Interview With Sunburst’s Manager Peter Bagshawe

SUNBURST FINAL FRONT COVER HI RESIn 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.

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.

 

Watch Kanaku Y El Tigre Perform ‘Pulpos’ Live In Their Studio

kanaku3 Kanaku Y El Tigre are experts at using the recording studio as an instrument. Their records are densely layered, to the point that discerning the players or instruments responsible for specific sounds can become a pleasant challenge. This live video, recorded at Kanaku Studios in Lima pulls back the curtain on some of the mystery. Performing with precision, the band delivers a flawless rendition of the song ‘Pulpos’ from the upcoming album Quema Quema Quema.

Quema Quema Quema is out June 15th on Strut / Tiger’s Milk. Pre-orders are available now on iTunes and the Strut Store.

Video: Orlando Julius Performs “Aseni” Live With The Heliocentrics

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

Orlando Julius’ collaborative album with The Heliocentrics, Jaiyede Afro is out now:
iTunesAmazonStrut Store

Orlando Julius, The Heliocentrics and Marshall Allen To Feature At Worldwide Awards

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.

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Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics Announce European Tour

“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.

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Video: Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics In The Studio

Orlando Julius studio cropIn 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.

A Heavy Afrobeat Take On James Brown from Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics

Malcolm square medHere’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.”

 

Hear A New Track From Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics

Orlando Julius portrait 2 crop med bwNigerian 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.

The Jaiyede Afro album can be pre-ordered now on iTunes, with the track “Buje Buje” available instantly.

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.”

Record Store Day 2014 Releases From Rodion G.A. & Dance Mania

RSD2014We have no shortage of reasons to love the Springtime: the long awaited thaw, blooming plant life, young love (or in some cases not so young…). But high on our list of favorite things about the Spring is Record Store Day, which this year falls on Saturday April 19th. Any occasion to celebrate independent music retailers, to create special vinyl-only treasures, and of course to get out there and hit the record bins is aces in our book!

This year we have two very special pieces for the Record Store Day faithful. First we have a never-before-released science-fiction soundtrack from the enigmatic Rodion G.A. We’re also following up our Hardcore Traxx collection with three more rare treats from one of Chicago’s great house music labels, Dance Mania.

For a full list of participating Record Store Day stores and info on Record Store Day releases, head to http://www.recordstoreday.com/

Rodion G.A. – Misiunea Spatiala Delta (Delta Space Mission)

Rodion DSM cover medFor listeners who found our 2013 release of mostly unheard psychedelic / electronic compositions from obscure Romanian outfit Rodion G.A. to be a revelation, we have a treat for you. In the early 80s, Rodion was approached to create an electronic score for a science fiction feature based on a Romanian animated TV series. Rodion’s 15-minute prototype score was unfortunately shelved at a late stage and replaced with more accessible cues from composer Adrian Enescu, but the recordings survived, and it’s our pleasure to present the previously unreleased music on vinyl for Record Store Day 2014. Misiunea Spatiala Delta (Delta Space Mission) is mastered from the original reel-to-reel tapes and is limited to 1000 copies worldwide.

Dance Mania – Revival Traxx EP

Dance Mania EP cover medAmidst the overwhelmingly positive feedback for our Hardcore Traxx collection of classics from Chicago’s Dance Mania label, several keen listeners expressed regret that even more music wasn’t included. We completely agree, which is why we’ve teamed up once again with Dance Mania for an EP that mines the deeper parts of the revered archive for three bona fide dancefloor burners.

The A-side is made up of two key cuts from 1994: Drewsky’s ‘Wigged Out’ (produced by DJ Deeon and mixed by DJ Milton) and Club Style’s ‘Spirit’ (recorded by Paul Johnson and Robert Armani).  On the flip, we feature a previously unreleased cut from Parris Mitchell’s Rhythm II Rhythm moniker. Recorded at the same time as the classic ‘A Touch of Jazz’ in ’92, ‘Mellow Magic’ is another melodic, subtle house gem but was shelved due solely to a packed 12” release schedule on Dance Mania. Vinyl on this one is limited to 500 copies worldwide, available exclusively from participating Record Store Day retailers.

Enjoy supporting your local record shop for Record Store Day, and we’ll see you in the bins!