Strut is extremely proud to present a definitive collection of recordings from one of Tanzania’s most revered but short-lived bands of the 1970s, Sunburst. Covering their entire output from 1973 to 1976, this first retrospective features music from their 45 RPM singles “Moto Moto” and “TFC,” as well as their sole album, Ave Africa, and an unreleased radio session recorded in Tanzania in 1973.
Sunburst was formed in 1970 by Zairean guitarist Hembi Flory Kongo who recruited resident drummer Johnny “Rocks” Fernandes, bass player Bashir Idi Farhan and organist / vocalist Kassim Magati. They were soon joined by Zambian-born lead singer James Mpungo.
Having developing their sound via covers-heavy live performances and a string of early singles, Sunburst’s sole LP came out at a time when Zambia was enjoying a stream of releases by bands that would now be considered icons of Zamrock such as Witch, Ngozi Family, Musi-O-Tunya and The Blackfoot. The sleeve text described the Sunburst sound as “a fusion of the traditional sounds of Africa with Western Rock, spiced with a piece of the Caribbean” but the intricacies of the Kitoto Sound that Sunburst had crafted for years peaked on this recording. Band members born in six different countries were tapping into a multitude of influences, styles, languages and stories. “We try to compose songs that have a bearing to the situation we live in,” James Mpungo recounted at the time. “Our songs are songs that support freedom struggles, songs that encourage peasants and workers to work harder, songs in praise of our leaders. We also sing a lot of songs criticizing our people for allowing themselves to be too westernized and throwing away their traditional values. And above all, we preach love and happiness!”
Ave Africa: The Kitoto Sound Of East Africa 1973-1976 is the result of over three years of research by compilers DJ Thomas Gesthuizen and Dave Tinning and comes out 24th June on 2xCD, 2xLP (w. CD included) & digital formats. Stream the track “Simba Anguruma” below. It’s available now.
The intoxicating sounds on Roger Bong’s Aloha Got Soul collection create a vivid mental picture of Hawaii in the 1970s, conjuring images of pristine waves, big hair, and life at an unhurried pace. It’s a place we want to be so badly that we cobbled together some vintage footage of the island, set to the lovely “Kona Winds” which appears on the album. Go get your board, we’ll go out and grab a tube.
Aloha Got Soul is out now on CD, 2LP (w. CD included) and digital formats.
Séga is the traditional music of Mauritius (a small island off the coast of Madagascar) and is known as the “blues” of the Indian Ocean. The music was born during the 17th to 19th centuries by African slaves seeking relief from harsh conditions in sugar cane fields and on colonial land by dancing to improvised music incorporating rhythms from their homelands in West Africa, Mozambique, Zanzibar or Madagascar. From these diverse African influences sprang a new, insular dance and music, the séga.
Though initially looked down upon, by the mid-1960s séga music had become a symbol of national pride and identity for Mauritius. With the advent of electric instruments, the influx of funk, soul and jazz from the West and the growth of LPs, séga went commercial. Dancefloors started grooving to a more soulful, funky séga beat and séga artists popped up all over the island with a new generation of charismatic singers becoming national stars. Séga, sung in Créole, now united all the communities of the island. Mauritians from the European, African, Indian and Chinese communities, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, all danced and enjoyed séga.
Following excursions into rare tropical and island sounds with the Sofrito series, and the Haiti Direct and Calypsoul 70 albums, we’re proud to present a collection exploring the incredible séga sounds that emerged from Mauritius during the 1970s, Soul Sok Séga, compiled by DJ duo La Basse Tropicale (Natty Hô and Konsöle), based in the neighbouring island of La Reunion.
Soul Sok Sega (out 22nd of January 2016) features extensive sleeve notes from long time Mauritian cultural champion, Percy Yip Tong, including new artist interviews, photos and original vinyl artwork. All formats (1CD / 2LP / digital) are unmixed, made up completely of tracks that have never been re-issued internationally.