Shina Williams’ monster Nigerian disco anthem ‘Agboju Logun’ is out now on Strut featuring original artwork and all musicians’ credits and is fully remastered by The Carvery. The 12″ reissue pairs the rare original album version (released on Phonodisk Nigeria) with the more sparse 12” remix which surfaced later internationally on Earthworks. This is the third release on STRUT’S new Original Masters Series.
Back in 1979 when ‘Agboju Logun’ first appeared on his ‘African Dances’ LP, Williams knew well that the track was breaking new ground. “I want to show the whole wide world that Africa is alive with modern musicians to reckon with anywhere,” he stated. Now an accepted Afro disco classic of its time, ‘Agboju Logun’ did indeed bring together the cream of Nigeria’s players as a one-off supergroup in one inspired session. As a long-standing and well respected highlife musician and vocalist, Williams called in the ‘A’ list: Tunde Martins from Afro Collective played bass guitar, the brilliant Biddy Wright (player on albums by Lijadu Sisters, Blo and many more) contributed the famous synth lines and handled production, Fred Fisher was on trombone and Saliu Alabi played talking drum.
Enjoying limited success upon its release in Nigeria, ‘African Dances’ nevertheless gained some international attention when Earthworks’ Jumbo Van Renan licensed two tracks from it for an international 12” single release in 1984, remixing ‘Agboju Logun’ in a more stripped back mix for dancefloors. However, it was the period following Fela Kuti’s death in the late ‘90s that truly ignited interest in archive African grooves for a new internet generation. Strut’s first ‘Nigeria 70’ compilation featured the track in 2000 and it has been a staple in DJs’ crates ever since.
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.
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 features it’s original artwork and new interviews with Oghene Kologbo and Sonny Akpan of The Funkees. It’s available now. An edited version of the 15-minute title track is streaming below.
Veteran Nigerian saxophonist and pioneer of Afro soul and Afrobeat, Orlando Julius, embarks on his first set of US dates in over a decade this Autumn. Expect to hear tracks from his acclaimed new studio album with The Heliocentrics, Jaiyede Afro, alongside a host of classics from his incredible 50-year career including “Alo Mi Alo,” “James Brown Ride On,” “Jagua Nana” and “Ijo Soul,” the track which allegedly influenced James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good).” It’s a one-off chance to catch one of Africa’s all-time great musicians, live and direct.
Jaiyede Afro is available now via digital retailers and the Strut Store.
(Photo by Mariagrazia Giove)
September 18th: Chicago, IL / Mayne Stage ‘World Music Festival Chicago’
September 19th: Chicago, IL / Mayne Stage ‘World Music Festival Chicago’
September 24th: Philadelphia, PA / venue tba
September 25th: New York, NY / Le Poisson Rouge
September 26th: Albuquerque, NM / National Hispanic Cultural Center
Here’s another taste of the upcoming Orlando Julius & Heliocentrics collaborative album, and what a monster it is! Hailing from Nigeria and London respectively, Julius and the Heliocentrics (lead by drummer Malcolm Catto) have a unique perspective on American soul music. Their take on a James Brown cut from the Popcorn album keeps the playing tight enough for the Godfather of Soul, while adding a new feel all their own.
The Jaiyede Afro album is out September 8th, and can be pre-ordered now on iTunes, with the track “Buje Buje” available instantly. CDs and limited 180 gram LPs are also available for pre-order from the Strut store.
Jake Ferguson of The Heliocentrics on “In The Middle:”
“We’ve all been big fans of James Brown since we’ve been involved in music and have played ‘In The Middle’ regularly on our live tours. It felt like a natural fit for the Orlando project, particularly as we have added an Afro swing to the track. We first played the track with Orlando at a London gig last year and he got into it in the studio straight away – his sax solo here was the very first take. James Brown and his band loved Orlando when they saw him play in Ibadan back in the ‘60s and the two of them met up and talked at J.B.’s hotel. So, for lots of reasons, this felt like a natural one to include.”
We’re extremely proud to announce the first ever internationally released new studio album by one of the all-time legends of Nigerian music, Orlando Julius, backed by the incredibly versatile London outfit The Heliocentrics.
On Jaiyede Afro, Julius takes us back to his roots, revisiting several compositions from his early years which have never previously been recorded. The album was recorded at the Heliocentrics’ fully analogue studio in North London. Like their their memorable collaborations with Mulatu Astatke and Lloyd Miller, the band takes Orlando’s sound into new, progressive directions, retaining the raw grit of his early work and adding psychedelic touches and adventurous new arrangements.
Jaiyede Afro is released September 9th on CD, 2xLP and digital formats. The physical formats feature new photos from the recording sessions by Alexis Maryon and track by track interview with Orlando Julius and The Heliocentrics. The release is supported by a full European touring schedule.
Stream “Efoye So” below.
Dating back to our very first release, Club Africa from 1999, packaging and presenting choice selections from the vast wealth of incredible music from the African content has been a labor of love here at Strut. We’ve had the good fortune to work with some of our heroes, and many stalwart legends of African music, spanning styles from Nigerian Afrobeat to South African Township Jive to Moroccan Gnawa and much in between.
This holiday season we’ve put together a special digital package featuring some of the cream of the crop from our African catalog, including music from legends like Mulatu Astatke, Ebo Taylor, Tony Allen and many more. The whole collection (26 tracks in total) is available on iTunes for $7.99, which makes it easy to dig a little deeper into some incredible sounds.
In addition, many of the original albums on which these songs appear are available at a discounted rate through iTunes for a limited time. Treat yourself to some amazing music!
Various Artists – Strut Africa Sampler