The English label Mr Bongo has got hold of a highly coveted South African musical gem, Stimela’s EP Rewind.
Whether it be MPB, English rock, afro-latino music, US rap or, of course, African music, Mr Bongo has made its mission since 1989 to explore music’s past and present without filters. The British label has announced the reedition of Rewind, a four-track EP which encapsulates Stimela’s fusion style and draws on the Mbaquanga, a Zulu musical tradition that emerged in the South African countryside during the early 1960s. Released in 1986, this record reminiscent of the Balearic Islands will be rereleased for the first time outside of Africa, five years after Ray Phiri’s passing. The band’s leader, guitar player, singer, songwriter, producer and arranger, Ray was also a founding member of the Cannibals. When the group disbanded in 1970, he went on to form Stimela and released a series of gold and platinum albums which forged his reputation in the African music industry. His success became worldwide, and in 1986, the musician partnered with the legendary Paul Simon (from Simon & Garfunkel) in his album Graceland.
Already available, the title “I Love You” is a delightful instrumental and cinematic track that sits somewhere between new wave and boogie from the early 80s. The EP opens up with “I Hate Telling a Lie”, a title halfway between afro-jazz soul and sensual pop music. Also of note is the track “Where Did We Go Wrong” with its gospel influences and the hypnotic groove of “Shaka Doo Ba”, two tracks which make Rewind a one-of-a-kind record in the vast African repertoire; a must-have for any self-respecting digger.
Rewind out July 8th via Mr Bongo