Jan 22nd, 2024
For their second single on Canopy Records, global groove outfit London Afrobeat Collective is in a defiant yet uplifting spirit with a swinging afro-funky groove topped with lashings of joyous horns and guitars alongside singer Juanita Euka’s powerful and emotive lyrics.
As well as showcasing the original version of the track that is present on upcoming album Esengo, the band are delighted to carry on in the remix tradition that Canopy Records is fastly becoming renowned for, and this time they have teamed up with someone they’ve been eager to work with for a long time; Bruno Hovart aka Voilaaa / Patchworks. The French producer has completely flipped the script on these two remixes (under his two alter ego pseudonyms) and has more ‘re-imagined’ the track to create something truly special – re-playing most of the instruments and adding his own unique charm to the mixes, which helps Juanita Euka’s vocal and message stand out even clearer.
“Freedom” is a song that was inspired by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery & so many others who died at the hands of police brutality & and institutional racism. The death of George Floyd was another catalyst in the conversation about the unhealed wounds from centuries of oppression, the legacy of colonialism, inequality & human exploitation and the collective were once again compelled to interrogate the many issues that still are holding black people back and the continued injustice of these crimes.
Singer Juanita Euka says: “As a band we believe in social justice and human rights. We believe in creating movements of liberation like the powerful black liberation movements of the 1960’s. This is a song that denounces the system of oppression, police brutality & institutional racism and that challenges us to look at each other simply as human beings. To lean towards the work of black radical traditions and to re-centre our lost interconnectedness to our natural world and our brothers & sisters as a human race together. While doing this reflection it is important to avoid white saviour tendencies and look at issues of race relations as it is; a social construct concept that infiltrates and distorts all social relations. It’s an invention that manipulates and destroys. Furthermore it’s a concept that needs to be dissolved. We need to raise collective consciousness against injustice.” One line in the song says it all really – “Systemic oppression in a loop of repetition”.
The forthcoming album Esengo (meaning “Joy” in Lingala) is produced by Sonny Johns (Tony Allen and Hugh Masekela / Oumou Sangare / Ali Farke Toure / Polar Bear) and showcases London Afrobeat Collective’s love and respect for the traditions of afrobeat, but with a willingness to create original music that crosses genres.
London Afrobeat Collective are a tight-knit family of musicians from around the world, living in London and united by a love of afrobeat and a desire to take original music to new places. This 8-strong collective from England, Italy, France, Congo, Argentina and New Zealand combine traditional afrobeat and hi-life with funk, jazz, Latin and dub to deliver party music born of their truly global DNA. Taking inspiration from afrobeat father Fela Kuti as well as such artists as Ebo Taylor, Parliament Funkadelic and Havana d’Primera, LAC’s original music and multi-lingual performances in English, Spanish, Lingala and French have won them admirers across Europe and the globe!
“Freedom” out via digital download on January 19th via Canopy Records