New ‘Original Masters’ Full-Album Re-Issue Series Kicks Off With A Lost Nigerian Disco Funk Classic

This year sees an exciting new undertaking from the Strut camp. We’re launching ‘Original Masters,’ a series of essential original LP reissues exploring rare and under-rated African, Latin and Caribbean music classics, curated by leading collector and DJ, Duncan Brooker.

If that right there is enough to let you know that you’ll be needing each of these classic LPs, we’re offering a subscription option which guarantees a copy of each of the four 1LP Original Masters releases we have planned for 2017. Each one is a new pressing of an extremely rare crate essential, so a subscription means you’ll have some great music to look forward to!
*Note, if you’ve already pre-ordered the Joe King Kologbo album and would like to subscribe to the full series, please email bandcamp@k7.com

The first release in the Original Masters series arrives February 10th 2017, in the form of an experimental highlife / disco outing by Nigerian highlife guitarist Joe King Kologbo.

Forced to flee Nigeria when the Biafran War broke out in 1967, Kologbo spent the late 60s performing with various outfits in Ghana before returning to Lagos in 1971 and playing with Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 and Fela’s wider circle of musicians. By the time he recorded the ‘Sugar Daddy’ LP for the tiny Electromat label in 1980, he was one of the older musicians on the circuit.

“Since he was based in the East during his early days, he was not as well known nationally as some of the other highlife players of the time,” says Oghene Kologbo, “so it’s nice that this album is coming out again. It brings back good memories. That Range Rover on the cover – that is Fela’s!”

Joe King Kologbo’s Sugar Daddy is released 10th February 2017 in its original artwork and features new interviews with Oghene Kologbo and Sonny Akpan of The Funkees. Pre-orders are available now. An edited version of the 15-minute title track is streaming below.

Short-Lived Afro-Rock Band Sunburst Gets A Complete Retrospective On Strut

Sunburst 1974-3 squareStrut 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.

SUNBURST FINAL FRONT COVER HI RESHaving 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

Sunburst_Vinyl_Bundle_WhiteBGA 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.

 

A Snapshot Of Hawaii In The 1970s

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.

Roger Bong’s ‘Aloha Got Soul’ Preview Mix

Aloha Got Soul final front coverRoger Bong’s ‘Aloha Got Soul’ blog, label and brand has been a driving force behind the newfound recognition for Hawaii’s incredible sun-drenched funk, disco, soul, and rock of the 1970s and 80s. Roger’s efforts to unearth and present underheard sounds from the islands have resulted in some incredible music receiving national attention for the first time.

With his expertly-curated Aloha Got Soul collection out this Friday, Roger has assembled a short DJ mix to give a taste of some of the sounds you’ve been missing out on. It’s not quite a ticket to Hawaii in the 1970’s, but it’s the next best thing.

Aloha Got Soul is available 18th March on CD, 2xLP (w. CD included) and digital formats.

Hear The Laid-Back Funk Monster “Kona Winds” From Aloha Got Soul

Aloha Got Soul final front coverFunkier than most yacht-rock, and beachier than most funk, “Kona Winds” is three and a half perfect minutes of aural relaxation. The track originally appeared on the “Homegrown” compilation series in 1978, showcasing local Hawaiian artists. Today, the track fits comfortably in Balearic DJ sets and left-field funk mixes.

“I was out in Venice with DJ Harvey,” says Mark Barrott, “and “Kona Winds” came on the radio whilst we were sat by the beach having breakfast, looking at the early-morning surfers. I actually rang US directory assistance for the first and last time in my life to get the number of the station to get a track ID. I NEVER get bored of the spoken intro; last summer I was a little worse for wear in the middle of a DJ set by Es Vedra and I just looped the spoken intro and left it running for 30 mins… it sounded fine to me.”

“Kona Winds” appears on Aloha Got Soul, a new compilation assembled by Roger Bong, documenting the vibrant soul, AOR, jazz funk and disco scene across Hawaii in 1979-1985. Aloha Got Soul is released 18th February on CD, 2xLP & digital formats. Pre-orders are available now.

Hear Souljazz Orchestra’s Take On A Christmas Classic In A Free Holiday Gift

K7_HolidayGift_2015We’re fully in the holiday spirit here at Strut, and what better way to celebrate the season than a blistering Afro-Funk take on a classic Christmas carol? The Souljazz Orchestra has given us just that with their wonderful version of “We Three Kings.”

The track is available exclusively for free download via the !K7 Collective Holiday Gift, along with material from some of our favorite independent labels like Luaka Bop, Piranha, Mister Saturday Night, R&S, and many others.

Share the love, and have a great holiday!

Breezy Hawai’ian Disco, Funk & AOR on ‘Aloha Got Soul’

Aloha Got Soul final front coverThis February, an inspired collection of funk, disco, jazz and AOR recorded in Hawai’i shines a whole new light on the islands’ music culture. Aloha Got Soul encompasses a vibrant and varied era of recordings made during the 1970s and early 1980s, many of which never received attention on the mainland, despite brilliantly talented musicians, regular gigs and full album releases. Thanks largely to collector and DJ Roger Bong of Aloha Got Soul, a new interest in this fertile era of Hawaiian music has steadily grown in recent years, culminating in this new compilation of overlooked gems.

The influence of Western music in Hawai’i dates back as far as the ragtime era with the creation of hapa haole music (“half Hawaiian, half Caucasian”), but from the early 1960s with the island’s new American statehood status and the influx of rock’n’roll, a proliferation of new bands, night clubs and influential radio DJs like Tom Moffatt ushered in a boom in hybrid sounds. By the late ‘70s, the influence of bands like Earth Wind & Fire and Tower of Power had sparked a rich, close-knit soul scene on the islands led by jazz-funk innovators Seawind (CTI Records). Artists like Aura, Nohelani Cypriano and Mike Lundy shone brightly but relatively briefly through to the mid’-80s.

Hear a track below from Aura (pictured on the album cover), a family band consisting of eight siblings and featuring two female singers and an incredibly tight horn section.

Aloha Got Soul, out March 18th 2016, is compiled and annotated by Roger Bong and features rare photos and original artwork. Pre-orders are available now. All orders from Strut’s online store and bandcamp page will be discounted 10% in advance of the release date.

The Souljazz Orchestra Autumn Tour

souljazz_orchestra5_cropWe’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The Souljazz Orchestra is simply one of the hardest working, must see live bands in the business. With their incendiary new album Resistance out now, the Ottawa-based sextet lead by Pierre Chrétien is taking to the road for an absolutely epic series of dates that sees them taking their very own fusion of roots music, jazz and funk from their native Canada to Europe and back again, making converts as they go. Dress light, as these shows will be HOT!

Resistance is available now via online retail and the Strut Store.

full_tour

Full Tour Dates

Sep 12 – Port Hope, CA – All-Canadian Jazzfest
Sep 26 – Ottawa, CA – Babylon Nightclub
Oct 03 – Lausanne, CH – Holy Groove Festival
Oct 04 – London, UK – Jazz Cafe
Oct 05 – Zurich, CH – Moods
Oct 08 – Beauvais, FR – L’Ouvre-Boîte
Oct 09 – Sannois, FR – EMB
Oct 10 – Rennes, FR – Ubu
Oct 11 – Laval, FR – 6PAR4
Oct 13 – Paris, FR – New Morning
Oct 14 – Massy, FR – Paul B
Oct 15 – Lyon, FR – Marché Gare
Oct 16 – Montpellier, FR – Rockstore
Oct 17 – Chalon-sur-Saône, FR – La Péniche
Oct 19 – Bristol, UK – The Lantern
Oct 20 – Liverpool, UK – The Kazimier
Oct 22 – Milan, IT – Biko Club
Oct 23 – Barcelona, SP – Say It Loud
Oct 24 – Madrid, SP – Sala Clamores
Oct 25 – Berlin, DE – Yaam
Oct 27 – Bochum, DE – Bahnhof Langendreer
Oct 29 – Cologne, DE – Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld
Oct 30 – Pfarrkirchen, DE – Club Bogaloo
Oct 31 – Offenbach, DE – Hafen 2
Nov 03 – Vienna, AT – Andino
Nov 04 – Prague, CZ – AghaRTA
Nov 05 – Athens, GR – GazARTE
Nov 07 – Marseille, FR – Cabaret Aléatoire
Nov 14 – Gatineau, QC – Le Petit Chicago
Nov 20 – Hamilton, CA – This Ain’t Hollywood
Nov 21 – Toronto, CA – Lee’s Palace
Nov 27 – Québec, CA – Le Cercle
Nov 28 – Montréal, CA – La Sala Rossa

The Souljazz Orchestra Take To The Streets of Montreal’s Carnival in “Courage” Video

SJO_Courage_ScreenshotWe’re just over a week away from the release of the new Souljazz Orchestra LP Resistance, and the crew has another great music video to share. Shot on the streets of Montreal during Carnival, the video for “Courage” premiered today on Wax Poetics, and features the band diving head-on into a funky compas style.

Resistance is out September 4th. Pre-orders are available now via online retail and the Strut Store.

 

 

The Souljazz Orchestra Returns With New Album ‘Resistance’ September 2015

The_Souljazz_Orchestra_Resistance_front_coverCanada’s powerhouse Afro / Latin / Tropical collective, The Souljazz Orchestra, return in September 2015 with a powerhouse new album that sees the ensemble exploring some new sonic territory.

“We approached this album with a fresh ear,” explains bandleader Pierre Chrétien. “We were keen to build on the band’s sound and message, bringing in some of the French Caribbean and Francophone West African influences that we’ve loved since our youth, so the new album brings in French language tracks and elements of coupé-décalé, zouk and cadence to the overall mix.”

The Souljazz Orchestra remain one of the most solid units in their scene, retaining their original line-up since they were first formed back in 2002. On Resistance, they showcase their continuing versatility with saxman Ray Murray, percussionist Marielle Rivard, drummer Philippe Lafrenière and keyboardist Pierre Chrétien all taking on lead vocal duties on different tracks.

Resistance is released on 8th September on CD, LP & digital formats, and the band embark on a major new international tour, hitting up Europe during September and October 2015, followed by a Canadian run in November 2015.

souljazz_orchestra_lores3