The word “eparapo” means “join forces” in Yoruba, the language of Afrobeat. It’s also the title of a track by the late, great Tony Allen – drummer for Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti and lifelong friend and mentor of our very own “Afrobeat Ambassador”, Dele Sosimi. Not only did Tony help to invent Afrobeat, he always looked for ways to push the boundaries, never content with recreating what had gone before but constantly expanding and developing the genre. This project hopes to pay homage to his legacy, and that of Fela Kuti himself. Its aim is to innovate, fuse and diversify while still retaining the essence of the music.
The force behind Eparapo is bassist, composer & producer Suman Joshi. He has been a member of Dele Sosimi’s Afrobeat Orchestra for nearly a decade and has performed on stage with the likes of Tony Allen, Seun Kuti, Ginger Baker & Laura Mvula. He is also bassist with UK jazz ensemble Collocutor and fusion project Cubafrobeat.
Featured vocalist on both original tracks, and remixes, is the aforementioned Dele Sosimi – keyboard player and musical director for Fela’s Egypt 80 as well as Wah Wah 45s recording artist on both his solo material and the recent collaboration with house music producer, Medlar.
The rest of the group comprises of bandleader of Afrik Bawantu and percussionist for Ibibio Sound Machine and Keleketla, Afla Sackey; highly rated UK jazz vocalist Sahra Gure; saxophonist, composer, producer and bandleader of the renowned forward thinking jazz outfit Collocutor, Tamar Obsorn; keyboard player, producer and front man for Lokkhi Terra and Cubafrobeat, Kishon Khan; one of the UK’s finest and most in demand trumpeters, Graeme Flowers, who has played with Quincy Jones, Gregory Porter and many more; trombonist for Bellowhead and mainstay of Dele’s Afrobeat Orchestra, Justin Thurgur; and finally drummer for Steamdown and Sons of Kemet, as well as the man behind the Nache project, Eddie Wakili Hick.
This track was once more recorded remotely during lockdown and features an all star lineup of world class musicians from the UK Afrobeat and jazz scenes. Members of the Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra, Keleketla, Sons of Kemet and beyond have come together to create this powerhouse of a band. They encapsulate the meaning of “eparapo” and “join forces” to fight a common enemy in the shape of corrupt and divisive ideologies.
From London To Lagos was inspired by a talk given by writer Roberto Saviano at the Hay Book Festival in 2016, just before the Brexit referendum. In it he described the UK as the “most corrupt country in the world”. This was a reminder of how the leaders of so-called developed countries, conveniently suffering from colonial amnesia, still point disparagingly at the rest of the world and talk of “endemic corruption” and “Banana Republics”. All the while the ill-gotten gains of organised crime syndicates, corrupt multinationals and military juntas across the globe are funnelled through financial centres such as London. Same trouble, different methods, greater scale. Of course the best way to divert the population from all this is to find distractions such as populist leaders who declare their countries “world beating” and scapegoats such as refugees, immigrants and other members of the underclasses. It has always been thus but it doesn’t always have to be so.
Its remix comes from WheelUP – the moniker of West London broken beat revivalist Danny Wheeler, who here delivers something of a smoother straight up Afro flavoured house workout that’s sure to be heard across dance floors and festivals this summer. The Tru Thoughts signed artist adds gliding synths and tight drums that ride the original’s hypnotic melody perfectly and make for a future club classic.
Black Lives Matter was obviously inspired by the movement of the same name and was the first track to be released by Eparapo in late 2020. Dele’s voice tell the story slave ships leaving West Africa in the fifteenth century, the brutal conditions that were experienced on board, and the continued suffering of the African diaspora today. As always, half of the artist’s income for this song will be donated to the NAACP – a civil rights organisation in the United States, created for the advancement of black people by means of following judicial policies.
The remix here comes from Birmingham based producer signed to Jalapeno Records, Sam Redmore. Sam’s love for breaks and beats comes into play well here, subtly chopping up the original to create a bass worrying version that still sends that very important message of justice and equality – Black Lives Matter!
Radio Play & Reactions
Radio play by Jamz Supernova (BBC 6Music); Cerys Matthews (BBC 6Music); Aly Gillani (Bandcamp Weekly); DJ Kobayashi (Soho Radio, UK); Jazzcat (Ness Radio, Italy); Tiago Santos (Radio Oxigenio, Portugal)
“Powerful.” Cerys Matthews (BBC 6Music)
“That WheelUp remix is fire. Great release through and through, though.” Tina Edwards (Worldwide FM, UK)
“Nice mix!” Toshio Matsuura (Ex-UFO / Inter FM / Worldwide FM, Japan)
“Sam Redmore mix has legs! Like it.” Mark Future Sounds (DJ Mag, UK)
“Great tracks!” DJ Angola (NYC, USA)
“Dope!” Inkswel (Tokyo Dawn / BBE, Australia)
“Lovin’ the production & the journey… Yes that works very nice.” Dr. Bob Jones (Soul legend / Totally Wired Radio, UK)
“Lovely!” Psycut Vince (Jazz Attitudes / 22 Tracks, Paris)
“Two quality remixes that bring that extra dance step to two tracks that I loved from their original release.” Steve Johns (Solar Radio, UK)
“Love Dele and of course WheelUP – Great combo.” Jasmine de la Paz (Tru Thoughts, USA)
“Great remixes for one of the regular presence on my radishows.” Tiago Santos (Radio Oxigenio, Portugal)
“Sam Redmore remix of BLM is brilliant. Pushing the tempo up has made it more dancefloor friendly.” DJ Lubi (Totally Wired Radio / The Hi-Fi Club / The Wardrobe, Leeds)
“Well done!” Lorenzo Aldino (Jockey Club, Ibiza)
“Top remix of Black Lives Matter from Sam Redmore, and brings this strong track to the fore with a hard edge production treatment. Great release.” John Warr (Totally Radio, UK)
“Sensational release.” DJ Osric (RTRFM, Australia)
“LUSH! will spin on Soho Radio tomorrow.” DJ Kobayashi (Soho Radio / Batov Records, UK)
“A superb release! Love both originals and the reworks by Sam Redmore and WheelUP. Full support!” Doc Best (Radio Z 95.8FM, Germany)
“Wheel up mix adds fire to the track.” Ash Selector (Solar Radio, UK)
“Heavy Afrobeat vibes.” Chris Knight (Astrojazz, Scotland)
“Loving this!” DJ Junior (Eavesdrop Radio / Record Breakin’, USA)
“I like the original versions as much as the remixes.” Veronica Prebolin (Radio Krim, France)
“Eparapo are so very important and a great partner to what Dele does with his band that this has grown out of. I love the lyrics and the structure. LESSONS and DELIGHT.” Debbie Golt (Resonance FM, UK)
“Great stuff!” Martijn Barkuis (Jazzrdeville, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
“Fabulous! Happy to see Dele going from strength to strength.” Dan Deep Tenor City (Soho Radio, UK)
“Fresh remixes.” Alex Ruder (KEXP Seattle, USA)
“Two superb originals with equally superb remixes.” Bob Hill (Totally Wired Radio, UK)
“Love it.” Animisiewasz (Forum / Greatest Designer On The Planet, Kracow, Poland)
“Wicked! All bases covered on this.” Pete Isaac (Jelly Jazz, UK)
“Stunningly beautiful, needed and will go straight into my sets and radio shows… every mix kicks and the original is the bomb.” DJ Mr Lob (Melbourne, Australia)
“It’s too easy/lazy to say Fela every time a decent Afrobeat record arrives in the inbox but the Sam Redmore remix is pretty damn smart.” Steve KIW (1BTN, Brighton, UK)
“Superb Sam Redmore Rework!!!” Markus Milz (Radio Corax 95.9 Germany)
“Boooombs!” Dob Marzov (Radio Varna, Bulgaria)
“Great bunch of remixes!!!” Cesare Cera (Radio Bologna Uno, Italy)
“Great choice of remixers brings nice variety to the project.” Paul Knight (Reform Radio, UK)
“Great package.” Rado Tomek (NU Spirit Club, Bratislava, Slovakia)
“Great stuff – will play.” DJ Lamp (Coalition, Brighton, UK)
“Summer tune!” Olivier Cavaller (De La Bonne Musique, France)
“Sam Redmore Remix is FIRE!” Herma Puma (Various, UK)
“Funky!! Lagos vibes.” Jean Marc Baehler (Radio Television Suisse Romande, Couleur3, Switzerland)
“Sounding great. Loved the earlier BLM single and this new WheelUp remix of FLTL is sounding cool.. will get some radio and DJ support from me.” Paris Pompour (Groovescooter / 2SER, Australia)
“Lovely EP, superb remixes. Love these tunes! Thank you!!” Kid Hops (KEXP 90.3FM, Seattle, USA)
“Love the arrangement and production in the original ‘From London to Lagos’. Digging the Sam Redmore mix of the other one too. It’s just a better tempo for what I do DJwise. He’s pulled off some lovely production tricks like the semitone shifts about two thirds of the way through. Always great to hear a remixer really enhance a tune whilst staying true to the feel of the track. Nice work.” DJ Griff (Jelly Jazz, UK)
“Very interesting release!” Maken (Polish National Radio, Poland)
“Massive.” Amar Kabouche (Fauve Radio, Hong Kong)
“2 great mixes.” Robert Lochmann (Radio X, Germany)
“Great tunes!” Olgierd (Sofa Surfing, Poland)
“Beautiful sound… brilliantly superb work.” Roberta Reach Out (Totally Wired Radio, UK)
“Afrobeat !!!!!!! Ouhhhhhhh bigggg!” Jean Marc Baehler (Radio Television Suisse Romande Couleur3, Switzerland)
“All brilliant, thinking original is great but does Mr Redmore get a Shrine vibe on & a BLM ‘reminder’ of the truth. Well done all WahWah45ers.” Gerry Hectic (Jazz Chronicles, UK)
“Strong release – all four rock!” Cal Gibson (Various, UK)
“Great tunes with some excellent remixes.” Jim McMaster (TNGC Radio, UK)
“Lush!” Ross Wakefield (Part-Time Heroes, UK)
“Great music!!! Beautiful remixes!!!” Marcio Martinez (BBE / Last Day On Earth, Brasil)
“Impressive!” Jon Freer (Various, UK)
“When I see an Eparapo release in my Bandcamp notifications it’s like a knee-jerk reaction – step up and order immediately.. WheelUP Mix is a total floor-filler-killer and I’ll be trying it out on the groovy guys of Cromarty & Firth on our Tropica! DJ road trip gigs this weekend. Who could resist?” Drummie Dave (Tropica!, UK)
“Love the Sam Redmore mix!” Jamie Renton (Chilli Fried, UK)
“Great tunes. AFRO tease.” The Abbots (Stompradio.com, UK)
“Love this, thanks.” Dan Playlister (Playlister.fm, UK)