Mr.Bongo

The Star Beams “Play Disco Specials” (Mr. Bongo)

2020-03-13T20:34:15+00:00February 20th, 2020|

The Star Beams album is a bit of an enigma. When we first came across their epic dance-floor monster ’Disco Stomp’ it was on a Disco Calypso compilation, so we assumed it originated from the Caribbean. Years later we worked out how wrong we were and that this nugget was actually from South Africa and taken off an ultra scarce album on JAS Pride records from 1976. The next problem was tracking down an original copy and we don’t think we’ve ever seen our Bongo team member Gary Johnson as happy as the day he turned up clutching a copy under his arm.

‘Play Disco Specials’ was produced by Ray Nkwe who also worked with Mankunku Quartet and The Soul Jazzmen, with all writing credits on the album going to Ray, the recording credited to engineer Robin Ritchie and the artwork to Carol Knowles. Other than this, the personnel of the record remains a mystery, but sometimes a bit of mystery is a good thing. Aside from the disco-jazz-funk of ’Disco Stomp’, which has found it’s way into the DJ sets of Theo Parrish, ’Play Disco Specials’ will appeal to fans of The Star Beams South African contemporaries The Drive, Batsumi and Pacific Express.

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Shina Williams & His African Percussionists “Shina Williams” (Mr. Bongo)

2020-03-13T20:34:16+00:00February 20th, 2020|

First official reissue of hidden-gem album by Lagos-based bandleader Shina Williams.

Shina Williams ‘Agboju Logun’ was a ground-breaking fusion of afrobeat, electronics, boogie and disco. First released on Phonodisk in 1979 as part of the ‘African Dances’ album, then in 1984 as an alternative version on Rough Trade’s Earthwork off-shoot, it has gone on to attain cult-like status.

So it remains a bit of a mystery how so little has been documented about the follow-up. Shina’s self-titled album was originally released on Help Records in 1980. It differs from the upfront afro-disco-funk of ‘African Dances’ as it diverts into deeper, hypnotic, afro-beat territory. Though listed as a six-track album, each side (composing of 3 tracks) is built-upon one continuous groove with call and response female & male vocals and instrumental solos coming and going as each side progresses. The results are raw, hypnotic, locked-in grooves, which sit perfectly on forward-thinking contemporary dancefloors.

Official Mr Bongo reissue. Replica original artwork. LP only. Licensed from the family of Shina Wiliams.

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Marumo “Modiehi” (Mr. Bongo)

2020-03-13T20:34:35+00:00February 20th, 2020|

We were first introduced to Marumo’s ‘Modish’ album via DJ Okapi’s amazing resource the ‘Afrosynth’ blog, which archives South African bubblegum/disco from the 80s & early 90s. Aside from this blog, this music would otherwise remained unknown outside of South Africa, apart from the most hardcore of
digger and record collector.

‘Modish’ was originally released on Spades Record in 1982 and was recorded by producer West Nkosi, who was a member of supergroup ‘Mahlathini & The Mahotella Queens’. He worked with the big hitters in South African music such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Teaspoon & The Waves, Patience Africa and many more. Marumo were made up of a group of musicians from the Athlone School for the blind in Bellville, close to Cape Town. The band members, John Mothopeng, Munich Sibiya, Simon Falatsi and Marks Mbuthuma, had previously played in the groups Batsumi, All Rounders and The Orations and came together to record this versatile album. It covers a wide number of genres from Sotho soul, Mbaqanga, disco-funk, gospel & spacey-synth slow jams.

Flash forward 30 or so years later and lost dead-stock copies of the album start to appear and Marumo’s music begins to be heard across the world in the DJ sets of Motor City Drum Ensemble, Invisible City Editions, Floating Points, DJ Okapi and others.

We included the afro-disco-funk beauty of ’Khomo Tsaka Deile Kae?’ on our Mr Bongo Record Club Volume Three compilation, but felt ‘Modish’ needed to be available and heard in it’s entirety. We hope you enjoy!

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Marcos Valle “Braziliance” (Mr. Bongo)

2020-01-09T21:49:57+00:00January 9th, 2020|

To call Marcos Valle ‘a legend’ of Brazilian music is much more than just easy press-release hype. As singer, writer, musician and record producer, Marcos has played an integral role shaping the sound of the country’s music from the ‘golden era’ of the 60s and 70s, through to the modern day. Alongside his brother, Paulo Sergio Valle, they have penned a huge catalogue of classic songs, not just for themselves but for other greats such as Elza Soares, Astrud Gilberto, Claudia to name a few.

‘Braziliance!’ takes things back to the early heady days of Marcos’ career with the bright and optimistic sound of Rio’s Bossa Nova scene. It includes an instrumental version of ’Crickets Sing For Anamaria’ or ’Os Grilos’ in Portuguese, which would also be re-recorded with vocals. Though only in his early twenties at the time, ‘Braziliance!’ depicts very sophisticated production for a musician so young. Recorded in 1966, produced by Louis Oliveira and Ray Gilberts with arrangements by the very talented Emir Deodato, the album was released on Warner Bros. Records. The artwork presents a very clean-cut, wholesome looking Marcos but darker things were around the corner for Brazil. The ‘Tropicalica’ movement was on its way and about to shake thighs up both musically and politically. Unlike some of his Bossa Nova contemporaries, Marcos continued to stay relevant, surfing the changes and adapting to the musical developments that culture and society projected and needed, without comprising his art.

Under exclusive license to Light In The Attic Records & Distribution, LLC | Mr Bongo Records.

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Os Novos Bahianos “É Ferro Na Boneca!” (Mr. Bongo)

2019-08-30T02:44:26+00:00August 30th, 2019|

Originally released by RGE in 1970 in Brazil, ‘É Ferro Na Boneca!’ features 13 songs composed by Luiz Galvão and Moraes Moreira. This record shows the roots of the group, moving through psychedelics, edgey pop, rock and Tropicália.

After writing ‘É Ferro Na Boneca!’ their music began to move towards MPB due to the influence of João Gilberto, who began working with the group. In 1972 they released their incredible ‘Acabou Chorare’ LP, which came top of Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Brazilian Records (published in 2007).

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Kit Sebastian “Mantra Moderne” (Mr. Bongo)

2019-07-05T03:20:40+00:00July 5th, 2019|

‘Mantra Moderne’ is a stunning, contemporary masterpiece that fuses Anatolian Psychedelia, Brazilian Tropicalia, 60’s European pop and American jazz. A must for fans of Khruangbin, Portishead, Arthur Verocai, Goat, Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé, Os Mutantes, Cortex and co.

The duo is formed of Kit Martin, who lives between London and France and plays all instruments on the album, and Merve Erdem, vocalist and multi-disciplinary artist from Istanbul, now based in London. This is their debut album.

The album explores universal themes such as love, loss, decay, language and ideology, mixing three different languages: English, Turkish and French. Written and recorded by the duo – Kit composed all the songs and Merve wrote the lyrics – in rural France during 2018, each song was completed within a 12-hour window, pawning contemplation for spontaneity.

Dubbed by Kit and Merve as ‘lo-fi-hi-fi’ in reference to the high-end tube equipment that helped it find its way to 8-track cassette tape. The style owes its sound to narrow tape width, valve distortion, spring reverb, the mixture of high end gear with lo-fi equipment as well as a disregard to the norms of hi-fi studio techniques. All instruments were analogue and no samples were used. The instruments that are used range from tablas to darbukas, balalaikas to ouds, MS20 synths to Farfisa organs and a lot of cuica. The mixing techniques were done on-the-fly, tracking immediately to tape: compression, EQ, delay and reverb; meaning mixing could not be revisited!

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Minoru Muraoka “Bamboo” (Mr. Bongo)

2019-07-05T03:20:40+00:00July 5th, 2019|

Japanese jazz/breakbeat, folkloric mega-rarity as hallowed the likes of DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist, Egon and co. Uniquely combines traditional Japanese instrumentation with Western jazz influences.

Minoru Muraoka plays ‘shakuhachi’ – a traditional bamboo Japanese flute – joined by his band members accompanying him on the ‘koto’ (strings) and ‘tsutsumi’ (drum) amongst others, to create their ‘Shakuhachi Jazz’ sound.

Includes cover versions of very well-known jazz & pop classics, coupled with two original songs.

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Trio Mocotó “Trio Mocotó” (Mr. Bongo)

2019-07-05T03:20:40+00:00July 5th, 2019|

Luiz Carlos Fritz (Fritz Escovão), João Parahyba and Nereu Gargalo aka Trio Mocotó are most well-known as Jorge Ben Jr.’s backing band. They played on several seminal Jorge Ben LP’s – his self-titled from 1969, Força Bruta in 1970 and Negro É Lindo in 1971.

Trio Mocotó were also key players in the development of the ’samba rock’ sound – a fusion of samba, soul and rock influenced by music from the USA.

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Akira Ishikawa “Back To Rhythm” (Mr. Bongo)

2019-07-05T03:20:40+00:00July 5th, 2019|

’Back To Rhythm’ was the final recording in Ishikawa’s African-influenced period. He cut this record with his band ‘Count Buffalos’, featuring Kiyoshi Sugimoto, Takeru Muraoka, Larry Sunaga and arranger Hiromasa Suzuki. Includes excellent cover versions of The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, BT Express, Stevie Wonder, Average White Band, Incredible Bongo Band and Fela Kuti.

Originally released in Japan in 1975 by Columbia, this is now extremely difficult to find in its original format, and very pricey indeed!

Official Mr Bongo reissue. Licensed from Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd.

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Azymuth “Águia Não Come Mosca” (Mr. Bongo)

2019-07-05T03:20:39+00:00July 5th, 2019|

Golden-era, 1977, Brazilian jazz-funk-fusion album from the legendary, Azymuth.

Lush Rhodes, soaring synths and fusion guitars from Malheiros and Bertrami combine with the inimitable drum grooves from Ivan “Mamao” Conti that create the signature Azymuth sound.

The album moves from mellow soulful moods, into screaming disco-jazzfusion, samba funk, synth boogie and ends with a tough 160bpm Batucada workout.

This is actually the first Azymuth album that we have released on Mr Bongo, which came as a surprise to us too.

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Tom Ze “Estudando O Samba” (Mr. Bongo)

2019-05-24T20:05:31+00:00May 24th, 2019|

One of Ze’s finest albums in our opinion, originally released by Continental Brazil in 1976 – a tough one to find at a good price in its original form now.

‘Estudando do Samba’ (or ‘Studying The Samba’) is a post-Tropicalia studio experimentation laiden with layers of hypnotic percussion, effects & samples that deconstructs the ‘samba’ form. Recorded during what was arguably his most creative period.

David Byrne found the record in Rio in the late 90’s and included several songs on his Tom Ze collection for Luaka Bop a few years later. At that time Tom was not recording or touring much; playing low-key shows in Sao Paulo and contemplating a move back to Irará to work at a service station owned by one of his cousins. Byrne’s project helped to reignite his career and he hasn’t looked back since.

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Gyedu-Blay Ambolley “Ambolley” (Mr. Bongo)

2019-05-24T20:05:30+00:00May 24th, 2019|

Extremely hard-to-obtain LP from the Ghanaian master composer, producer and musician. Originally released in 1982 by the WEA International label and then again in Germany in 1985 by Ambolley himself; this is one of his finest albums in our opinion.

’Ambolley’ fuses Highlife, disco and boogie sonics perfectly and features the anthemic club cut, ‘Highlife’, that we have spinning for a while – always does the job! Gyedu Blay Ambolley is still actively touring today, keeping these vibes alive – he will be touring Europe throughout 2019.

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Spaceark “Spaceark” (Mr. Bongo)

2019-03-22T03:33:50+00:00March 22nd, 2019|

This is the super-rare debut album from SpaceArk, a band of brothers on an interstellar voyage to discover “electrifying new sounds”.

It’s another one of those private press treasures – a dynamic group of talents seizing the moment and making magic in an astounding 12-hour turnaround at the legendary Sunset Sound studios.

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Ronald Mesquita “Bresil 72” (Mr. Bongo)

2019-03-22T03:33:50+00:00March 22nd, 2019|

Classic Brazilian album from master drummer, Ronald Mesquita, originally released in 1972. Featuring songs by Jorge Ben, Antonio Carlos-Jobim, Gilberto Gil, Edu Lobo and others.

Mesquita is probably most well-known for playing with Luis Carlos Vinhas and his ‘Bossa Tres’ outfit, along with his own group, ‘Ronie E A Central Do Brasil’, that he formed after his return from the US in the early 1970s. He also played on several songs on Tenorio Jr.’s ‘Embalo’ album that Mr Bongo recently reissued.

The killer track ‘Balanca Pema’ was very big in the Jazz Dance scene in the 90s and also featured on the Mojo compilation ‘Dancefloor Jazz Volume Four’.

Madlib sampled ‘Balanca Pema’ on his Medicine Show Number 2 ‘Flight to Brazil’.

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Cesar Mariano & Cia. “São Paulo Brasil” (Mr. Bongo)

2019-01-10T22:07:47+00:00January 10th, 2019|

Cesar Camargo Mariano is a celebrated Brazilian jazz pianist, composer and producer, born in Sao Paulo in the 1940’s. He has played and worked with the likes of Elis Regina (to whom he was married at one point), Som Tres and Sambalanco Trio and still plays very regularly today.

‘Sao Paulo Brasil’ saw Mariano and co. step deep into jazz funk/fusion territory – and nail it. Tight, tough drum grooves, intricate arrangements, layers of synthesisers, percussion and FX transport and tell a story from the first beat.

 

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