J.P. Bimini and The Blackbelts will perform debut album ‘Free Me’ at Ronnie Scott’s Halloween spectacular tonight

Burundian-born J.P. Bimeni has a voice like Otis Redding and is celebrating the release of his debut album Free Me on Tucxone Records. A descendant of the Burundian royal family, Bimeni fled his country aged 15 during the 1993 civil war. His story is unique – three attempts were made on his life. At school he watched his schoolmates being murdered, he was chased by motorcycle militia-men and poisoned by doctors in hospital. Finally, he fled to the UK after being given refugee status.

Free Me is out now and details of his gig, at Ronnie Scott’s, are pictured below on the flier.

For Bimeni, music is a way to survive: “You can’t entertain the pain of your problems all the time – you have to put them away and let something else fill the space where it’s just been pain, worry and terror,” he says. “It’s my dream to return to Burundi one day – but I always remember that getting shot enabled me to meet the world.”

Free Me is out now and is on Tucxone Records.

Do not miss: World Circuit provide welcome reissue from Cuban maestro Rubén González

Rubén González Fontanills recorded this LP – Introducing…Rubén González – in two days following the completion of the seminal Buena Vista Social Club album in 1997. The Buena Vista pianist uses the same techniques that gave the group’s album that remarkable sound, as well as selected musicians from the project.

When the Cuban pianist recorded his first solo album in Havana in 1996 he was 77-years-old. When World Circuit released the album the following year, along with the Buena Vista Social Club’s Grammy-winning LP and the Grammy-nominated Afro Cuban All Stars (with Rubén playing on both) it led to a late flourishing of the musical careers of those involved and a focus on the country’s music. Rubén passed in 2003, his status as a legend of music finally assured.

The reissue coincides with a world-wide summer theatre release of  Buena Vista Social Club: Adios, a feature length documentary. Rubén’s story is featured extensively. He was invited out of retirement by Ry Cooder in 1996 following his heyday in 1940s and 1950s Cuba.

Highlights on Introducing…Rubén González include the jazz dancers Cumbanchero and bonus album track Descarga Rubén Y Cachaíto, although the beauty of Rubén’s playing and the calibre of his fellow musician’s is explicit throughout.

For more information go to World Circuit.