Oté Maloya: The Birth Of Electric Maloya on Réunion Island 1975-1986

Strut present a brand new compilation documenting the groundbreaking maloya scene on Réunion Island from the mid-‘70s, as Western instrumentation joined traditional Malagasy, African and Indian acoustic instruments to spark a whole era of new fusions and creativity. Compiled by Réunionese DJ duo La Basse Tropicale, ‘Oté Maloya’ is out now on CD and LP as well as digital formats. The CD and LP versions include an extensive booklet  featuring the history of maloya by Nathalie Valentine Legros of 7 Lames Lamer.

‘Oté Maloya’ tells the story of this fertile period in Réunion Island music for the first time and features the full spectrum of maloya styles. From Caméléon’s genius to the teenage Michou’s classic ‘Maloya Ton Tisane’, Daniel Sandié’s breakbeat sleeper ‘Défoule 3e Age’ and more traditional styles from Maxime Lahope and Pierrot Vidot, this is an essential trip through a lost era of Indian Ocean blues and soul. ‘It follows up last year’s acclaimed ‘Soul Sok Séga’ release on Strut.

Anthony Joseph’s Caribbean Roots

Strut team up for the first time with acclaimed French label Heavenly Sweetness for the brand new album by the celebrated poet, novelist and musician, Anthony Joseph.

‘Caribbean Roots’ represents an uncompromising return to his roots for Joseph, who has always remained true to a powerful, deep-seated sense of his own Caribbean identity. Starting out as a joint project with the outstanding percussionist Roger Raspail (Cesaria Evora, Papa Wemba), the album swiftly grew into a major work incorporating the rhythms, sounds and vibes that rock the Caribbean from San Fernando, Kingston and Les Abymes to Port-au-Prince and Havana. Backed by a band made up of a blend of musicians with Caribbean origins or connections, the album attempts to unite the different islands into a single entity without diluting any individual strand. “The idea, heard so often,” says Joseph, “is that the Caribbean is a fragmented region, socially, politically, historically. In my view, it’s a unified space, with more relations than disparities. The album is asking Caribbean people to consider that their roots are in the Caribbean, that their generations run deep and that now, we can claim it as ancestral space.”

AJ5 credit MIRABELWHITE med cropJoseph weaves an uncompromising direction through the album tracks, spinning his unique lyrical blend of afro-futurism and surrealism. He explores his native Trinidad and takes, in his own words, “a journey into the dark heart of the island”. He chronicles tales and parables: “songs tell of runaway slaves; badjohns or rude boys that we find much in black culture – our heroes, our soldiers”. There’s a muscular tribute to calypso great Mighty Sparrow and incisive reflections on colonialism: “As a Caribbean ex-pat living in Europe, I break out of the quotidian to realize that these grand architectures around me were built by those who colonized and enslaved me. I guess the album is about celebrating roots, but roots that lie within us.”

Heavyweight guests on the album include saxophonists Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet Is Coming) and Jason Yarde (Jazz Jamaica All Stars), trumpeter Yvon Guillard (Magma), bassist Mike Clinton (Salif Keita), trombonist Pierre Chabrèle (Creole Jazz Orchestra), Patrick Marie-Magdelene (Manu Dibango), celebrated Trinidad calypso icon David Rudder and Andy Narrell, master of the steel pans.

‘Caribbean Roots’ is released on Heavenly Sweetness / Strut on CD, LP and digital on June 24th. Pre-orders are available now. Album track “Mano A Mano” is streaming below.

A Snapshot Of Hawaii In The 1970s

The intoxicating sounds on Roger Bong’s Aloha Got Soul collection create a vivid mental picture of Hawaii in the 1970s, conjuring images of pristine waves, big hair, and life at an unhurried pace. It’s a place we want to be so badly that we cobbled together some vintage footage of the island, set to the lovely “Kona Winds” which appears on the album. Go get your board, we’ll go out and grab a tube.

Aloha Got Soul is out now on CD, 2LP (w. CD included) and digital formats.

Aloha Got Soul Live Events In Hawaii

Aloha_imageMassive weekend in Hawaii! Marking the launch of new Strut compilation of Hawaiian soul / AOR rarities,  ‘Aloha Got Soul’ and two years of the ‘Soul Time In Hawaii’ parties, DJ Roger Bong teams up with Red Light Radio for a major series of events in Honolulu this weekend. Red Bull Hawaii host an artist forum tonight (24th), tomorrow it’s the launch for the compilation at James After Beach Club and on 26th, it’s the big Soul Time In Hawaii night at Bevy with Mike Lundy and band live + DJs Psychemagick and the full Soul Time crew. And if you
can’t make it in person, it’s all featured on Red Light Radio: redlightradio.net

Aloha Got Soul is out now on CD, 2LP (w. CD insert) and digital formats.

Aloha Got Soul events poster

Roger Bong’s ‘Aloha Got Soul’ Preview Mix

Aloha Got Soul final front coverRoger Bong’s ‘Aloha Got Soul’ blog, label and brand has been a driving force behind the newfound recognition for Hawaii’s incredible sun-drenched funk, disco, soul, and rock of the 1970s and 80s. Roger’s efforts to unearth and present underheard sounds from the islands have resulted in some incredible music receiving national attention for the first time.

With his expertly-curated Aloha Got Soul collection out this Friday, Roger has assembled a short DJ mix to give a taste of some of the sounds you’ve been missing out on. It’s not quite a ticket to Hawaii in the 1970’s, but it’s the next best thing.

Aloha Got Soul is available 18th March on CD, 2xLP (w. CD included) and digital formats.

Download A Frankie Francis Edit Of Claudio’s “Bonom Chinois” from Soul Sok Sega

sofritoFrankie 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 BandcampSoul Sok Sega is available now on 2LP, CD & digital formats.

Percy Yip Tong & Menwar Teach The Fundamentals Of Mauritian Sega Music

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 12.18.24 PMOutside of a small set of savvy listeners and Mauritian locals, traditional sega music (sometimes called “the blues of the Indian Ocean”) is a relatively new discovery. Our Soul Sok Sega collection provides an overview of one of the peak creative eras for the music in the 1970s. For further context, producer Percy Yip Tong and musician Menwar have graciously run through a brief history of the music as well as the instruments and rhythms that make up the foundation of the style. Menwar also performs an exclusive acoustic version of his ’70s rarity ‘Sega Lenoir’ recorded as Les Stardust.

Soul Sok Sega is available now on CD, 2xLP, & digital formats.

Hear The Laid-Back Funk Monster “Kona Winds” From Aloha Got Soul

Aloha Got Soul final front coverFunkier than most yacht-rock, and beachier than most funk, “Kona Winds” is three and a half perfect minutes of aural relaxation. The track originally appeared on the “Homegrown” compilation series in 1978, showcasing local Hawaiian artists. Today, the track fits comfortably in Balearic DJ sets and left-field funk mixes.

“I was out in Venice with DJ Harvey,” says Mark Barrott, “and “Kona Winds” came on the radio whilst we were sat by the beach having breakfast, looking at the early-morning surfers. I actually rang US directory assistance for the first and last time in my life to get the number of the station to get a track ID. I NEVER get bored of the spoken intro; last summer I was a little worse for wear in the middle of a DJ set by Es Vedra and I just looped the spoken intro and left it running for 30 mins… it sounded fine to me.”

“Kona Winds” appears on Aloha Got Soul, a new compilation assembled by Roger Bong, documenting the vibrant soul, AOR, jazz funk and disco scene across Hawaii in 1979-1985. Aloha Got Soul is released 18th February on CD, 2xLP & digital formats. Pre-orders are available now.

Hear A Sega Classic From Mid-70’s Mauritius

00A390Claudio Veeraragoo is one of the biggest stars of séga music of the 60s and 70s. His stroke of genius was to marry séga rhythms with qawwali and Bollywood styles. He scored his debut hit, ‘Nou Manz Nou Larak’, in 1966, playing the accordion, and broke through as a major star with his cassette release, ‘Bhaï Aboo’ which exploded across the island upon its release. His songs were subsequently covered by French star Maxime Leforestier and Bollywood singer Shaan. Claudio has since brought séga to the four corners of the globe and, of all of the ‘70s artists, has remained one of Mauritius’ biggest live draws. Today, his son Michael, a drummer and producer, manages his father’s activities via their own production house, Kabana Music.

“Bonom Chinois” is a gem from the Soul Sok Sega compilation, whic documents the heyday of séga music in Mauritius between 1973 and 1979. The album is compiled by La Reunion-based DJs La Basse Tropicale with extensive sleeve notes by Mauritian cultural authority, Percy Yip Tong. Soul Sok Sega is released 22nd January 2016.

Pre-orders are available now.

Breezy Hawai’ian Disco, Funk & AOR on ‘Aloha Got Soul’

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.