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.

 

World Treasures Music end of year review

Click here to listen to the World Treasures Music review mix.

A number of artists’ passing will make 2016 memorable. A champion of world treasures at the legendary New York venue, The Loft, was David Mancuso, who was mourned widely in the music world after his death aged 72. Sun Palace’s Rude Movements was remastered and released a month before the sad news and the UK duo feature in the 2016 review mix.

rip-david-mancuso-72There were numerous releases and reissues that could of made this review, some selections are based on themes that seemed to nuance the music of the year. Invisible City Editions released one of the standout reissues with V.O’s Mashisa – though the thirst for South African sounds was also generated by DJ Okapi’s compilation for Cultures Of Soul. DJ Okapi, the Mr. Bongo Soundsystem, Nick The Record and the Invisible City duo championed the sounds of South Africa worldwide in hugely appreciated sets. Benjamin Ball’s Flash A Flashlight was another top record.

Another vault of treasures were released under the ‘tropical’ tag. Sofrito, DJ Sotofett, Analog Africa, Don’t DJ and more labels and artists reissued and produced work that was defined in this guise. The compilation of the year was Digital Zandoli. Syn Ka’s LP was also a hugely well received reissue.

digital-zandoliThe biggest reissue in some respects was the Shadow LP, Sweet Sweet Dreams. The Pasteur Lappe and the Cape Verde compilations were some of the best offerings from Africa, along with Aleke’s grail.

shadow-beerAlso from Africa – PMG, Africa Seven and Soundway compiled huge collections of rare material. Kenya was a particular focus this year for its music. Afro7 released Kenyan gold too.

Electronic music is represented on the mix by Bedouin Records, DJ Nature and Mark Ernustus. The DJ Katerpillar story for Awesome Tapes From Africa is another highlight of the year. Mood Hut was a superbly produced label with esoteric sampling and a vibe.

Latin sounds are represented by Mr. Bongo and a beautiful Colombian reissue of rare gems.

Ambient tunes came via the latest collection on Light In The Attic and close this mix (tracklist below).

adele1) Adele Sebastian – Prayer For The People (PMG, 2016, Desert Fairy Princess LP reissue)

2) DJ Nature – Serengeti Run (Swat Records, 2016, 12”)

3) Pasteur Lappe – Mbale (Africa Seven, 2016, Pasteur Lappe compilation)

4) Yta Jourias – Adome Nyueto (Hot Casa, 2016, Togo Soul 70 compilation)

5) The Group NSI – Mande Moin On Lajan, Pa Mande Moin Za Fe An Moin (Hevenly Sweetness/Diggers Digest, 2016, Digital Zandoli compilation)

6) Sun Palace – Raw Movements (BBE, 2016, remastered and unreleased versions compilation)

7) Ahmed Fakroun – Soleil Soleil (PMG, 2016, Mots D’Amour LP reissue)

8) Odion Iruoje – Alhaja And Obiageri (Soundway, 2016, Down To Earth LP reissue)

9) Njoroge Benson – Nyniukia (Afro7 Records reissue 12”, 2016)

10) African Vibrations – Hinde (Soundway, 2016, Kenya Special Volume 2 compilation)

11) Francis Njoroge – Dai (Afro7 Records reissue 12”, 2016)

12) João Cirilo – Po D’Terra (Analog Africa, 2016, Space Echo – The Mystery Behind the Cosmic Sound of Cabo Verde Finally Revealed!)

13) Bitori – Cruz Di Pico (Analog Africa, 2016, Space Echo – Legend Of Funaná: The Forbidden Music of The Cape Verde Islands)

14) Claudio – Bonom Chinois (Strut, 2016, Soul Sok Sega compilation)

15) VO – Mashisa (dub mix) (Invisible City Editions, 2016, reissue Mashisa LP)

16) Formation Boyz – Jungle Anthem (Gqom Oh!, 2016, Gqom Oh! The Sound of Durban compilation)

17) DJ Katapila – Sakawa (Awesome Tapes From Africa, 2016, Tiroto LP reissue)

18) Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force – Jigeen (Ndagga, 2016, Yermande LP)

19) Steve Monite – Only You (dub mix) (Triassic Tusk Records, 2016 S/T compilation)

20) Blue Heron’s Tribute 2 PH – Hymn To A Whale Taker (Mood Hut, 2016, Disco Mantras Vol. 1)

21) Kinetic Electronix – Low Moves (Mood Hut, 2016, Music For Beings 2x 12”)

22) DJ Nature – LF (mix 1) (Swat Records, 2016, 12”)

23) Shadow – D’Hardest (Analog Africa, 2016, Sweet Sweet Dreams LP reissue)

24) John Heckle – Alexandria (Bedouin Records, 2016, Tributes To A Sun God12”)

25) Hieroglyphic Being – The Papyrus of Ani (Bedouin Records, 2016, The 42 Laws Of Maat 12”)

26) Banda Black Rio – Mr. Funky Samba (Mr Bongo Brazil7 series, 2016, 7”)

27) Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus – Yoyo (Lion’s Gate Records, 2016, Promised Land Sounds – Rockin’ Live Ruff N Tuff LP reissue)

28) Ras Michael & The Sons Of Negus– Boom A Ya (Lion’s Gate Records, 2016, Promised Land Sounds – Rockin’ Live Ruff N Tuff LP reissue)

29) Nilamaye – El Nazareno (Bongo Joe, 2016, Las Flore Del Sol LP)

30) Suzanne Doucet & Christian Buehner – Shivas Dance (Light In The Attic, 2016, The Microcosm: Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 compilation)

31) Deuter – Spirales (Light In The Attic, 2016, The Microcosm: Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 compilation)