Sunday, 13 February 2011

WER'E THE BAND PART 7-Africa Centre

Soul II Soul a collective of young black Londoners who made it all the way to Trans Atlantic success. Known for hits like ’Back to Life’ ‘Keep on Moving’ and ‘Get a life’. They were globally successful and proved something about free enterprise and an understanding of the market.
the moment they made it clear they had something
To us they will always be remembered for Sunday night at The Africa Centre; and in 1986 when it started, it was the Greatest weekly Club night ever seen in London, no doubt about it.

There motto, rather simple, but a positive message for the time

“A smiling face a bumping Bass for a loving race”

Why was Sunday night at The Africa Centre so good? Many reasons. Soul II Soul had been around for years playing at clubs parties and one offs throughout London. The brand of music played; infectious. The atmosphere at their performances; friendly and vibrant. Their audience; appreciative of good music and mixed.

The fact that there was a gap for a Sunday night Club night was obvious but no one took up the challenge. Soul II Soul did and their choice of The Africa Centre in Covent garden was inspirational. Location known to all accessible and the right size. How I wished that we had thought of it.

It’s fair to say that Soul II Soul bought to the attention of all that attended the quality of what came to be known as ‘rare groove’. The Club scene of the time was dominated with smooth production and commercialism. At The Africa centre it was Maceo Parker, James Brown, Vicki Anderson, Fred Wesley, Tommy Stewart, Kool & the Gang, Fatback Band, Archie Bell, Esther Williams, Gwen Macrea, Lonnie Liston Smith, Roy Ayers and a plethora of eclectic unheard and fondly remembered music.

The atmosphere in the place was something special and I honestly can’t recall any other club like it. For the period that it ran Sunday nights were defined by it. Inevitably huge queues formed which members like us were lucky to not have to join. Yet it did not feel (and was not) elitist.

Peaceful and loving was the atmosphere without hippy accouterments or the drugs that defined the rave scene that came after- a scene that I took as the death of club culture as I had known it. Those night made us all feel positive and along with The Cat in the Hat and Norman Jay's Shake and finger pop, gave everyone a taste of the plus side of the nigh life world.
one of the Sunday night anthems
When Soul II Soul started making their own music it was the end of Africa centre Sunday, but we were genuinely excited by the prospect of success for them. And so it proved, spectacularly so. Their leader Trevor Beresford Romeo aka Jazzie B, born not too far from me, went on to become a successful entrepreneur, fantastic individual DJ and producer and received an OBE.
and another

Soul II Soul proved that to be young gifted and black was where it was at.

To capture a taste of Sunday nights there is a compilation album available

Africa, Centre Of The World (Excerpt)
Funky Rasta
Night People
Don't Tell It
Sweet Power, Your Embrace
Faith, Hope & Charity
Shout (U.S. Remix)
Soul II Soul 'Special' #1
Cross The Tracks (We Better Go Back)
Ripple  - 
I Don't Know What It Is But It Sure Is Funky
Tell Me What To Do
Roy Ayers  - 
Life Is Just A Moment (Part 2)
Movin' In The Right Direction
Music Is My Sanctuary
Soul II Soul 'Special' #2
Heart's Desire
Ramp (3)  - 
Everybody Loves The Sunshine / 'The Raid'
album link

No comments:

Post a Comment

having said that;