This 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.
Lima’s Kanaku Y El Tigre write beautiful music that is significantly enhanced by their ability to create unique sounds using just about anything they have available. In the new video for “Quema Quema Quema,” the band peels back the layers of the title track of their new album, employing esoteric toy synthesizers, found percussion and a haunting slide guitar to assemble a killer piece of music. Watching the way these elements interact only enhances our appreciation for a killer band.
Strut in association with Tiger’s Milk proudly present the latest artist signing to the label: Lima, Peru’s Kanaku Y El Tigre.
The band’s forthcoming album Quema Quema Quema (meaning ‘Burn Burn Burn’ in Spanish) is the product of two years honing the Kanaku sound at the band’s Lima studio HQ and the result is a record which is feverish in intensity and which screams with joy and cries for help in the same breath. The album is a testament to their new found approach with its euphoric, unapologetically feel-good hooks littered with electronic jitters, ghostly delays, serene Hawaiian slide guitars and a chorus of other-wordly vocal harmonies.
Take a look at a video for the track “Bubucelas,” featuring the album’s incredible hand-painted cover art, below. You can also download “Bubucelas” for free.
Quema Quema Quema is out June 15th on Strut / Tiger’s Milk.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s in Communist Romania, Rodion Ladislau Roșca and his band Rodion G.A. created a hybrid of electronic music, psychedelics, and progressive rock that, decades later, has revealed itself to be remarkably ahead of its time. After years of obscurity, and only a handful of singles ever released officially, Rodion’s music is finally getting the recognition it deserves. This is the story of the music, conducted as an interview with Ion Dumitrescu of Bucharest’s Future Nuggets crew. Rodion speaks from his home in Romania about way he created his music, the creative climate in Communist Romania, and the sad fact that he feels that even the renewed interest in his work is coming too late to make a difference in his life.
The Lost Tapes, the first ever commercially released album of Rodion G.A.’s music, is due May 28th on Strut Records in association with Future Nuggets and Ambassador’s Reception.