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.
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
As they make their way across Europe, it’s a full-on party when Orlando Julius hits the stage with The Heliocentrics. Recorded live in Brussels, this performance of “Aseni” shows the stage ablaze with synchronized dance moves and razor sharp musicianship. Make sure to catch this show when they come through your city!
European Tour Dates
11th: Ljubjana SLO / Kino Siska
12th: Rome IT / Teatro Quirinetta
13th: Bologna IT / Locomotiv Club
14th: Turin IT / Scuola Holden (General Store)
15th: Milan IT / Biko Club
19th: Arhus DEN / Atlas
20th: Copenhagen DEN / Global
21st: Stockholm SWE / Fasching
Here at Strut, we’ve been captivated with African music of many varieties ever since we first dipped our toes into the vast waters of music from the continent. Our initial forays into releasing curated collections of music from Africa focused on West African Afrobeat and Afro-Funk, and in the following years broadened our scope to touch on Ethio Jazz, North African Gnawa, South African township jive, and countless other varieties and hybrids.
To kick off 2015, we’ve compiled selections from our many African releases for a special digital release. Afro-Beats is over two hours of music, and we kept the price below that of an average album release. Dig in, and enjoy!
1. Ebo Taylor : Ayesama (taken from Appia Kwa Bridge)
2. Jabula : Jabula Happiness (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
3. Mulatu Astatke : Green Africa (taken from Mulatu Steps Ahead)
4. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo : Koumi Dede (taken from Cotonou Club)
5. Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics : Aseni (taken from Jaiyede Afro)
6. Jingo : Fever (taken from Afro-Rock Vol. 1)
7. Mulatu Astatke / The Heliocentrics : Phantom Of The Panther (taken from Inspiration Information)
8. Fanga & Maalem Abdallah Guinea : Kelen (taken from Fangnawa Experience)
9. The Souljazz Orchestra : One Life To Live (taken from Inner Fire)
10. Cornell Campbell Meets Soothsayers : We Want to Be Free (taken from Nothing Can Stop Us)
11. Jimi Tenor, Tony Allen : Against The Wall (taken from Inspiration Information)
12. Julian Bahula’s Jazz Afrika : Woza Cindi (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
13. Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics : Jaiyede Afro (taken from Jaiyede Afro)
14. The Souljazz Orchestra : As The Crow Flies (taken from Inner Fire)
15. Fanga & Maalem Abdallah Guinea : Kononi (taken from Fangnawa Experience)
16. Orlando Julius & His Modern Aces : Efoye So (taken from Super Afro Soul)
17. Ebo Taylor : Abonsam (taken from Appia Kwa Bridge)
18. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo : Holonon (taken from Cotonou Club)
19. Mercury Dance Band : Envy No Good (taken from Afro-Rock Vol. 1)
20. Malombo Jazz Makers : Hleziphi (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
21. Mulatu Astatke / The Heliocentrics : Esketa Dance (taken from Inspiration Information)
22. Mulatu Astatke : I Faram Gami I Faram (taken from Mulatu Steps Ahead)
23. Jimi Tenor, Tony Allen : Cella’s Walk (taken from Inspiration Information)
24. Ebo Taylor : Nga Nga (taken from Love And Death)
Gilles Peterson is a man of distinguishing tastes, and has been an enormous supporter of our music. This year at his annual Worldwide Awards he will be honoring Marshall Allen, the current leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra and compiler of our collection In The Orbit of Ra. The ceremony will also feature a special performance from Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics, as well as a host of other fine performers. If you’re in London in January, don’t miss it! Advance tickets available here.
Lamont Dozier’s “Back To My Roots” (which would go on to be covered by Odyssey, Richie Havens and many others) is a classic of the disco era. The track’s message of returning “to the place of my birth” is accentuated by a chugging guitar line reminiscent of Afrobeat. As it turns out, that’s not an accident.
In the video below, Orlando Julius (pictured here with James Brown) explains how his impromptu session with Hugh Masekela resulted in Julius’ composition “Ashiko” appearing on Masekela’s new album. It’s the signature figure from “Ashiko” that appears in “Back To My Roots,” for which Masekela received a writing credit, while Julius’ contribution remains unacknowledged.
Orlando Julius has refused to become embittered by his experience, but it’s a good feeling to be able to share his story. His new collaborative album Jaiyede Afro, recorded with The Heliocentrics, is available now from your local record shop, on iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.
“In case it’s not clear: Jaiyede Afro is a tremendous album.” –PopMatters
With this year’s collaborative album Jaiyede Afro hailed as one of the freshest takes on Afrobeat music in recent memory, Nigerian Afrobeat originator Orlando Julius and London’s psychedelic jazz ensemble The Heliocentrics are launching a massive European tour together. Who knows when this group of musicians will find themselves on stage together again? We suggest you don’t miss it.
Update: due to unforeseen visa issues, UK dates have been re-scheduled for May.
In a behind-the-scenes look into the recording studio, The Heliocentrics and Orlando Julius talk about their collaborative album Jaiyede Afro. Malcolm Catto, the drummer and leader of The Heliocentrics mentions his desire to bring a psychedelic edge to the sessions, in the manner of some of his favorite African recordings by groups like the Psychedelic Aliens and others. Orlando Julius also gives the background on a few of his songs.
The Jaiyede Afro album is out September 8th, and can be 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.
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.”
Nigerian saxophone legend Orlando Julius’ collaboration with UK psychedelic jazz outfit The Heliocentrics is one of the most satisfying and progressive Afrobeat projects to come along in a while. The full album is due September 8th, but you can hear the lead track “Buje Buje” below.
Orlando Julius on “Buje Buje:” “My parents used to tell us stories, folk tales and there were a lot of different stories involving tortoises – they often made tortoises sound like human beings. There was one about a tortoise who had a farm and I always thought, ‘how could a tortoise have a farm?!’ This tortoise is working on his farm and a pretty lady is passing by. So, he cuts his foot with his cutlass and pretends that he is injured so that he can get her attention. The lady comes over and tries to help him and he says, ‘I can’t work with this cut. Could I climb on your back to go to get help?’ She agrees, he climbs on her back and she starts to walk. He says, ‘I’m too far up, could you push me further down your back?’ Finally, the lady realises that he is up to no good, she is very unhappy and tells him to find his own way. Once she has left, the tortoise continues to play this trick on other women.
“I made the story into a song and brought human nature into it – good people and bad people. The song teaches us not to copy something that is bad, fake or deceptive.”
This fall, 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 will be supported by a full European touring schedule.
Our vinyl-only re-issue of Julius’ classic album Super Afro Soul is available now in the Strut Store. Stream “Efoye So” below.