Brazilian holy grails this summer from the archive of artist and activist, Fernando Falcão – thanks to Selvagem’s Augusto Olivani (Selva Discos)

Selva Discos will reissue a pair of rare albums by Fernando Falcão this August, file these treasures under avant-garde polyrhythmic jazz. They really are something to behold. The story of this Brazilian multi-instrumentalist and composer is also captivating – a man who bombed the military dictatorship, before fleeing to France and immersing himself in cult underground-music.

Falcão lived in São Paulo as a poet and a musician during the political movements of 1968. He took on the brutal Brazilian regime after placing a bomb against the military dictatorship. His older brother sent him to France, as he feared he would be arrested and jailed for life. Between 1969-1984,  Falcão became a multifaceted artist – working in music, acting, and sculpting – and was involved in Jérôme Savary’s legendary Grand Magic Circus, where he met the first wife, Valérie Kling.

It was from this relationship that a partnership began between the musician and his father-in-law, the artist François-Xavier Lalanne, who guided Falcão in the process of inventing sound sculptures. The pair built a one-of-a-kind balauê – a horizontal version of the berimbau string instrument. Much of this exploration and experimentation resulted in the 1979 album Memória das Águas – recorded in France but only released in 1981. Falcão would go on to make two more albums, most notably the more condensed and coherent Barracas Barrocas, originally released on Egberto Gismonti’s cult Carmo label in 1987.

Both of these forthcoming albums provide different expanse, focus and themes from the artist. There are elements of field recordings and other innovative techniques, alongside traditional folk influences, bossa nova and African percussion.

It is label boss, Selvagem’s Augusto Olivani, who will be releasing them on Selva Discos – follow ups to the club smash, Barbatuques’ Baianá (the one with that Wolf Müller Drum Drop remix that has slayed leftfield dancefloors for months). Selva Discos’ are enlightening listeners to the psychedelic oeuvre of Brazil and this forthcoming pair from Falcão sit perfectly. The São Paulo based label has already wowed since 2008 with past reissues of Maria Rita’s intense Brasileira LP and Marlui Miranda’s percussive beauty Tchori Tchori. Their focus on updating and revealing music that melds indigenous roots with visionary artistry is something to behold. Check out the Selva Discos Bandcamp to hear and read more about the label.

 

Left Ear press 1993 jams by Jay U Experience – you must hear these synth and drum machine experiments from New York

This is otherworldly music by Nigeria’s Jay U Experience, soon to be available on vinyl via the Melbourne based label, Left Ear Records. We’re big fans of this label and their intrepid musical excavations, but even by Left Ear’s impeccable standards, this is a real dig and insanely good.

This EP release is extracted from a lost ’93 CD/Tape only album, where the famed artist has used modern technology from the decade, with timeless African Rhythms. Jay U Xperience is the pseudonym of acclaimed Nigerian musician Justus Nkwane.

“His first release Enough Is Enough was a heavy blend of psychedelic rock and funk epitomising 1977 and yet foreshadows Justus’ experimental and genre-spanning inquisitiveness,” Left Ear’s Chris Bonato explains.

“Justus wouldn’t record another album until 1993 while living in New York City. Here he emerged with Ancestral Call an album that he describes as a “once in a lifetime event”, something from his “inner spiritual guts”. Equipped with a Roland R-5 drum machine and a Roland U-20 synthesizer to extract melodies, he was able to create tunes that encapsulated contemporary technology with timeless traditional African rhythms, creating a work that sounds just as relevant today as it did then.”

Available soon  via Rush Hour, Seance Centre, or Left Ear.

Peter Webber’s ‘Soul Of Jamaica’ film will celebrate reggae’s golden generation, the ‘Inna De Yard’ album is it’s glorious soundtrack

One of the highlights of the summer will be the release of the reggae documentary Soul Of Jamaica, directed by Peter Webber, featuring a cast of legends in the film and on the self-titled Inna De Yard soundtrack.

Here, Cedric Myton rekindles The Congos classic, Row Fisherman:

The heavyweight cast includes Ken Boothe, Cedric ‘The Congos’ Myton, Horace Andy, Judy Mowatt, Winston McAnuff, The Viceroys, Kiddus I, Jah9, Var and Derajah, and a backbone of incredible musicians who have long been the foundations to reggae music. The soundtrack of 13 contemporary new versions of classic Jamaican recordings is out now, all originally from the Trojan and Studio One studios. They remind us of Jamaica’s vast contribution to popular music around the globe. The documentary also introduces and highlights a new class of roots-enthused artists from the island.

The documentary film – directed by Webber (a three time Oscar nominated director for Girl With A Pearl Earring) – is set for UK and international cinema release, alongside a Inna De Yard European tour and summer festival dates, including a special beach performance at the music industry Midem Festival in Cannes.

The trailblazing Inna De Yard quartet, of Ken Boothe, Cedric “The Congos” Myton, Kiddus I and Winston McAnuff, have already wowed crowds during a debut tour of France in 2007.

Now they will join forces to front a cross-generational super-group of roots-reggae visionaries, featuring Jamaican vocal trio The Viceroys and Bob Marley backing vocalist and artist Judy Mowatt – as well as Jah9, Var and Derajah – three of Jamaica’s most stirring and spiritually-connected artists on the scene today. Inna De Yard will play at L’Olympia in Paris on June 15th, with various European tour dates throughout the summer.

Here is the tracklist for the Inna De Yard album (the soundtrack for the Soul Of Jamaica film), it dropped last month and is a must listen:

If You Love Me (ft. Kiddus I)

Malcolm X (ft. Winston McAnuff)

Row Fisherman (ft. Cedric Myton)

Everything I Own (ft. Ken Boothe)

Ya Ho (ft. The Viceroys)

Ain’t No Sunshine (ft. Horace Andy)

Black Woman (ft Judy Mowatt & Jah 9)

Survive (ft. Kiddus I)

Rebellion In Heaven (ft Cedric Myton)

Be Careful (ft. Var & Derajah & Winston McAnuff)

Tribute To My Sista (ft. Derajah)

Speak Softly Love (ft. Ken Boothe)

Live Good (ft. Var)

Time Capsule’s latest delight is from Ethiopian singer Gigi – this Bill Laswell produced gem is here for the first time on vinyl

Now the dynamic Time Capsule label is really moving through the gears, with the reissue of Gigi’s Illuminated Audio, this Bill Laswell produced album is pressed on double 180g vinyl for the first time since 2003’s CD release. It’s a joy to hear this resurface.

With a collective of expert currators selecting rare and obscure musical delights and news of two new additions to the catalogue – Gigi’s offering is out now and Bombay S Jayashri’s Shravanam in June – the Time Capsule label is a beacon of supreme music, as well as education and digging (just check out their artist biographies and new record shop on their exquisite website).

Following reissues of Japanese fusionist Yuji Toriyama and Italian new age visionary, Il Guardiano Del Faro, the third Time Capsule is a body of dub reinterpretations. This time the precious Release is curated by Tokyo record collector, music researcher and seasoned reissue supervisor Ken Hidaka.

As the Time Capsule website explains: “Ejigayehu Shibabaw was born in 1974 in Chagni, northwestern Ethiopia and by pursuing a career as a singer, went against her father’s strict, traditional gender roles. As Gigi, she embraced the same musical freedom she had strived for in her personal life, incorporating the Ethiopian church, funk, hip-hop, West and South African music into her work. She first settled in Nairobi, then Addis Ababa, where she quickly established herself as one of the city’s leading singers. A move to San Francisco in 1998 led to a long and fruitful creative partnership with bassist and producer, Bill Laswell.”

Enter Island Records head honcho Chris Blackwell, who had stepped away from The label to start the art house film company and label Palm Pictures. He pulled together an all-star cast of musicians for Gigi’s self-titled US debut album, including Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders and Wayne Shorter.

Journalist Tyran Grillo, who has compiled the liner notes for this reissue with thorough research and meticulous care, explains how her first album earned international critical acclaim for making Gigi a “defining voice for the Ethiopian expatriate community” and “a shower of sunlight on her homeland for those ignorant of its struggles”. It’s success encouraged a return to the studio, a revisit of the album and the resulting Illuminated Audio. Laswell worked with Gigi’s original vocals and produced a dubwise masterpiece, Gigi was present to bless the work and “create a different music language that really puts you in a pleasant place,” she remarked at the time.

Label producer Kay Suzuki has a host of collaborators lined up and has music lovers eagerly waiting for more.

Kay Suzuki

Time Capsule collective member, Hidaka, has been a key conduit and the “go-to-guy” for Japanese music by labels in the West during the last two decades. He has lived in the U.S and London and has worked for one of the biggest independent labels in Japan, P-Vine Records as A&R, he’s worked as an overseas liaison for Flower Records, helped launch Wax Poetics Japan, supervised the reissues of Tony Allen’s solo works and supervised many reissues of iconic dance labels such as Salsoul, West End, P&P Records and Streetwise in Japan, and has also A&Red several mix CDs by DJ Nori (who introduced Hidaka to Illuminated Audio), Dimitri From Paris, DJ Spinna and Idjut Boys. Recently, he has also been working for a number of European labels such as WRWTFWW / Mental Groove, BBE, Mr Bongo, Music For Dreams and Archeo Recordings to secure licensing for each label’s Japanese music reissues, as well as being an agent and tour manager for Midori Takada in recent years.

Ken Hidaka

Hidaka also runs a monthly party – with Max Essa, Dr. Rob of banbantonton, DJ Gordy and Guy Bassett – called Lone Star at the world renowned Bar Bonobo in Tokyo. They’ve run it for eight years and celebrated their 100th party in March 2019.

Check out this mix from the Time Capsule launch party to hear Hidaka DJ:

The website has a whole host of mixes related to the various curators. More can also be read about the production aspects of Illuminated Audio and more on Laswell’s genius. The enigmatic producer’s work as Material and reinterpretations of Bob Marley, Miles Davis and Santana do more than stand the test of time. Increasingly, Laswell’s visionary work is being recognised for it’s ethereal beauty and architectural complexity, by producers, DJs and musicians – and rightly so.

The next Time Capsule by Bombay S Jayashri promises to be another reissue of sonic beauty and wonderment. More to follow soon on WTM, or check out the Time Capsule website for another biography of impeccable depth and interest.

The Lagos disco of the ‘Queen of Nigerian Television’: rare tracks by Julie Coker are reissued at last by Kalita Records

Kalita Records continue their label’s exceptional selection of fully authorised reissues – this time delivering the first collection of Julie Coker’s back catalogue on  A Life In The Limelight: Lagos Disco and Itsekiri Highlife.

Coker was the queen of Nigerian television, after gaining fame as Miss Western Nigeria in 1957. Her career began in the Nigerian entertainment industry as the country’s first ever (and Africa’s second) female television presenter, as well as a popular national radio host.

Chris Webb, of Kalita, explains: “In 1976, having been surrounded by close musical friends including Fela Kuti and Kris Okotie, Julie entered the Nigerian music scene with the now-invisible psychedelic highlife album Ere Yon (Sweet Songs), followed in 1981 by the highly sought-after disco-centric Tomorrow to great acclaim. Both now fetch eye-watering prices on the rare occasion that they become available for sale.

“Here we select four recordings from Ere Yon and three from Tomorrow, all as contemporary-sounding today as they were when first released 40 years ago.”

Anderson Paak recently sampled Ere Yon on his latest album Oxnard, released on Dr. Dre’s Aftermath imprint.

“In partnership with Julie, we now believe the time is right to share Julie’s phenomenal story and music with the world once more,” Chris adds.

As described, this is the first ever release celebrating the musical career of Julie Coker and includes extensive interview-based liner notes and never-before-seen photos.

London composer and pianist Alfa Mist releases his second album on the Sekito label to critical acclaim across the globe

Alfa Mist has followed up his debut album with his second LP, crowning a European tour and gaining acclaim from everyone from Frank Ocean to Gilles Peterson.

The gifted London-based pianist and composer’s latest album Structuralism is an eight-track LP and follows the success of Antiphon. It features guest vocals from Kaya Thomas-Dyke (also the album’s cover artist) and Jordan Rakei.

Rather humbly, for an artist of such revered artistic expression, Alfa says: “Communication is my natural enemy. I’ve never been great at articulating myself… I just think on things too much.”

“I have been affected by my environment. My upbringing has shaped me in a way where I do not know how to communicate. Structuralism is about me saying I am who I am because of my environment and society, but accepting that.”

The Newham artist only started playing piano at the age of 17, “I did a BTEC in music, in college, but I wasn’t allowed piano lessons because only the A-level students could get them for free… There are no music people in my family…I thought, ‘I’m gonna teach myself’.”

A decade on and Mist is now considered one of the most highly-regarded, new-wave players on the London jazz circuit. 

Structuralism is out now on the Sekito label and Alfa Mist is touring in the UK throughout May.

Afrodisia revive Christy Essien’s ‘Give Me A Chance’ LP and we are reminded of her majesty

Rumours by Christy Essien is one of the best disco songs ever produced, from one of the leading female recording artists of her time in Nigeria. This reissue of the Give Me A Chance album provides a glorious opportunity to own this classic crackle free.

Essien was born in Akwa Ibom State in 1960 and enjoyed an accomplished career as a musician and an actress – featuring in TV and some Hollywood films such as Flesh and Blood and Scars Of Womanhood, both of which addressed issues of child abuse and female circumcision. She is also credited as having initiated the first meeting that brought about the formation of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria in 1981. Essien was a multi-talented artist of exceptional quality and high moral standing, who aimed to improve the lives of others.

Among nine studio albums, across a number of labels, Essien’s fifth album Give Me A Chance was released in 1980 by Afrodisia, and is being officially reissued again by the prolific Nigerian label.

Christy died after a brief illness in 2011. Close to the time of her death, she was involved in numerous successful businesses, organisations and running the non-governmental organisation Essential Child Care Foundation involved in child welfare. Essien’s achievements and awards are numerous.