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.

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.

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.

Aura’s African boogie funk: the ‘Spiritual Connection’ grail LP is finally reissued by Afrodesia

Ignore this reissue at your peril – as Aura are on fire on their album Spiritual Connection, originally recorded for Afrodesia in Nigeria.

The relatively short lived ‘Aura’ project was spiritually guided by Zee-Tei Debekeme in 1976. The band consisted of the keys of Issac Moore, Omega Garbal on guitar, Casco Mayor on percussion, Afrodisia regular Benna Kemfa (who also was in Ofo Black Company), and Candido Obajimi (Afrika 70 and Tony Allen) provided vocals, beats and drums.

Back in 1976 the LP never received a full release and this repress comes from the only known copy in existence from the Afrodisia masters vault.It’s insane to think that this is only getting its full release 32 years later.

The album itself is a melting pot of African 1970s, dirty funk, wailing synthesisers and chanting, as if it were a live jam throughout.

Aura (Spiritual Emanation) – Spiritual Connection is out now.

Kingsley Bucknor reissue ‘Just U And Me’ finishes year in style for Left Ear Records

This one has been on heavy rotation – Kingsley Bucknor’s Just U and Me LP, from Nigeria, in 1985.

The Aussie label moves further afield and has has selected this trippy electro-funk and boogie fusion to finish 2017. After playing with Fela Kuti in the 1970s and releasing two afrobeat LP’s, Kingsley travelled the globe. In London he laid down six distinctive electro-funk tunes inspired by music he’d heard in the States and Europe and was originally released on Kingsley’s own KAB records.

Honest Jon’s newest talent is Obadikah

Fantastic new release on Honest Jon’s Records – the Obadikah brass band from Lagos, Nigeria. From what I can gather. Obadikah were previously known as Awamaridi Brass Band and the video shows them performing in 2014.

Obadikah is a group of old friends who play together in the Baptist churches of the Ikeja and Isale Eko districts. Some of the group are founder-members of the Eko Brass Band. They play mostly traditional Yoruban melodies.

obadikahMore at Honest Jon’s.