Mr Bongo interview: ‘Sound Of Burkina Faso’ and ‘Record Club Two’ compilation spotlight

World Treasures Music spoke to Graham Luckhurst and Gareth Stephens of Mr Bongo. It’s an encounter that WTM has been trying to arrange for months! Such is the workload of such esteemed and world renowned diggers, while also running a prolific label and expertly curated shop (based in Brighton, UK).

Graham and Gareth co-compiled the most recent Mr Bongo Record Club: Volume Two compilation. The label has lots of new stuff out right now and there’s always more in the pipeline with this legendary label. They’re a tight crew who have been in it from the beginning.
WTM – How have your nights/mix series been going? Anything coming up?

We’ve been spinning a LOT this year – all over Europe, which has been amazing. Just got back from an event at Rappcats in LA with Egon (Now Again) and a lot of the West Coast peeps, where we celebrated the India reissue and sold records for two days. We’re running co-promoted events with Jazz Cafe and Patterns in Brighton and intend to do a lot more of those next year. Our two-hour Solid Steel mix will drop very soon. The Mr Bongo Edits series is also nearing completion.


WTM – How does the Record Club compilation come about?

It came about from our radio show of the same name, where we play completely across the board – music we love from our own collections. We’ve had guests including Nick The Record, Leon Vynehall, DJ Okapi, Jameszoo and Django Django, among others.

‘Mr Bongo Record Club: Volume Two’ features music on heavy rotation at Mr Bongo HQ.

WTM – What have been the major finds of recent months?

The private press album by Arthur called Joy  – a find by Mark GV Taylor – has been causing a bit of a stir. The track So Close To You is incredible. Also, J. B. De Carvalho ‎E Seu Terriero has been getting spun a lot since Dave picked it up in Brazil.

WTM – What next for the label?

We have a Solid Steel mix dropping very soon which should turn some heads… Mr Bongo Record Club Volume Three of course! A new Ebo Taylor record in March next year. Burner & Cartier reissue, Ebo Taylor & The Pelikans reissue and Luis Perez mystical 80’s electronic psyche LP from Mexico. More 45’s.WTM – Who have been your artists of the year?

‘The Original Sound Of Burkina Faso’ is a double vinyl compilation and is out now.

Vels Trio, Gaby Hernandez, Maria Rita, Candeias, Tenderlonious/Ruby Ruston and the whole UK jazz scene has been on fire. Also Brighton band Squid are one to watch for sure. Dave was very inspired by the work in compiling The Original Sound Of Burkina Faso and The Original Sound Of Mali compilations, where he discovered tons of new music.

WTM – How is your time managed between the shop, label and discovering?

Ha! There are a few of us here and we make it work nicely. David, Gary and Gareth do the bulk of the digging and travelling and the rest of the dudes run things from Brighton HQ.

A Mr Bongo promo leaflet for the shop from 1990.

WTM – Which LPs have you been proudest about reissuing?

Arthur Verocai, Pedro Santos’ Krishnanda and Gal Costa’s India were very special.


Listen to Mr Bongo Record Club mixes and more at Mr Bongo’s Mixcloud stream.

 

Reissued trio shows musical mastery of Brazil’s Erasmo Carlos on Light In The Attic

Light In The Attic have reissued three classic LPs of Brazilian legend Erasmo Carlos. All of the usual quality research and excellent archive photos have been included, plus the pressings sound joyously good.

His collaborations with singer Roberto Carlos are some of the most commercially successful compositions in Brazil. These LPs display another side to this legendary singer and songwriter.

Erasmo Carlos E Tremendões includes a Caetano Veloso song Saudosismo in the Tropicália style, an Antônio Adolfo art-pop song Teletema and Ary Barroso song Aquarela Do Brasil. It’s a mixed bag that gets better listen after listen.

The volatile and violent political atmosphere and subsequent music that veiled criticism of the oppressive government led to artists being arrested and repressed. Veloso and Gilberto Gil were still in exile at the start of the 1970s, Rita Lee had quit Os Mutantes and Gal Costa was into a new style also. It meant that Erasmo’s 1971 album was the closest thing to Tropicália at the time.

Erasmo signed to Polydor where his sound also inspired by hippie culture, acid rock and soul music found a home. Carlos, ERASMO . . . features arrangements by Rogério Duprat and three players from Mutants: lead guitarist Sergio Dias, drummer Dinho Leme and bassist Liminha, as well as renowned psychedelic guitarist, Alexander Gordin, aka “Lanny”.  It was co-produced by the Tropicália producer, Manoel Barenbein.

Sonhos E Memórias (1941-1972) features keyboardist José Roberto Bertrami, drummer Ivan Conti, aka “Mamão” and bassist Alex Malheiros – this trio became Azimuth. The LP features a wide range of styles such as bossa nova, rock and soul, but the album remains a cohesive whole and is highly autobiographical with emotive ballads.

This is a fantastic collection of previously overlooked work, not by high end collectors though – and with the exception of the Polysom pressing of Carlos, ERASMO in 2003 – you would have to dig deep in Brazil or your pocket to own them on vinyl otherwise.  

Here’s a World Treasures mix of choice cuts from the three albums: