to celebrate the first day of the New Year 2020 Soul Safari focuses on those great vintage soul jazz tunes as a tribute to the musicians who made them.
Real obscure and collectible titles by The Drive, The Shyannes, The Sounds or The Nightingales but also a rarity by better known Cape Jazz artist like Morris Goldberg. Enjoy this selection of original singles and a few albums, ranging from 1969 to 1985…all from the Soul Safari collection.
Soul Safari will continue in 2020 reporting on music that is made NOW… as well as unearthing the lost gems of South African dance music past. Covering music from soul to jazz to underground disco to old skool kwaito, bubblegum and forgotten music library classics.
Soul Safari 2020 Happy New Year -Soul Jazz Mix tracklist
The Shyannes -Osakai The Go-Aheads -Go Ahead (pt 1) The Shyannes -Half Moon The Nightingales -Dyambo Sons Of Thunder -Break Down Soul Breakers -Crying Soul Nr. 2 The Sounds -Good People The Drive -Stuck In The Middle With You Soul Giants -Soul Prayer The Jazz Clan -Oh Happy Day The Morris Goldberg Quartet -D.B.B. The Drive -Iphi Intombi Yam (pt 1) The Drive -Iphi Intombi Yam (pt 2) The Drive -Shambala The Shyannes -Havanna Strut The Bee Dees -Big Brother The Sounds -Coming Home The Sounds -Thiba Kamoo
This year Soul Safari brings you a special Township Boogie & Disco Mix for the Yuletide season…most tracks were originally released as 45 rpm singles between 1979-1986. Some of the earliest examples of Boogie/Disco music from South Africa comes from Cape Jazz artist Mike Makhalemele (1979) and a gem by singer Kumasi (1982), along with long time favorites like The Hot Soul Singers, Street Kids, Ebony mixed with some real obscure goodies as well….Thandi Seoka, TSB and Thandi Bgonwe. One of the great Cape Jazz artists, Mike Makhalemele performs ‘Disco Freaks’, truly a 1979 Boogie/Disco holy grail from South Africa. Enjoy this mix as much as I loved selecting and mixing it. Happy Holidays!
one of the longest running and most consistent posts on Soul Safari is undoubtedly ‘Diggin’ in Japan’. Some are written by myself, other posts are first hand experiences by my friend and dedicated collector MP Flapp. All visits are documented with lots of tips on how to travel to Japan, how to get around within the cities, where to find the best places to eat, to chill and spend your cash…. no detail is spared!
The latest in the series is Mp Flapp’s report of his journey through the land of the rising sun and the many record stores in Japan, updated version 2018.
I believe the last time I put pen to paper with respect the hunt for musty vinyl in Japan was back in 2015. As you might expect a lot has changed on the Japanese vinyl trail since then… This trip was a particularly a good one as the adventure started in Amsterdam in a late night café with this blogs author Eddy De Clercq and Japanese DJ Jun following a fantastic party playing records in the adult kindergarten as part of the Wonderland event at the Paradiso on 14th December 2018. One of those events where the conversation naturally arrives as record shops both past and present… the places where unexpected treasures are found or the proprietor is always good at highlighting recommendations based on what you’ve selected to listen to or buy…
It would have been a missed opportunity (you never know what you might find) if the next morning DJ Jun and I hadn’t taken a quick tour of a subset of Amsterdam’s record shops before our respective flights… his back to South Africa and mine to Japan via Vienna and Frankfurt…
FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS I USED TO ARRIVE AT TOKYO’S NARITA AIRPORT WHICH IS SITUATED ABOUT 90 MINS OUTSIDE THE CITY…
after an epic overnight flight or en-route home with cases full of records it’s a bit of a long journey to and from the airport to the city centre. On the last couple of trips I’ve opted to fly to Haneda instead as the airport is within 20 min of the city centre by metro. It also has the advantage of being about 30/40 Euros by taxi from many central hotel locations. Flights to Haneda are about the same price as Narita Airport from Europe; at times they can be cheaper. A number of flights to Haneda from Europe arrive around lunchtime as opposed to 8 am meaning it’s possible to check-in to the hotel on arrival. In addition, with Haneda being so close to the city centre, there is no need to exchange your JR travel voucher for a Japan Rail Pass on arrival. Arriving at Narita it makes sense to obtain the JR travel pass to save buying a ticket for the train from the airport to the city centre.
This trip is a few days less than previous years. The loose agenda is to spend a day and a half in Tokyo, travel down to Osaka, go on to Fukuoka before return to Osaka for a few more days then back to Tokyo for a day before catching the flight home.
On arrival, bags dropped at the hotel there is
just under half a day left to go digging. From the hotel it’s possibly to go in
a sort of short circle by metro and take in two locations (Shinjuku and Ochanomizu)
both with a high concentration of stores before returning to the hotel.
In Shinjuku there are two clusters of stores either side of main train station. Short on time the focus is on the south-east side of the station and the pocket of Disk Union stores… with more time a trip to Dub Store on the other side of the station is more than recommended. My interest in Japanese music has changed quite a bit over the last few years… first port of call these days is the Disk Union Japanese Pop (Kayoukyoku) basement store… always loaded with great 45s and given it’s end of the year, the premium 60s/70s stock is out… often records that very rarely appear on-line are on display… not always cheap, but in person you can check the condition and quality. Depending on how busy the store is you can give batches of five to seven records a listen to ensure they are as expected…
A couple of
floors above the Japanese Pop store is the Disk Union soundtrack store… again
always worth a visit… not that I’m big on CDs, but there are some Japanese
soundtrack music from the 60s/70s that was never released at the time and only
issued on CD at a later date… always worth having a look just in case… with the
advent of relatively cheap one-off lathe cut 45s there’s not harm in buying the
CD and cutting a couple of the tracks (edited or not) to a one copy 45…
A few hundred meters up the street from the first location is the main Disk Union store in the area. The store is split over eight floors, covers near ever genre imaginable from almost every corner of the planet. I usually do the basement location first as it covers Japanese releases both old and new. There is a small crossover in stock with the Japanese Pop store, but in general the selection in unique to this location. From here it’s up to seventh floor of punk then down through the New Wave/Avant-Garde on the sixth floor to the Latin, Brazilian, African and Reggae on the fifth floor before finishing up in the Progressive Rock selection on the fourth floor.
another three Disks Union stores in the area worth visiting depending on your
taste: the Dance store covering everything from Soul to Techno, the Rock Store
split over two floors covering rock in its many forms and the General Store
which is completely across the board. To do all of these stores on a half day
you kind of need to be going through the racks fairly quickly and selectively.
It’s fairly easy to get side tracked and spend a lot of time waiting to hear
records. The listening policy is enforced quite strictly when the stores are
busy. At weekends or early evening it’s easy to end up in a queue of six or
seven people and lose 30/40 minutes waiting. The best approach is make a note
of titles that are unknown, try and check them on-line or keep the listening to
early morning visits, soon after the store has opened.
stop Ochanomizu which is a short ride on the Chuo from Shinjuku. In a couple of
hours you can do about seven stores before closing time which varies between
8pm and 9pm. There are a few more record stores in the area coupled with some
fantastic book stores, but that tour requires quite a bit more time to do.
The first stop is the Jazz Disk Union which is five minutes’ walk from Ochanomizu station. There is a bit more than Jazz going on here as the annex on the same floor covers a broad selection of Japanese groove, Latin and funk. However, if it’s Jazz you’re looking for this is the place to come based on volume of stock and range on offer. One of the most notable changes over the years has been the change in interest from overseas Jazz to domestic Jazz. Gone are the days when Japanese Jazz records were easy to find at sensible prices… releases on Three Blind Mice, in top condition with OBI and booklet are now near impossible to find at regular prices.
short walk from the Jazz Disk Union is the main Disk Union store in the area…
it’s a fairly broad genre crossing selection, but the real gems are in the
selection of domestic releases in stock. The overseas Folk, Psych and Progressive
Rock sections are worth a mention as they tend to be loaded with items you only
see on-line or at record fairs in Europe. The records are suitably priced, but
it is nice to see these records appear as shop stock.
favourite 45 store, Orient is about 15mins walk from Disk Union down the hill
in Kanda. It’s not the size of the store that makes the place so good, it’s the
range of domestic releases from the 50s through to the 80s… it’s a curated
selection that tends to be in top condition. There isn’t the ability to listen
to records in store, so you need to know what you are looking for. That said it’s
fairly straight forward to find clips on-line.
towards Jinbocho from Orient there are four store of note: a further Disk
Union, Tacto – Showa Music, Fuji Record Sya and the highlight Record Sya. Record
Sya was established in 1930 and is affiliated to the Fuji Record Sya store. It’s
possibly not a store for the hipster, but for those collectors looking for
something a little off the radar…
One advantages of finishing the day here is that between Record Sya and Ochanomizu station there are a myriad of places to stop to eat and drink. The better Sake places tend to be Yakitori (grilled chicken) spots. However, for the vegitarians there’s a laid back Okonomiyaki restaurant in the area that is hard to beat. Okonomiyaki is a highly addictive savoury pancake like disk more associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas of Japan. Until I make it further south, this is an ideal way to finish the day… sort of a flavour of things to come.
When asked where would go record shopping with a whole day to spare?
My regular response is Shibuya and Shimokitazawa. The rational being both areas are relatively close together, have a great selection of records stores, are totally different architecturally and have more to see and do that just record shopping…
is Shibuya the first port of call is the basement of the main Disk Union in the
area for the Jazz, rare groove, reggae and global sounds… if possibly its best
to go early on a weekday close to opening time as the store is loaded with
stock, but a little tight for customer space. Aside from the mix of stock what
I like about this store is the broad price range… most of the stock is sensibly
priced and accessibly to anyone, but for the collector there are items you very
rarely see in a shop… the type of records that appear in auctions or on the
wall at record fairs… often not cheap, but priced and available… The priced
factor is quite a good point. There is nothing worse as a buyer than going in
to one of those stores where the records aren’t priced. Anything you bring to
the counter the sales assistant has to look-up on Discogs, often quoting the
highest price the record sold for… this isn’t cool in the slightest… it’s a bit
like buying a beer in Berlin and the barperson suggesting it’s eleven Euros as
that’s the price the last beer in Tokyo sold for… if you run a store… pick a
price, put it on a sticker and stick it on the record…
A short walk
from Disk Union is RecoFan on the fourth floor of Beam store. It took me a
while to realise why there weren’t really rare records in store. These items
appear to be made available on-line via stores Yahoo Auctions presence. Even
without a selection of high end records in store the shop is good for finding common
titles in great condition at sensible prices…
The next stop
is the local HMV shop which is little further along the street from Disk Union.
One of the strangest record stores (from a stock perspective) I’ve even been too
once existed on tenth floor of the building that now houses HMV on the ground
floor. Manuel of Errors stocked the broadest range of left field exotica,
lounge, private press and abstract electronica from the 1950s to present. Sadly
the shop closed about two years ago and to the best of my knowledge there isn’t
similar store anywhere in Tokyo. The HMV store may not be quite as exotic as
Manuel of Errors was, but fairly hard to beat. Split over two well sized floors
you can find a mix of both new and second hand stock with the ratio of new to
old being 30% new and 70% used. The blend of stock is further complemented by
the mix of accessibly priced and collector’s items which again are not often
cheap, but are available.
The last two stops in the area I visit are Face Records and El Sur Records… two independent stores that have existed for a number of years… Face Records is about five minute walk from HMV. It’s not the biggest of stores, but it is a store for the groove heads… the short fall in physical space is complemented by a well-stocked on-line presence and regular eBay auctions…
short walk from Face Records you’ll find El Sur Records… possibly the original
purveyor of global grooves… The location of the store is relatively new,
possibly three years old. The original store (also in Shibuya) was in a
building that was demolished as part of the rejuvenation of the area around the
station… as great as the original location was this new spot might just be a
little easier to find… the store is situated on the fifth floor of a free
standing block, whereas the old location was on the tenth floor of a fairly
non-descript 70s building located within a unit in a veritable rabbit warren of
small businesses on the floor…
leaving Shibuya you could do no wrong by dropping in Los Barbados (about a ten
minute walk from El Sur back in the direction of the station)… it’s not big… at
a push the restaurant seats eight to ten people, but has a fantastic selection
of Middle Eastern and African cuisine… with a décor to match the menu…
Shimokitazawa is four stations (about ten minutes) on the Keio Line from Shibuya. The Keio Line is a private line so you can’t use a JR Rail pass, but the fare is only about 150 yen. Aside from record shopping, the area is a fairly laid back part of town to spend some time in… around the station on either side of the railway are many small streets of boutique style stores, cafes, restaurants and bars… if I make it to Shimokitazawa it’s usually the last stop of the day in as much as when the shopping is over, often punctuated by more than one coffee stop, it’s the place to eat and have a few relaxed drinks before heading back to the hotel…
Of the twelve record stores in the area only one is a Disk Union, the others are independent. Possibly the best known store in the area is Flash Disk Ranch which has existed for a many years, run by husband and wife duo Masao’s and Atsuko. The stock changes frequently and the prices are sensible. The store is less about rare records and more about regular titles available as part of deals (three records for 2000 yen type offers).
Round the corner from Flash Disk Ranch is City Country City, a hybrid record store come café with a limited, but excellent pasta centric menu. Ideal spot for a coffee stop. The weight of the stock is dance based covering Soul, Funk, Rare Groove to modern electronica.
The Disk Union in the area is well worth a visit as it has an across the board selection covering almost every musical base. There are often a serious amount of rare records in store, particularly along the back wall. Almost directly across the street from Disk Union is The General Music Store. It’s not the biggest of shops, but the stock is very well curated. They often have a good selection of rare records from a broad range of genres.
Of the other record stores in the area, the highlight is possibly Ella Records situated on the other side of the railway from the aforementioned stores. This is the second Ella store. The original store is based in Hatagaya. The Hatagaya store is not the easiest store to find and a little out of the way, but well worth a visit if time permits. The more accessible branch office in Shimokitazawa is really a great asset to the area. The store is spacious and has a great range of stock from about every genre imaginable. From a price perspective there is a great variety, everything from bargain bin to serious collectors’ items. The stock changes frequently and like a number of other stores on key dates of the year the store has themed sales of harder to find items.
The accessibility to an eclectic selection stock combined with a broad price range is possibly some of the elements that make record shopping in Japan quite desirable. Visiting a physical store is way better than browsing lists any day of the week. Another factor, particularly if you are fan of Japanese music, is that until quite recently finding what you were looking for or finding what you didn’t know existed was really a chance undertaking. Google translates has opened up access to a set of fan based blogs that provide details on both artists and releases that would have potentially slipped you by based on the language barrier and the fact for many years very little Japanese music has been covered in western publications in any detail. Basically in the old days you had to know someone with local knowledge who potentially knew the music you might be interested in and could recommend releases based on your interests or records you had already bought… sort of a translator with a degree of censorship based on the intermediates knowledge. The Japanese on-line translation is not perfect by any means, but after a while reading translated blogs its’ possible to deduce the gaps in the software’s ability. The software tends to make the same mistakes in selecting language… keep in mind a few inconsistences in language is way better than the days when there was no translation available at all…
Compared to ten years ago where finding record stores in Japan was a
sort of word of mouth exchange or a chance occurrence, today most stores have
sort of on-line presence which can be translated fairly easily. One of the most useful sites is https://recoya.net/japan – use Chrome and
translate the catalogue to find the stores by city. The site is kept reasonably
A handy phrase to type in to google maps is “レコード店” – it means “record stores” – based on where you are matches will
appear on the map as green markers. Another handy one is “フリーマーケット” which translates to “flea-market” Not a perfect science, but it
does turn up places you wouldn’t expect.
people rise together when they believe in tomorrow
Soul Safari is proud to be part of the program for the Raindance Project on Saturday, September 14, 2019. As DJ I will be playing two sets with African music.
The Soul Safari mix 4 The Raindance Project mix was produced exclusively for the project as a taster of things to come…. this mix of 60 minutes contains some of my own tracks like a great remix of ‘Coral Reef’ sung in Xhosa, and a few of my own new tracks influenced by South Africa roots music. As well as a few favorite tunes by Black Motion, live recorded in The Boiler Room, Johannesburg.
The Raindance Project. Dancing for a greener planet.
Party in the Vondelpark Amsterdam.
Three simultaneous and freely accessible events, in The Netherlands, Kenya and Tanzania. Music, dance, performing arts, education, comedy and science come together on one stage. The project is being launched in the Vondelpark Open Air Theater in Amsterdam, with the highlight being a live connection between the three events that everyone can follow.
Soul Safari is proud to be part of the line-up for the Raindance Project on Saturday, September 14, 2019. Three simultaneous and freely accessible events, in The Netherlands, Kenya and Tanzania. Music, dance, performing arts, education, comedy and science come together on one stage. The project is being launched in the Vondelpark Open Air Theater in Amsterdam, with the highlight being a live connection between the three events that everyone can follow.
“If we can warm up the earth, we can also cool it down”
The Raindance Project is positioning greening as the global solution for climate change.
Desertification is one of the greatest threats to our planet, but we can all turn this tide. With this important message, The Raindance Project wants to inspire young and old and provide a sense of unity and mutual solidarity. The Raindance Project therefore organizes a series of events every two years in various places in the world to make the message of greening and cooling known to a larger audience.
From 12:00h to 21:00h there are performances by well-known musicians, DJs, comedians, speakers and scientists, who play an important role in spreading the message about the greening of our planet. The Raindance Project believes that music can play an important role in spreading the message about the greening of our planet. Because that is desperately needed and Justdiggit, together with local partners in Africa, is greening degraded land on a large scale. Together we can bring back nature and help to unleash a green revolution. The event will be broadcast live on September 14 by 3FM and will be streamed on the social media of Justdiggit, The Raindance Project and 3FM.
Ala Pikin Nengre from Big Jones is the soundtrack of the 1960s documentary ‘Faja Lobbi’ by Dutch filmmaker Herman van der Horst. The award winning documentary shows the different population groups of Suriname: from the Indians, Maroons, Creoles, Hindustani, Javanese, Lebanese to the Chinese.
With Ala Pikin Nengre, Big Jones sings of the city of Paramaribo and the Market Square of Paramaribo. The music that Big Jones and his band made popular is called ‘Kawina’ and can be considered as the first real Surinamese ‘Folk’. The music was played during ‘dansi dansi’s’ (festivals) and ‘verjari’s’ (birthdays). In terms of instruments, the composition of the bands changed over time. The texts varied from improvisation to old stories, such as that of the spider ‘Anansi’. Big Jones was one of the first Surinamese artists whose music was recorded on an LP.