Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Heliocentrics meet Orlando Julius

Nigerian saxophone legend Orlando Julius’ collaboration with versatile UK psych-jazz combo The Heliocentrics – who have previously worked with Mulatu Astatke and Lloyd Miller – is one of the most adventurous Afrobeat projects to come along in a while. The fully collaborative album Jaiyede Afro (Strut) finds Orlando Julius reaching back to his funky roots, revisiting a few early compositions and creatively repurposing James Brown's In The Middle with hard-pounding beats provided by Malcolm Catto.  The Jaiyede Afro album, set for release September 8, can be pre-ordered now on iTunes. Check out the track “Buje Buje” below followed by the entire Super Afro Soul album which Orlando Julius cut with his Modern Aces group back in 1966 and Strut reissued in 2000.

Orlando Julius discusses the origins of the song Buje Buje
“My parents used to tell us stories, folk tales and there were a lot of different stories involving tortoises – they often made tortoises sound like human beings. There was one about a tortoise who had a farm and I always thought, ‘how could a tortoise have a farm?!’ This tortoise is working on his farm and a pretty lady is passing by. So, he cuts his foot with his cutlass and pretends that he is injured so that he can get her attention. The lady comes over and tries to help him and he says, ‘I can’t work with this cut. Could I climb on your back to go to get help?’ She agrees, he climbs on her back and she starts to walk. He says, ‘I’m too far up, could you push me further down your back?’ Finally, the lady realises that he is up to no good, she is very unhappy and tells him to find his own way. Once she has left, the tortoise continues to play this trick on other women.

“I made the story into a song and brought human nature into it – good people and bad people. The song teaches us not to copy something that is bad, fake or deceptive.”

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