Soul Jazz Records' latest collection Yoruba! Songs and Rhythms for the Yoruba Gods in Nigeria was newly recorded in Lagos, Nigeria. The album was co-produced by Laolu Akins, founding member of the legendary 1970s Nigerian Afro-Funk/Rock group Blo, and label head Stuart Baker. The 2LP-set features songs honoring the Nigerian gods of the Yoruba traditional religion – Yemoja, Obatala, Ogun, Sango and others – as well as a selection of instrumental cuts focusing on the Bata and Dundun drums. It comes complete with extensive text and photography showing the influence of Yoruba culture throughout the world and the social and historical context for the music contained here.
The enormous impact of Yoruba and West African music and culture is worldwide – from the first Afro-centric explorations of African-American jazz musicians in the 1950s such as Art Blakey, Randy Weston and Dizzy Gillespie, the explosion of Nu Yorican Latin music in New York City starting in the 1960s – Mambo, Boogaloo, Latin funk and soul - through to the sacred and powerful Afro-derived music of the religions of Santería in Cuba, Candomblé in Brazil and Voodoo in Haiti, which all came in to existence on account the Atlantic slave trade which began over 400 years ago. On a wider scale West African music remains the primary root of all African-American musical forms – from New Orleans jazz to Bronx rap, gospel, soul and more.
Yoruba! features an array of local master drummers led by Olatunji Samson Sotimirin and singers (featuring the lead vocals of Janet Olufanmilayo Abe) performing heavyweight Afro-rhythms, with talking drums, Bata and Dundun drums and a mass of percussion in these deep spiritual and sacred songs used to honor and worship the traditional and ancient Yoruba gods in Nigeria, West Africa.