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, August 31, 2011


The second born of twelve children to Nigerian émigrés in London, Siji spent much of his early childhood in Lagos and London before coming to the US to further pursue his musical ambitions. His own cultural heritage combined with the political and social movements of the age, exposed young Siji to the insurgent, politicized music of the Afrobeat legends Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Tony Allen as well as the soulful grooves of Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and Otis Redding. His parents, in particular, his father, loved music, but like most children of hardworking immigrants, Siji was urged by them to pursue a career in the professional fields of medicine or law. But the lure of the music was too strong. In the nineties, when London was bursting at the seams with new music and groups like Loose Ends, Soul II Soul, and D-Influence dominated the scene, Siji’s attention was captured and he began to follow his passion for making and recording his own music.

After completing a Masters degree in Engineering Product Design, the self-taught piano, percussion and acoustic bass player released an EP, "Facets" followed by the single "My Lover's Embrace" on his own label IVY Records in 1996. These releases garnered much respect and admiration on the influential London underground music scene, gave Siji credibility as an artist, and eventually led to a lucrative worldwide publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music. His youth and inexperience made him open himself up to all possibilities in his music, but it also lead him to sign a deal that he would find limiting to his creativity.

With the publishing deal under his belt, Siji relocated to New York and performed in renowned venues—SOB’s, Bam Café and Joe's Pub. He has worked with a number of producers, but it is his collaboration with Osunlade, who produced music for Musiq Soulchild, Eric Benet, and classic R&B vocalist Patti Labelle, that fostered in Siji a love of production. He has contributed songwriting and production talent to projects for Salif Keita, Cesaria Evora, Vinia Mojica and Wunmi. Along with those skills, Siji brought with him the immediate feedback and positive energy of the live performance into the studio, creating songs that would eventually make up his debut album God-Given (BBE Records, 2004).

The album gives the listener the inspired reminiscences of the soul greats as well as traditional, Yoruba instruments, rhythms, and intricate drum patterns. Siji’s distinct vocals are an organic complement to the sound. His self-titled newest work, ‘Adesiji’, was mostly recorded in Baltimore, a city Siji suggests is “trapped in time.” The songs he wrote and recorded there too are soulful, but capture the mood of a seasoned artist. Siji’s recent collaboration with New York based producer/DJ Alix Alvarez, yielded the crowd pleasing, dance floor hit, ‘Irinajo.’ Sung in its entirety in his native tongue Yoruba, ‘Irinajo’ (“Journey”), is about the eventful journey of life. The album also features collaborations with DJ/Producer’s King Britt and Rich Medina.

Siji’s father opened up his debut album, (‘Oriki’). For Siji, it is “like a stamp of approval.” Although Siji does not consider himself an activist, he does sing about love, freedom, and self-empowerment. In this way, his music does inspire us to act—to observe, to love, to sing, and most of all to dance.



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Monday, August 22, 2011


The great and rare Buffet Hotel De La Gare from the Rail Band – amazing Mali music from a most pivotal and groundbreaking time in the group's early history – and some its best! At this point, the group was essentially the house band at the Buffet Hotel De La Gare – blending traditional Mandingo melodies and instrumentation with boundary free jazz and funk. Truly amazing work!

A pivotal piece of Mali music history – the first LP by The Rail Band – the Orchestre Rail-Band de Bamako album from 1970! This legendary material comes from their early days from their time at the Station Hotel of Bamako and were sponsored by Mali's Ministry Of Information – modernizing traditional Mali music and combining it with cross cultural soul, Latin percussion and more – paving the way for Afro Soul and funk to come.

Lifted from DUSTYGROOVE buy it there!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Can't hardly wait! Going to be a mind blowing show. The Chicago Return of Hypnotic Brass. Let's hope that the eldest member of the family, Phil Cohran, takes the stage with his sons. You can draw a straight line from Sun Ra and members Earth Wind and Fire, alongside Cohran, to the Hypnotic Brass both literally and biologically, as well as spiritually. They are completing work on a new album with Flea and Tony Allen among others. They have been touring and recording all over the world since leaving Chicago nearly five years ago.


Bulletproof Brass in the NYC subway...

Check out Phil Cohran in 1968 - with electric kalimba that EWF picked up on

Monday, August 8, 2011


You may remember that the title cut from this soundtrack LP was included on Tough Jazz One! DJ 'Cosmic' Clark Quente. That cut alone merits the purchase. Deep deep afro spiritual jazz. Have had the "Black Goddess" soundtrack for a number of years, though it's from Brasil, so it's called "A Deusa Negra". (See below) Scarcely turns up, though you can pick one up on Mercado Livre right now.

Or spend less. Soundway just re-issued it! BUY IT.

The Re-issue

Soundway Records are proud to present the original soundtrack to Ola Balogun’s legendary movie ‘Black Goddess’ from 1978. The film was written and directed by Balogun (recognized as one of Nigeria’s most renowned directors) but shot and cast in Brazil.

The soundtrack, Soundway’s deepest venture into experimental afro-jazz, was composed and produced by one of Nigeria’s most successful and original musicians Remi Kabaka (who has played with Steve Winwood, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney and Ginger Baker amongst others).

The record was originally issued in both Nigeria and Brazil, but recorded in Lagos, using four of the Nigerian music scene’s most innovative players: Remi Kabaka himself, alongside Biddy Wright, saxophonist Dele Okonkwo and Mono Mono frontman Joni Haastrup.

The resulting soundtrack created by these prestigious musicians is a truly unique and experimental afro-jazz recording that has been out of print for many years, until now.

“One of the finest moments in Nigeria’s experimental Afro-jazz scene – at least until Soundway unearth a better one.” Time Out

Original Brazilian pressing, 1978.

Original film poster


Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Jeremy Brewington

Photo: Kendall Karmanian

The Artisan | Jeremy Brewington

A pop-up artist brings Brazilian and South African foods to Chicago.

By Heather Shouse

If a want ad for an aspiring chef were honest, it would read, “Cook needed. Low pay, long hours, brutal conditions. Fame highly unlikely.” Now let’s say it read, “Cook needed. Decent pay, you set the hours, you create the conditions. Adoration commensurate with execution.” In that case, that’s an ad for a chef at a pop-up restaurant, and the job is already Jeremy Brewington’s.

“Pop-ups are the perfect combination of my experiences,” Brewington says. “From catering and private cheffing, I know how to make things happen in a place that’s not mine, and from travel and research I can be creative.” That’s precisely why Dodo’s Kim Dalton tapped him to bring pop-ups to her brunch spot. During Dodo’s Damen Avenue days, Brewington was brought in to launch dinner, but after that iteration of Dodo closed in 2007, the Minneapolis native took a job as the private chef for the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at the Illinois Institute of Technology (yes, IIT has frats). “I didn’t know much about fraternities when I started, but now I feel like family,” Brewington says. “I can’t imagine any chef disliking this job. Good pay, good hours and complete freedom in summer to pursue other projects.”

That includes pop-ups, which Brewington launched in early June at the new Dodo on Fulton Market with “Quincho & Botequim,” where he served Argentinian and Brazilian snacks (salt cod fritters; empanadas) alongside Quinones and Brana beer. He spent the following two weeks researching his latest incarnation, Potjiekos Café, named for a type of cast-iron pot common in South Africa. “There are Dutch, British, Indian, you-name-it influences [in South African food], and there’s really no representation in Chicago,” he says. Grilled meats (known as braai), jerkylike beef strips (biltong), spicy babotie custard casserole, umfino greens braised with ground peanuts and fresh ginger…as word of these dishes spread, the Wednesday-through-Saturday pop-up grew so popular that even a busted A/C—which gave Dodo Kalahari-like conditions—couldn’t keep diners­, particularly South African ones, away. And so Potjiekos has been extended through August 13th. After that, Brewington’s frat-chef gig starts. But he’s confident this won’t be the end of his pop-up career. “This is the perfect idea for a restless person,” he says. “Yes, it’s a flash in the pan, but that’s the point: Execute good food for a very precise moment, and then you move on.”

Dodo, 954 W Fulton Mkt (312-226-5300).


Monday, August 1, 2011


70s psychedelia from the northeastern state of Pernambuco, Brazil – incredible stuff that combines rawly percussive tropical sounds with a world of psychedelic creativity and possibilities – one of the best compilations ever put together by Mr Bongo! Lula Cortes was a pivotal figure in the scene and he's pretty well represented here, including his influential recordings with Ze Remalho. Even more exciting, though, is the stuff we've never been fortunate enough to hear before now – and there's a pretty good deal of it! The fusion of global psyche and folk sounds into a distinctly Brazilian sound is nothing short of amazing – regional and traditional percussion underneath sitars, lutes, keyboards and more. It features songs by the great Lula Cortes & Ze Ramalho, Geraldo Azevedo & Alceu Valenca, Marconi Notaro, Flaviola E O Bando Do Sol and The Gentleman.

Lifted from Dustygroove Buy it there on LP or CD!


Rare Afro psych funk from Nigeria – the one-and-only single ever cut by Stoneface & Life Everlasting as a group, even though the members are largely made up of Nigerian scene veterans – an incredible 45! "Love Is Free" is totally killer. It's got some raw electric guitar and funky percussion, blending Afro Funk and global psychedelia in a way that's really not a whole lot like anything we've heard before. The electric guitar helps kick this one into the stratosphere, and the gritty vocals are great, too. "Agawalam Mba" on the flip might be even more amazing, with this rumbing funky bottom end that serves an insistent guitar groove – but the growly lead and group shout backup vocals drive it just as heavily. Amazing stuff – one of the greatest records yet reintroduced via Academy & Voodoo Funk – even if it is just a 45! (Limited to 1000 copies. Bound to disappear quickly, too. . . don't sleep on this one!)