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newsletters from the recent past


RetroAfric on the road

Bi Kidude with Papa Wemba & Salome at Womad 1995

RetroAfric has been steadily building up a repertoire of masterpiece recordings by major figures in African music history, but 1995 saw a new development when the label went live. Shikamoo Jazz, the Tanzanian veterans band, with 300 years musical experience, made a great impression on their debut UK tour. With a line-up that contained the East African music legends Fundi Konde (Kenya) Bi Kidude (Zanzibar) and Mose Se Fan Fan (Zaire), they provided classic big band action. Highlights were knockout shows at Viva Africa! in Wales, Band on the Wall, Manchester, Astoria2 London and an energising three-hour set at Womad. They also recorded a session for Andy Kershaw's BBC Radio 1 show and several World Service broadcasts.

Shikamoo are due to tour Continental Europe in June. Shows are provisionally scheduled in Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Denmark, Belgium and England. Meanwhile Chela Chela Vol.1 (RETRO9CD) has been re-mastered. It now contains eight tracks, as originally planned. Also available are Fundi Konde's collection of 1940s Swahili classics, Retrospective Vol.1 (RETRO8CD) and Fan Fan's Belle Epoque (RETRO7CD) which returns to the roots of this established soukous star.


Original ambience

Film and television production companies, advertising agencies and multimedia publishers have not been slow to pick up on the emotive potential of 'retro' music, whether to enforce an historical point or recreate the ambience of a time when life was sweeter.

RetroAfric Music Publishing have recently licensed tracks by E.T. Mensah for use on The People's Century (BBC1) and African Rock and Roll Years (BBC2). ET's All For You, has also been heard on a French TV commercial for Oasis soft drink. This follows previous usage for Courvoisier brandy and a clip on the Microsoft Encarta CD-ROM. Shikamoo Jazz and Fundi Konde have provided musical accompaniment to the Lonely Planet travel guide to Tanzania and Zanzibar (Channel 4).



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