Psychedelic Haitian Soul from Le Loups Noirs

LoupsNoirsOne of the most interesting aspects of the music and time period covered on our Haiti Direct release is the sheer number of stylistic fusions that characterize Haiti’s music of the 60’s and 70’s. “Pile Ou Face,” by Les Loups Noirs, stands out with the notable influence of American soul music, and the lightly psychedelic elements of the guitar and organ make it especially unique.

From the liner notes:
Led by charismatic singer Gardner Lalanne, Les Loups Noirs (The Black Wolves) were extremely popular in the ’70s, touring extensively and recording across the Caribbean and in New York and Paris. “Pile Ou Face” (heads or tails) is an uncharacteristically experimental instrumental that layers saxophones and swirling organ over a rolling compas beat – a great demonstration of the way that the timbales and percussion sections of the big bands were being replaced by stripped-back cowbell and kick drum at the beginning of the ‘70s.

Haiti Direct, compiled by Hugo Mendez of Sofrito, is out today (tomorrow in the US). Pick it up at fine music stores worldwide, or via the links below:

iTunesAmazonStrut Store

The Souljazz Orchestra Is Back With Inner Fire!

Souljazz Orchestra Inner FireOur favorite globally-minded Canadian virtuosos have finished up a new recording for 2014, and it’s a real scorcher! Inner Fire, the latest from Pierre Chrétien & co. sees The Souljazz Orchestra perfecting their global music fusion, and treading some extremely funky territory while they’re at it.

Recorded using the Orchestra’s signature analogue techniques at their studio HQ  in their home city of Ottawa, the new set continues the band’s expansive musical journey as they effortlessly fuse intricate Eastern influences, Afro beats, Egyptian jazz, Latin styles and spiritual elements into their unique musical melting pot.

The secret to the band’s sound remains a true openness tosouljazz_orchestra1_med_crop global music of all kinds and the individual experiences of the Orchestra’s band members. “We all have very wide tastes, we’re always digging for new sounds, and we’ve had the chance to work with master musicians from all over, from Nigeria to Rwanda, from Cuba to Haiti, so each band member ends up bringing different vibes and ideas to each of our albums,” explains keyboardist Chrétien.

On Inner Fire, the different vibes come thick and fast, burning through afro-jazz stompers, highlife flourishes, Cuban bolero sounds, smoldering salsa dura, and even scorching personal rendition of Gary Bartz NTU Troop’s 1971 classic, “Celestial Blues.”

Inner Fire will be out on February 24th, 2014, and the band will be undertaking a Canadian tour in February, followed by a full European tour in March and April.

TRACKLIST

1. Initiation
2. Kingdom Come
3. One Life To Live
4. As The Crow Flies
5. Black Orchid
6. Agoya
7. East Flows The River
8. Sommet En Sommet
9. Celestial Blues
10. Completion

Inspiration Information Returns With Reggae Legend Cornell Campbell & Soothsayers

There’s something about the act of collaboration that can bring out the best in musicians. That’s the philosophy behind our Inspiration Information series, and after some explosive results with artists like Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics and Tony Allen & Jimi Tenor, we’re thrilled to have another killer pairing for a new entry in the series.

Cornell Campbell is practically an elder statesman in the field of reggae music, having released classic recordings spanning decades and a number of stylistic shifts. Campbell worked with some of the most legendary producers and labels, from “Coxsone” Dodd at Studio One to ‘70s and ‘80s classics with Joe Gibbs, Bunny “Striker” Lee, King Tubby and Winston “Niney” Observer. His crooning vocals have been compared to Curtis Mayfield and Sam Cooke, but as he himself would say, his style is all his own.

Brixton’s Soothsayers, lead by saxophonist Idris Rahman and trumpeter Robin Hopcraft, have built a reputation as one of the hottest live bands on London’s competitive scene. The outfit has backed up artists including Mulatu Astatke, Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Arkestra and Hugh Masekela, and formed the nucleus of the band that backed the London leg of the ‘Fela!’ musical during 2011.

Together, Campbell and Soothsayers have created an album steeped in Reggae tradition, while incorporating elements of jazz, dub, and afrobeat. The songs offer a showcase for the talents of both artists, while not sounding completely like either of their individual recordings. In other words, a one of a kind collaboration.

Listen to their first song together, “I’ll Never Leave You,” below.