Possibly the best thing a compilation can do is open the door to a world of music that aside from being unknown to you, is high grade in quality, diverse and open to interpretation in as much as you are left with some if not many questions… particularly when the selected tracks are all from the same record label… When did they start? Why did they start? Who was behind it? Where did the artists come from? What was their inspiration? These are only a few… by the time you get to the end of the eight tracks included on ‘Jicco Funk Volume One’ there may be more. Some background or at least as much as we know: in the early 1970s thru to the ’90s, Onitcha was one of Nigeria’s most important cities sat on the banks of the river Niger about half way between Benin City and Enugu. Aside from the commerce Onitcha was also an important centre for music production, live music thrived and in turn the city had a nightlife which embraced music. It’s where labels like Tabansi and many other smaller companies had their headquarters. It’s where in the late ’60s, the label Jicco was established, an enterprise which would commercialize Kenyan and Congolese music in Nigeria. By the mid to late ’70s Jicco opened itself to new projects, launching a number of sub-labels, from Vox Africa to Guy, more specialized in highlife, native and soukous music to Jicco Funk which was producing small local groups playing reggae, rock and funk. Dig This Way realised they had found something special after discovering the first few releases on Jicco Funk. It’s less about a particular style of music and more about a raw emotive production quality that runs through each of the records. There is a mood and feel to the delivery that expresses a consciousness that’s rooted in a deep soul. The origins of which with hindsight would be near impossible to determine. It’s known that many of the records were produced at the same studio. There are a number of musicians who appear on more than one record. Following an extended period collecting music from the label including a number of months in Nigeria trying to trace family and friends of former band members including the Jicco family, Dig This Way decided to produce a compilation highlighting some of the near unknown music released by Jicco Funk. On the first volume in the series the focus is reggae and funk, particularly the intersection where the two genres converge as a hybrid production that at times is neither one nor the other. Limited to 500 copies.
Dig This Way Records and Sleeve Records have combined forces for this one, to make the impossibile, possible: a reissue of Dibson & Essody’s ‘Justice’. Originally recorded in ’82 and stamped on the distinguished Nigerian label Wilfilms, this extremely rare, revelation of music was meant for sharing and the two labels will be doing just that. Reworked and remastered, this 7 track dance floor masterpiece is coming to a turntable near you. Following the 1960 Nigerian liberation from Western colonization, Nigeria began to use music to vibrate everyone into a place of harmony and community. The majority of pressings that came out from within the Nigerian state paired disco, funk infused beats with strong, political lyrical statements. In this release from Dibson & Essody, the political undertones of ‘Justice’ blended with the smoldering grooves of ‘Music Lovers’ and ‘Let Your Body Move’ classify this disco under the monumental must-haves of Nigeria from the early 1980s. The audio is taken from two copies of the original LP and restored by Davide Bassi at Press Rewind Studio in Italy.