super-group, The Souljazz Orchestra, are back! Since our last project together, 2010's Rising Sun, the band has been refining its sound on the road, and it shows on Solidarity which boasts a muscular, plugged-in sound that positively commands dancing. The album showcases a diverse set of influences, buoyed by the many featured vocalists, all of whom are connected to the group through the Canadian music scene, yet hail from a variety of backgrounds, from Senegal to Brazil to Jamaica and beyond. Recorded on vintage gear, the music packs a punch which is often lacking on contemporary recordings. Solidarity comes out September 18th, but we'll make sure to share some new music before that. The band will be touring internationally around the release, so look for them soon near you!
2. KELEN ATI LEEN
3. CARTAO POSTAL
4. YA BASTA
6. SERVE & PROTECT
7. CONQUERING LION
9. TANBOU LOU
We couldn't be happier to have a new collection of incredible music on the way from the expert selectors in Sofrito. And with a release date in late July, International Soundclash will come at a perfect time to add some extra heat to the summer.
Hugo Mendez and Frankie Francis have dug incredibly deep to bring you a one-of-a-kind selection of music from Trinidad, Colombia, Dominica, Congo, Cameroun and beyond. Exclusives include the deep Pacifico sound of Grupo Canalon’s "La Zorra y El Perol" - a new project from Nidia Góngora, singer with Quantic's Combo Barbaro - a previously unreleased track by UK/Kenyan sensations Owiny Sigoma Band, and a Tropical Treats edit of Haiti’s dynamite Les Difficiles de Petion-Ville.
We also have a really special piece of packaging, courtesy of visual maestro Lewis Heriz, who interprets Sofrito's fresh perspective on the world with a specially designed cut-out globe on a pull-out poster to accompany the CD and Double LP. Sofrito International Soundclash will be available July 24th.
While Ebo Taylor is rightly viewed as a national treasure in his native Ghana, his fanbase extends internationally and increases with each year. This Spring, Mr. Taylor is hitting the road with Afrobeat Academy, with whom he recorded his most recent albums, to spread the gospel of authentic Highlife and Afrobeat from Europe to Asia to South America. Don't miss the opportunity to see a legend in action!
Ebo Taylor's hometown of Saltpond in Ghana permeates several aspects of his new record, from the title to the folk songs he incorporates as source material. The video for lead-off track "Ayesama," which itself interpolates the victory song of the Fante Akans, is made up of images of the community, shot in Saltpond. Appia Kwa Bridge is out this week!
In addition to the subject matter of the original songs, one of the reasons Ebo Taylor's Appia Kwa Bridge is such a personal project is the inclusion of several traditional Ghanaian songs that are of significance to the performer. "Yaa Amponsah" is in fact one of the oldest known Highlife songs (see below for a version from 1928). As Mr. Taylor is one of the most significant contemporary Highlife practitioners, hearing his stripped-down version is a true treat. The album also features Taylor's adaptations of a nursery rhyme from his hometown of Saltpond, as Ghanaian victory chants, and several original compositions.
Ebo Taylor is a stand up guy, and his new album Appia Kwa Bridge (recorded once again with Afrobeat Academy & esteemed guests Tony Allen, Oghene Kologbo and conga maestro Addo Nettey a.k.a. Pax Nicholas) is perhaps his most personal to date. We caught up with him in Berlin (where the album was recorded in the famed Lovelite Studios) for an interview in which he discusses the inspiration behind the music, and demonstrates the highlife guitar style, which he employs with such grace.
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