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RetroAfric Records
PO Box 26072,
London SW10 0YA

African music re-issue label

Music publishers, especially and particularly of popular dance music from Ghana, Congo (Zaire), Tanzania, Kenya etc. Sub-licenses available for Movie, TV, Advertising, CD compilations and other media.

Photo library of label artistes, and hundreds of other African musicians.

Also available: Research, editorial, public relations and print publishing services; recording and music publishing collaborations; global contacts for touring, promotion; educational resources.







The RetroAfric collection

As time passes faster with the spinning of each new disc, the musical treasures of Africa disappear further into the mists of cultural memory. RetroAfric continues to comb the continent for forgotten masterpieces by Africa's pioneer artists and showmen. Our time span stretches from the 1940s to the present day and 'retroactivity' is guaranteed. In time all becomes Retro.

Company History
Established 1986,London, UK

The RetroAfric partnership began as much as a rescue mission for some of Africa's finest and long-forgotten music as a business venture. The three partners are Ronnie Graham, historian, author and development worker; Graeme Ewens, journalist and author, and Charles Easmon, writer, arts administrator and African music business all-rounder.

At the time we were each writing about African music for a variety of publications and were being stimulated by the surge of new African music. Fortuitously, some great vintage material came into our hands which included 1950s songs by ET Mensah and Franco & OK Jazz; arguably the most crucial figures in the history of Highlife and Congo Rumba, respectively. These recordings were recognised as essential items from the formative years of African popular dance music, which had not been heard during the intervening 30 years. As enthusiasts for the new music, we each also had an affection for the earlier pan-African sounds which underpinned the contemporary music of the 1980s and we believed it would be a valuable contribution to the appreciation of African music to re-issue these classic works. We were fortunate in that one of the partners had a connection to Mensah; another to Franco.

The first ET Mensah compilation, All For You (RETRO1LP) was released on vinyl in 1986 and ET was enticed out of retirement to play a comeback concert in London. This was followed in 1987 by the Franco & OK Jazz release, Originalite(RETRO2LP). Franco was enthusiastic about releasing the original OK Jazz recordings on RetroAfric and entered into the spirit with his subsequent album which began with the cry 'Retro Non-Stop'. These first two vinyl releases have since been remastered and augmented by extra tracks to bring them up to CD length. The second Mensah release, Day by Day (RETRO3CD) was the first CD release on the label and since then all releases have been available in CD format only.

Inspired by the response to these early releases, RetroAfric dug deeper into some rare African grooves and unearthed more classic material which has moved generations in Africa - the original 'Land of a Thousand Dances'. Concentrating on popular hits of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the emphasis is on dance, romance and ambience, generated by artists whose influence was truly pan-African, reaching far beyond national boundaries, often to Europe and America.

RetroAfric was always intended to be a MID-PRICE label with CDs currently retailing in UK at £10 + VAT, although shop price is at the retailers' discretion and some obviously believe our products are good enough to be sold at a slight premium. We often work in collaboration with the National Sound Archive, part of the British Library, London, which makes a copy of all the tracks for their International Music Collection. They cannot market the material but it is available for private listening, and it is catalogued in this definitive archive. The Archive also has several tracks available for private listening which we were unable to fit on to CD releases.

RetroAfric international distributors

  • France: Socadisc, Germany: Rough Trade,
  • Benelux: Munich
  • Switzerland: recurred
  • Italy: RID
  • Scandinavia: Bonnier
  • Australia: Fuse
  • New Zealand: Southbound
  • Canada: EEG
  • USA: Sterns US
  • USA (retail): Dusty Grooves

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