UPR!SE is a blog dedicated to The Shrine's Patron Saint and inspiration, Fela Anikulpo Kuti.

The blog focuses on music, fashion, art, design, politics and culture. It is a celebration of trailblazing souls who rise up without compromise.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


You may have your political opinions, but there is no doubt the nation of Brazil is on the big come up! Samba, soccer, beaches and world economic domination?! (Brazil is poised to jump England and France as the world's fifth largest economy.) As a former seven year resident of Rio de Janeiro, I really hope they can rise to the occasion and finally bring education to the masses as well as narrow the enormous gap between the rich and poor.


Swoon, has teamed with Upper Playground, to release the limited edition Walki print - 100% of the proceeds from the print will go towards support of The Konbit Shelter Project. Konbit Shelter is a rebuilding initiative, which uses dome-style structures and the super-adobe technique of earth bag architecture to create sustainable, inexpensive and dependable housing for the people of Haiti.

The general public don’t always have the time and resources to do incredible things like this on our own, so we it’s important to support those who take it upon themselves to do what we can not – which is the idea behind the sale of Swoon’s Walki print. The print is made of a three-layer screenprint on handmade Indian jute paper measuring 13″ x 21″ and is limited at an edition of 300 – all proceeds from the sale will go towards support of the Konbit Shelter Project.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We're always keeping up with the cool cats at Sofrito to expose us to some of the hottest and heaviest Afro-Latin rhythms. Recently, we've been featuring their massive super singles, "Benin City Grooves" and "Soweto Disco EP" on our Chi-town DJ sets. Due out in 2011 is "Sofrito: Tropical Discotheques" release on Strut. Since we haven't been able to give it a spin yet we're taking the information directly from them. Keep an eye and ear out for this. It should be essential listening.

Strut present the debut compilation by one of the UK’s leading Afro, Caribbean and Latin music party collectives, SOFRITO. Comprising DJs Hugo Mendez and Frankie Francis alongside The Mighty Crime Minister, Sofrito has consistently combined the serious vinyl hunter’s ear for amazing records with a stylish, accessible approach, rocking dancefloors worldwide since their inception in 2007. From their legendary Tropical Warehouse parties in East London to the clubs and bars of Brooklyn, from beach parties in Greece to festivals and clubs across Europe including WOMAD and the Big Chill, Sofrito has now become a worldwide proposition. The club has also attracted a string of A-list guests for live performances including Manu Dibango, Poets Of Rhythm, Souljazz Orchestra and Quantic.

The club’s graphics by artist Lewis Heriz have become an important a part of its identity, with each event accompanied by unique hand-drawn poster art, each now a collector’s piece in its own right. And, running alongside their events, their Sofrito Specials 12” imprint has made available exclusive edits of impossible-to-find rarities. Their ‘African Soul Power’ edit was picked by Gilles Peterson as one of his re-works of 2008.

For their debut compilation, Sofrito get the party started with 15 dynamite tropical grooves old and new ranging from cumbia, Congolese guitar, calypso and highlife. Highlights include an exclusive cumbia by Quantic, ‘Cumbia Mochilla’, a new edit of a rare Victor Uwaifo disco cut and firing Carnival jams from old-timers Roaring Lion and Mighty Shadow.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Legendary Brazilian musician/composer/arranger performing live at Casa Oi, in Rio de Janeiro. Deodato is a sample staple in Hip Hop, with beats lifted by Black Sheep, Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Biggie and Snoop, just to name a few. His career has spanned six decades, from bossa nova, to the monster jazz funk grooves he produced in the '70s. Visuals at the show provided by Breno "Hardcuore" Pineschi.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010


'Tis that time of the season, when your eardrums are pummeled by the sometimes strained sounds of (more than) well worn Yule Tide classics. Why not rescue your friends and family from the same old, same old with cool Christmas jamz?! Here's a couple cookers to get your party stated on the good foot!

On In The Christmas Groove
, Santa's got a brand new bag! Original Christmas grooves from the '60s and '70s all around from an array of obscure Soul and R&B acts.

Next up, it's time to go Latin and get the Fiesta crankin'! Willie Colon, Hecor LaVoe and company bring hot salsa to make your Navidad Feliz. Christmas, Fania style! Si Si!!!!

Stay tuned for some funky Hanukkah cuts... Diggin' deeper


Trace magazine's latest (and final) issue is dedicated to Brazil! One of our favorite mags goes in on one of our favorite countries. It's win-win! The issue focuses on Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. Just in time to whet your appetite for carnival! On news stands now. Sad to see it go, though....

Monday, December 6, 2010


Our friends at Ubiquity Records have dug deep again into lost crates and unearthed this extremely rare Afro Soul/Jazz record that we've been giving many spins lately. Due out soon, the record reminds us of a mixture of the Afro-Latin Blues Quintet + 1 and Martin Denny at his best.

Jack Millman, aka Johnny Kitchen, had a hand in many interesting, obscure and highly collectible records from the 1960s and 1970s. Producing, composing, recording, editing, releasing, licensing – you name it, Millman did it. The records he touched had an eclectic range from psychedelic rock to Latin jazz, and several include editing techniques that can only be described as an early incarnation of sampling in music. The Victims of Chance, Blues Train, The Crazy People, The Trio of Tyme, The Pros, The Tarots, Jeremiah, and even (Frank Zappa protege) Larry "Wild Man" Fisher were some of the acts connected to Millman. Based in Los Angeles he was called-upon by multiple people to make tax shelter records, and provided musical content for the Condor, Mira, Mirawood and Crestview labels amongst many others.

After seeing them play at the Living Room (which later became the Comedy Store) on Sunset Boulevard, Millman became manager of the Afro Latin Blues Quintet +1, and signed them to Randy Woods (creator/owner of the Mira, Mirwood, Crestview, Surrey labels) in the late 1960s.

Having released several albums this band would later become the Afro Soultet. The liner notes to their Afrodesia album state "This is Afrodesia! A Musical collage of many peoples. . .it comes from Africa and from Arabia, from the South Seas and from Asia." Living up to the promise of those notes Afrodesia mixes Latin Jazz, with straight jazz, worldly percussion, surf, rock, funk, oddball sound effects, a touch of lounge, and some hints of tropicalia. Millman produced and released the Afrodesia album on his own Banyon label sometime between 1968-1971 (no release date is listed on the record, and Millman cannot recall a more exact date.)

Somewhere between 500 and 1000 LPs were pressed on Banyon. The album was licensed non-exclusively to Betty Chiappetta (of Vee-Jay fame) for a period of time, but it is possible that the record only saw release as a test pressing during the license, and that no official release was made commercially available. After their short stint as the Afro Soultet, the band morphed one more time into The Afro Latin Soultet releasing records with pianist Phil Moore III at the helm.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Please see the trailer to this powerful upcoming documentary about the redemptive powers of Hip Hop and break dancing on the youth in war torn Uganda.

BOUNCING CATS film trailer from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

Read the entire story HERE

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


"Massive music we've never heard before – a really heavy helping of grooves from the Ivory Coast – an African scene that's hardly been tapped by crate diggers and collectors! There's a really fresh feel to the grooves overall – not just the familiar Afro Funk modes, but a nice range of styles that moves between rootsy local numbers through some great crossover styles, through even a few of the African Disco modes that are better known from other scenes! The tracks here are all massively funky – scoured out over the course of a number of different crate-digging trips to the coast – and the package presents the music with great images of the original record covers, too – so that you can still retain some of the feel of the rarity of the work, even though the collection presents things in an easy to handle format. Definitely one for fans of Soundway and Analogue Africa titles..."

Straight from Dusty Groove


Brian Eno hails Seun Kuti, 'stunning' son of Afrobeat legend Fela

Eno, 62, will be helping in London later this year with an album from Seun Kuti, the bandleader son of Afrobeat visionary Fela Kuti, whose music is being celebrated at a new show at London's National Theatre.

Eno, one of music's great innovators, said: "I think Seun is absolutely stunning. His father was a huge inspiration for me for many, many years.

"A lot of the work I did with Talking Heads was very much affected by Fela. And Seun's band is really incredible, 18 people on stage. When I first heard Fela on stage I thought 'this is the music of the future' and I still think it's true. Decades ago, I went into a record shop and bought a copy of Fela's Afrodisiac [1971] and my life changed.It was totally thrilling. Fela was the greatest West African bandleader - just as important as James Brown was in western culture - and it was great that two of his sons separately formed bands. Anyone who has an interest in music will connect with them."

Kuti's youngest son, Seun, said: "Fans that come to my show already know some of the songs from my forthcoming album because I have been playing them for a while. We are through with recording and I will be going to London pretty soon to mix the songs.

"I have great people working on the album for me such as Godwin Moggi, Brian Eno and John Reynolds. The album will be released under the label known as Meeting Factory which is the label that released my father's songs world-wide."


Saturday, October 30, 2010


Taylor on stage with Afrobeat Academy in Accra, Ghana. Hopefully coming to a stage near you in support of his his/their new album!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Liam Farrell, or Doctor L as he is known to the world at large, is a Paris based producer/musician/composer/artist from Dublin, Ireland. He began as his career as a drummer before getting into hip hop in the early '90s and appearing alongside Daft Punk and Air on the classic Source Lab I an II compilations. He has produced a diverse array of artists such as Tony Allen, Lenine, Bum Cello and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, to name just a few. Psyco On Da Bus from 2000 and Tony Allen's Black Voices (1999) were crucial in Tony Allen 's career revival, and both were produced by L. He is also sought out as re-mixer as well, re-working the likes of Neneh Cherry, Salif Keita, Gangstar,Ice-T, David Murray & Pharoah Sanders. His music reflects the diverse artists with whom he produces and plays. A current project work pairs him with Martin Perna from Antibalas. He constantly challenges the listener with new sounds, seemingly pulling sounds from in an out of ether. Dub, Hip Hop, Down Tempo, Modal and Spiritual jazz, African/Latin rhythms all swirl together into a deep smoky medicinal melange. He has also ventured in to soundtracks as well as creating stunning visuals for his music.

A few select cuts + clips to drop the balm on your soul.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010


A few years back, a package arrived at my house. A friend of mine had happily surprised me with a stack of records. In said stack was a 12 inch by the mysteriously titled Nephews of Phela. The needle dropped, then my jaw. The 12 inch, done by an equally mysterious west London duo (I haven't been able to dig up much, if any info...) featured re-mixes/edits of two African classics. The a-side ("Mulah 2") is a rework of Ethiopian Mulatu Astatke's "Yegelle Tezeta", while the b-side ("Uhuru Mash Up") is a rework of Ghanian Oscar Sulley's "Bukom Mashie". I am a huge fan of the work of both men, and naturally you should check the original versions if you do not know them. Both tracks here are simply massive, bringing modern dance floor thump, while still maintaining the flavor of the originals. You can track down the vinyl, but it'll cost you. Also available on i tunes I believe.

Not sure what Wylie Coyote and Roadrunner have to do with the Nephew's re-work of Mulatu, but here's a video dug up on youtube. DIG!


LAGOS JAZZ SERIES LINEUP - November 5th - 7th, 2010

Nov. 5th 2010 – Sofitel Moorhouse Hotel

  • Karen Patterson
  • Chinaza
  • Morrie Louden
  • Randy Weston

Nov. 6th 2010 – Federal Palace Hotel

  • Mike Aremu
  • Morrie Louden
  • Simone
  • Somi
  • Randy Weston

Nov. 7th 2010 – German Consulate (Sunday Jazz breakfast)

  • Karen Patterson
  • Chinaza
  • Simone

Nov. 7th 2010 – Muri Okunola Park

  • Bez
  • Ayetoro
  • Simone
  • Somi


Legendary Ghanaian performer Ebo Taylor returns with a brand new album. Taylor is well known to an older generation of folks from Ghana, but has never recorded an album specifically for release abroad. His work has been featured on countless compilations in recent years, exposing an entire generation of crate diggers to his music. His roots are in Highlife in the '50s, but over the years Taylor incorporated new sounds, including Afrobeat, Afro Funk, Jazz, Soul and more into his music. For this, his first international release on the UK's Strut Records, Taylor is accompanied by the Afrobeat Academy, which feature members of the Poets of Rhythm. What a treat to hear new music from an old master!

BUY IT HERE: Dusty Groove

Monday, October 25, 2010


Cool-running, natty-dressing Gregory Issacs sadly passed away today (10/25/10) at the age of 59 after a yearlong battle with cancer. Getting his nickname from his 1978 album "Cool Runner". Gregory perfected the style known as "lovers rock", with its smooth vocal stylin' based on that of Sam Cooke and Smokey Robinson and apolitical stance in counterpoint to the more militant Rastafarian sound dominant of Jamaica of the time. His massive hit "My Only Lover" (1973) is credited as the first "lovers rock" single ever made. With his smooth tenor voice punctuated with sexual moans and groans Gregory had a decade of future hits, peaking in 1982 with "Night Nurse".

Like many reggae stars, Gregory had a bad-buy image that was bolstered by his six month sentence for unlicensed handgun possession, drug dealing and an addiction to crack cocaine which resulted in a loss of some of his teeth and an impact on his subtle voice. Isaccs said of his addiction in 2007: "Drugs are a debasing weapon. It was the greatest college ever, but the most expensive school fee ever paid – the Cocaine High School. I learnt everything, and now I've put it on the side."

Isaacs nonetheless became an inspiration to a new generation of reggae stars through his combination of lover's rock and more politically charged tunes, such as "Black Liberation Struggle." He will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Afro-Beat Airways (West African Shock Waves Ghana & Togo 1972 -79) is the latest compilation from Analog Africa. Another massive set of tunes, ranging from Afro Funk, Psychedelia, Jazzy organ grooves and more. Nice diverse set with the exhaustive liner notes too.
Available for download, on CD and double LP. Fly the funky skies!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


The OG Black president would have celebrated his 72nd birthday this Friday, October 15th.
The Shrine commemorated last night with an amazing show by Chicago Afrobeat Project, along with DJs Tone B. Nimble and Joe Bryl.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Here's another batch of great African records that we're wishing to run into sometime while crate diggin'. We've listened to them on-line and were blown away. But, for all of us record geeks; there's nothing like having the real thing. Enjoy the view.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


The Brass unit from Germany's Poets of Rhythm bring the Ethio-funk on this recent release entitled, Tezeta. Clearly inspired by Mulatu Astatke, the band takes its cue from the golden age of Ethiopian music. Spacey organ, reeds o' plenty, snapping drums, low end bass all create some seriously snaking grooves.

Listen to some samples: KINDRED SPIRITS

?uestlove On Fela

It's no secret Fela Kuti has had an a huge impact on music, especially Hip Hop. His beats have been sampled and his attitude was the original swagga. Roots bandleader ?uestlove talks about why the man continues to be vital today.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Originally released in 2003 and re-issued by the folks at Trans Air Records (San Juan, Puerto Rico), this collection of tropical disco, rare caribbean dancefloor shakers and seventies soulful grooves comes as a great addition to all those crate diggers looking for deep island dusties. Tracks include Tappa Zukie's "Freak(1)," Gerald PJ Browne's "Sexy Lady(2)" (as edited on the recent Guynamukat 12"), Casual T's "Hands Off(3)," Mucho Plus' burnin' hot "Nassau's Disco(4)," Star Beams' "Disco Stomp(5)," El Cid's "NY to Georgetown(6)," Billie Cole's "Extra Carefully(7)," and Oluko Umo's "Praise Jah(8)." Sail on, sail on!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Wednesday, October 13th is a date not to be missed. The Shrine hosts its second annual FELABRATION - A Celebration of the Life & Music of Fela Kuti! This year will feature local heroes CHICAGO AFROBEAT PROJECT performing live in concert. DJs Tone B Nimble x Joe Bryl will be on the ones and twos. Free giveaways courtesy of Knitting Factory, too!


Doors open 9pm. Tickets are on sale now! CLICK HERE

Monday, September 20, 2010




Being a vinyl junkie is a Herculean task, involving numerous hours of seemingly endless crate digging in dusty basements, various thrift stores, flea markets and on-line searches. Here for your visual pleasure are some of the wildest and weirdest records that somehow were pressed for your listening pleasure.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Jazzman drops another stupid rare re-issue with this mondo obscuro soundtrack from the film 'Every N*gger Is A Star'. Raw soul, funk, r&b and dirty reggae grooves are all over Boris Gardiner's score to the film. With vocals by Boris Gardiner with Margerat Lewis, Maurice Chambers & Richard Johnson, horns by Tommy McCook (Skatalites) & others. Wicked riddim and funk!!! Check 'Ghetto Funk' below.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Shook Magazine heads to South Africa for Issue #9 – possibly their best yet! Includes a feature that pairs up Blk Jks with guitar great Phillip "Malombo" Tabane, plus pieces on the South African house music scene, "Zulu Space Diva" Busi Mhlongo, 10 years of underground parties with Sud Electronic, hip hop from The Cape and more – plus pieces on Bilal, Sun Ra Arkestra, Syl Johnson, Nick Rose, Oi: The Now Sound Of Brasil, Richy Pitch and much more...


Thursday, September 2, 2010


The good folks at Voodoo Funk and Academy Records are at it again. Frank (Voodoo Funk) has unearthed some crazy gems from Africa over the last couple years. (See the post in this blog about the Lagos Disco Inferno.) Their next release is no exception. The Psychedelic Aliens were a short-lived Afro Funk Garage band from Accra, Ghana. The group only released a handful of songs, but actually appeared on stage during the famous Soul to Soul concert which became a concert film starring Wilson Pickett, Ike and Tina Turner, the Staple Singers and more.

For more info on that concert; check out COMB AND RAZOR That's where we nicked the program pictures. Big ups! Amazing blog.

Frank had this to say about the Psychedelic Aliens records:

"This last trip back to Africa was amongst the best digging experiences of my life. Not only did I find some really amazing vinyl, I also managed to license a whole bunch of very exciting Nigerian and Ghanaian records for re-release, amongst other things 6 tracks by an obscure cult band from Accra called The Psychedelic Aliens. I’ve been obsessing over this group since I first came across their 7″ EP almost three years ago and now I also happened upon their second 45 that I think was previously completely unknown. Needless to say that it’s absolutely incredible: A perfect crossover of Garage Psych Rock and Afro Funk. Raw fuzz-wah-wah guitar, Vox organ, vocals with loads of reverb, huge drum break… it really is unreal!"


Monday, August 30, 2010


Hardcuore is the logo/company of Brazilian graphic artist Breno Pineschi, who has been working with art direction and graphic design since 2002. Breno and his team work in diverse fields, such as music, fashion, publishing, installations, motion graphics and visual identity among others. He has a major in graphic design and spent some time at New York’s School of Visual Arts. Hardcuore creates work that goes from underground graphic projects to installations for major companies, creating visuals for any possible media.

The firm also created work which was featured in Rio's successful bid for the Olympics.

I bumped into a kid at Lollapalooza with Breno's logo tattooed on his forearm and showed him the necklace. He freaked, asking me where he could buy one. (Kicking myself for not snapping a photo to document this serendipitous event...) Seems the necklaces have become a must have for musicians and DJs around the world. Stay tuned to find out how/where to purchase one...!

Check out the necklace below, as well as the stop motion animation he put together using Baile Funk.

Kele from Bloc Party and Dirt from The Bravery.

Limited series for Blue Man. Photo campaign (Brazil)

James Murphy from LCD SoundSystem and Anthony Rother.