Over the years I made it a habit to dig through all the used Electronica 12”s to perhaps find a lost worldly gem. I’ll usually take a gamble on any used 12” that usually flirts with some sort of World Music theme. I look for key words such as “Afro,” “Brazilian” and “Latin” if I don’t already know the artist. A few years back I found a 12” from a label called Sofrito Discothèque. It looked cool so I bought it even though I had never heard of the label. The single was called Music Is The Word. It was a mixture of Latin, Afrobeat and Caribbean rhythms. I am so glad I took a chance on that single! I became a fan of the label and it became another go-to label along with Bastard Jazz, Freestyle and Raw Fusion in finding World Music edits and jams.
2011 finds a great pairing of two labels -- Strut Records, which has been releasing World Music heat for over a decade, has paired up with the Sofrito crew (Hugo Mendez, Frankie Francis and The Mighty Crime Minister) in releasing Tropical Discotheque. What I like about this compilation is that it mixes both vintage World music tracks and tracks made recently by newer artists. Vintage bangers from Banda Los Hijos De La Niña Luz and Mighty Shadow are joined by newer tracks from Frente Cumbiero and Quantic Y Su Conjunto Los Miticos Del Ritmo. On top of that, a few of the Sofrito edits are thrown in for good measure. The flow of African, Latin and Caribbean jams works together quite nicely, like a meal at a fusion restaurant that doesn’t take the grittiness away from the original dish when combining it with another culture’s flavor. In other words, it doesn't suck.
Unlike many of the recent World Music compilations out now, the Sofrito crew doesn’t bank on rare as much as they do on good. It serves as a calling card to buy a plane ticket to London to go dance your ass off at one of their parties.
The CD version of Sofrito: Tropical Discotheque is out now and the vinyl versions, which are the full length LP and a special 12”, will be out on February 1st.
Frente Cumbiero - "Pitchito"
Gnonnas Pedro - "Yiri Yiri Boum"