Frankie Francis and Hugo Mendes of Sofrito are connoisseurs of vintage tropical dance sounds. The Mauritian séga genre explored on our Soul Sok Sega is a perfect match for their dusty, sun-drenched aesthetic, so we were thrilled when Francis, who also runs the vinyl dubplate and mastering facility The Carvery, offered to create a custom edit of one of our favorite tracks from the collection. His floor-friendly cut of Claudio’s “Bonom Chinois” is available for free download via our Bandcamp. Soul Sok Sega is available now on 2LP, CD & digital formats.
Literally years in the making, our Haiti Direct collection, compiled by Hugo Mendez of Sofrito, is out and available in stores. The two disc collection celebrates the overlooked musical legacy of Haiti, going beyond Ra-ra and voodoo stereotypes to trace the development of a unique sound that echoed across the Caribbean, yet remains relatively under the radar outside of the region.
Support from fans, press, and radio has been amazing, with BBC Radio 6 Music playlisting regularly, and the Sunday Times calling the collection “essential listening.”
Preview three of the tracks from Haiti Direct below.
Super Jazz des Jeunes are an institution of Haitian music. Headed by saxophonist and arranger Réné St. Aude, they developed what they termed ‘Voudou Jazz’, blending traditional folk songs and rhythms with big band arrangements – something also promoted by the more uptown orchestra of Issa el Saieh. First coming together in the early 1940s, the Jazz des Jeunes were 20-year veterans when “Coté Moune Yo” was recorded and represent a side of Haitian music that pre-dates – and at the time opposed – the compas explosion.
Sung by Gerard Dupervil, “Coté Moune Yo” is a big band setting of a traditional Haitian folk song, adding the traditional vaksin to the line-up.
The Caribbean is responsible for so much incredible music, it can be difficult to stay on top of it all. Haitian music in particular seems to have been broadly overlooked on a global scale. Our collection Haiti Direct (compiled by Hugo Mendez of Sofrito and out in January 2014) aims to offer an entry point to Haiti’s musical output of the 1960’s and 70’s, covering a variety of musical styles and interesting fusions. “Panno Caye Nan Bois Chêne,” by Les Fantaisistes de Carrefour, offers a glimpse at some of the music included in the collection.
From the album’s liner notes:
Founded by saxophonist Carmin Bichotte in the summer of 1967 in the Carrefour suburb of Port au Prince, Les Fantaisistes celebrated their more egalitarian roots and promoted themselves in opposition to the more uptown milieu of groups like Les Shleu Shleu, scoring numerous hits with lead singer Ricot Mazarin. The spaced-out “Panno Caye Nan Bois Chêne” – with vocals by Haitian singer and poet Ansy Derose – is taken from an album recorded whilst on tour in Guadeloupe in the early 70s and riffs on the local biguine rhythm to haunting effect.
Unlike reggae and ska from Jamaica, or soca and calypso from Trinidad, the music of Haiti remains relatively unfamiliar to listeners abroad. Which isn’t to say that it’s lacking at all in depth of history or quality, in fact quite the opposite. Having included selections from Haiti on his Sofrito collections on Strut (and of course, possessing a deep knowledge of Caribbean music of the 60’s & 70’s), Hugo Mendez is the perfect selector to introduce the music of Haiti to listeners interested in investigating the country’s musical legacy.
Haiti Direct is one of the first internationally available in-depth explorations of the vibrant and varied colors of Haiti’s music from the early ‘60s to the late ‘70s. The collection celebrates the overlooked musical legacy of Haiti, going beyond Ra-ra and voodoo stereotypes to trace the development of a unique sound that echoed across the Caribbean. Listeners will find selections of classic material from the early days of groups such as Tabou Combo and Les Freres Déjean as well as rarities from lesser known groups – bringing together the sound of Compas with Latin workouts, psychedelic experiments and the Cuban influenced Twoubadou singers that continued to be a key part of the fabric of Haitian musical life.
Haiti Direct will be available January 14th 2014 on 2 x CD, 2 x LP & digital download, featuring in-depth liner notes and interviews with some of the musicians and producers that shaped the sound.
1. IBO COMBO – TI GAÇON
2. LES VIKINGS – CHOC VIKINGS
3. LES ANIMATEURS – TI MACHINE
4. LES LOUPS NOIRS – PILE OU FACE
5. RODRIGUE MILIEN ET SON GROUPE COMBITE CREOLE – 6ÈME LEÇON
6. LES FANTAISISTES DE CARREFOUR – PANNO CAYE NAN BOIS CHÊNE
7. BOSSA COMBO – LINE
8. LES PACHAS DU CANAPÉ VERT – DÉSORDRE MUSICAL
9. TI PARIS ET SA GUITARE – COCHON ST. ANTOINE
10. GROUPE LES CHLEU-CHLEU – COMPAS X
11. RA RA DE LÉOGANE – GADE MOUNE YO
12. TABOU COMBO – CE PAS
13. LES DIFFICILES DE PÉTION-VILLE – AN SEPTIÈME
14. LES FRÈRES DEJEAN – PACKARD
15. TRIO SELECT – ENSEMBLE SELECT EN ACTION
1. RAOUL GUILLAUME – MAL ÉLEVÉ
2. SUPER JAZZ DES JEUNES – COTE MOUNE YO
3. PIERRE BLAIN ET ORCHESTRE MURAT PIERRE – JOUC LI JOU
4. ENSEMBLE MERIDIONAL DES CAYES – CALMA PÈLERIN
5. ENSEMBLE ETOILE DU SOIR – MESSE QUATRE HEURES
6. NEMOURS JEAN-BAPTISTE – TI CAROLE
7. ORCHESTRE SEPTENTRIONAL – BAPTÊME RATT
8. LES AMBASSADEURS – HOMENAJE A LOS AMBAJADORES
9. CARIBBEAN SEXTET – SUSPAN’N
10. DJET-X – JIVE TURKEY
11. LES SHLEU SHLEU – CRAPAUD
12. SCORPIO UNIVERSEL – TI LU LU PE
13. ORCHESTRE TROPICANA D’HAITI – POUN PACIANCE
On 18th December, we return to the best little boat in London for the funkiest of festive parties. The maestro Ashley Beedle returns to the capital for an exclusive set mixing up rare and classic soul and boogie, Frankie Francis brings the unique Sofrito sound drawing from all manner of archive Latin American, Caribbean and Afro styles and Duncan Brooker spins a selection of fine soulful rarities of all shapes and sizes. We’ll have some home made mulled wine on the go all night too. Hope to see you there!
We can’t honestly say that our record collections have many entries from the small Caribbean island of Dominca, but the same could not be said for the guys in Sofrito. As connoisseurs of all things Tropical and likely to move your feet, they’ve left no stone unturned in their efforts to bring you serious gems from years past. Their new collection International Soundclash (out now) includes heaters from West Africa, Latin America, and throughout the Caribbean. Including this “cadence-lypso” track from the long-running Midnight Groovers. Enjoy!
The guys in Sofrito (Hugo Mendez & Frankie Francis) never fail to serve up the kind of tracks that immediately excite everyone from dusty-fingered connoisseurs to listeners with little exposure to Caribbean music. Such is the case with “Vibration’s Groove,” from their forthcoming International Soundclash collection. Soca mainstay Lord Shorty (who also received the re-edit treatment on last year’s 12″ single) breaks down the building blocks of the nascent hybrid of soul and calypso, creating a dancefloor bomb that also functions as a perfect entry point to the genre. Download the track below. Sofrito’s International Soundclash comes out July 24th.
We couldn’t be happier to have a new collection of incredible music on the way from the expert selectors in Sofrito. And with a release date in late July, International Soundclash will come at a perfect time to add some extra heat to the summer.
Hugo Mendez and Frankie Francis have dug incredibly deep to bring you a one-of-a-kind selection of music from Trinidad, Colombia, Dominica, Congo, Cameroun and beyond. Exclusives include the deep Pacifico sound of Grupo Canalon’s “La Zorra y El Perol” – a new project from Nidia Góngora, singer with Quantic’s Combo Barbaro – a previously unreleased track by UK/Kenyan sensations Owiny Sigoma Band, and a Tropical Treats edit of Haiti’s dynamite Les Difficiles de Petion-Ville.
We also have a really special piece of packaging, courtesy of visual maestro Lewis Heriz, who interprets Sofrito’s fresh perspective on the world with a specially designed cut-out globe on a pull-out poster to accompany the CD and Double LP. Sofrito International Soundclash will be available July 24th 2012.
Heavy Afro Latin Sounds @ Especial Tropical Discotheque.
Paris. Souljazz Orchestra. Sofrito. Betino Errera + Radio Salah.
This is going to be epic! March 26th @ La Bellevilloise (Paris)