In the early 1970s, Yorkshireman Peter Bagshawe was living in Zambia, pursuing an interest in steam trains. He ended up as the de facto manager for one of the greatest Afro Rock bands of the era. How all of this came to pass is story you’ll have to hear him tell. Thankfully, he sat down via Skype recently to recount his time managing Sunburst.
Our Ave Africa compilation, which collects the Tanzanian band’s entire recorded output, is available now on CD, LP & digital formats.
On the occasion of the first-ever retrospective of Tanzanian Afro-Rock band Sunburst, longtime Strut associate and compiler of the Nigeria 70 series Duncan Brooker presents a selection of some of Sunburst’s peers and contemporaries via this incredible mix of rare East African 45s. Duncan’s incredible mix premieres today on Stereogum.
Ave Africa: The Complete Recordings 1973-1976 is released 24th June on Strut. For a limited time, orders from the Strut web store & Bandcamp have the option to include a limited edition cassette featuring unreleased Sunburst demos recorded in Lusaka in 1976. 100 copies only! Pre-orders are available now.
1. SUNBURST – SIMBA ANGURUMA
2. NDARA MOYO – THAT’S THE WAY
3. SALOMON NGOUA – SHE’S GOT A SNAKE
4. NGOZI FAMILY – SUKUMA SEMEJI
5. SUNBURST – BANCHIKICHA
6. AFRO 70 – PEMBENYI MOTO
7. VIJANA JAZZ BAND – DIBWEWZE ZOGOLO JANGU
8. TABORA JAZZ BAND – HASIRA HASARA
9. SUNBURST – VIJANA
10. THE AFRO-KIDS – SHOREZA INYANGE
11. THE SAFARI TRIPPERS – MWANA MPOTEVU
12. MAQUIS DU ZAIRE – KASONGO
13. CASSIM COMBO – CHAKACHA
14. THE MIGHTY CAVALIERS – DUNIA INA MAMBO
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. Pre-orders are available now.
Limited Demos Cassette With Strut Web Store Orders
A very limited quantity of pre-orders via the Strut Store and Bandcamp will include a cassette copy of of unreleased Sunburst demos recorded in Lusaka in 1976. 100 copies only! Pre-orders for this special bundle are available now.
This March, we return to the rich archives of South African music to spotlight the fertile era of the late ’70s and early ’80s with a new volume in the Next Stop Soweto series. Tightly controlled by oppressive Apartheid laws, South Africa’s music scene in the 70s and 80s nevertheless progressed into myriad new directions, embracing funk, soul, rock and disco.
Next Stop Soweto Vol. 4 is compiled by Duncan Brooker. It will be released March 23 2015 on CD, 2LP and digital formats with physical formats featuring sleeve notes by author Francis Gooding along with rare photos and sleeve artwork.
Stream the energetic Afro rock track “Unga Pfula A Chi Pfalo” from Kabasa, which kicks off the new volume, below.
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)">