This summer sees the return of the unique collaboration between Ghanain xylophonist Isaac Birituro and British singer-songwriter Sonny Johns, AKA The Rail Abandon. Having created something of a buzz back in 2019 with their debut album Kalba – gaining support along the way from Gilles Peterson, Cerys Matthews and Tom Ravenscroft to name but a few – after something of a hiatus, the duo teased us earlier this spring with the Lapaz EP in preparation for their new LP, entitled Small Small, due in July.

Fún Tony, the second single to be taken from the album, features UK Afrobeat Ambassador and Nigerian Afrobeat musical maestro Dele Sosimi. Having grown up under the tutelage of Fela Kuti, Dele went on to become the Afrobeat legend’s musical director for his Egypt 80 band, and has since released numerous albums and collaborations, most recently with us on Wah Wah 45s. Fún Tony is a tribute to another musical director of Fela’s band, the late, great Tony Allen.


The drummer, composer and songwriter, who sadly passed away in April 2020, was not only one of Dele’s greatest influences, but also a dear friend. The opportunity to write about their friendship in collaboration with Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon was something very special, as Dele explains:

“When I got the invitation to participate on this track, it was just what my soul needed – an avenue to give a personal shout out to Tony. Translated into the Yoruba language as ‘Ikira Fún Tony’.”

Small Small is a very Ghanaian saying, a direct translation to English, which is used in a wide variety of contexts to mean ‘bit by bit,’ ‘one step at a time’ or ‘slow and steady’. Sonny was first introduced to the phrase on his first trip to Ghana in 2016, when he met Isaac in Kalba, and the phrase popped up over and over ever since.

“The album is about loss, frustration and struggle, but it’s also about the light at the end of the tunnel; about overcoming difficulties to find a brighter future and no matter what separates us, whether that be language, culture, continents or boarders, when we listen to each other and learn from each other, there’s really not much that separates us. So from everyone involved, here’s to a brighter future.” Sonny Johns

Radio Play & Reactions

Radio play from Yolanda Brown (Jazz FM, UK); Sarah Ward (Jazz FM, UK); Bobafatt (Soho Radio, UK), Jazzcat (Ness Radio, Italy), Tiago Santos (Radio Oxigenio, Portugal); Afrobeats Channel, WDR Radio, Germany

“A track on my playlist that I can’t stop playing.. lovin it!” Yolanda Brown (Jazz FM, UK)

“So Good.” Toshio Matsuura (Ex-UFO / Worldwide FM / Inter FM 897, Japan)

“Class tune!” Tony Nwachuku (Attica Blues, CD-R, UK)

“What a treat!! This is interesting as Dele has such a distinctive style of his own and I love how the traditional and electric keys and the lightness of touch here which has found an exciting way to combine each other’s signature sounds. . The trumpet is genius and makes it even more magic. I am loving this …. Wonderful.” Debbie Golt (Resonance FM, UK)

“Brilliant. Best yet!” John Warr (Afrobase, Totally Radio, UK)

“Cool track!” DJ Angola (Space Ibiza / Various, USA)

“Love it. After the great Wiyaala link pop, another great collaboration from Issac and WW45s.” DJ Lubi (Totally Wired Radio / Hi-Fi Club / The Wardrobe, Leeds, UK)

“Superb track.” Bob Hill (Totally Wired Radio, UK)

“The master Dele always adds the right seasoning.” Chris Greenwood (Mi-Soul Radio / SOAS Radio / Louie Louie, UK)

“Love it, thank you.” Jan Hagenkoetter (Infracom! Records, Germany)

“This is great afrobeat! Immediate airplay on my morning radio show. Radio support as usual for sure.” Tiago Santos (Radio Oxigenio, Portugal)

“Afrobeat bien cuivré et superbe chanteuse.” Jean Marc Baehler (Radio Television Suisse Romande Couleur3, Switzerland)

“Dele + Isaac what a pleasure!!!” Veronique Prebolin (Radio Krim, France)

“Best album of 2020 and they keep delivering.” Russ Jones (Hackney GT / SOAS Radio, UK)

“Always delivering.” DJ Bunuel (Radio Helsinki, Finland)

“Lively warm Afrobeat grooves with a jazzy touch.” Rolf Aeschimann (Openbroadcast / Red Cat, Zurich, Switzerland)

“Such a great tune!” Nuno di Ross (Radio Oxigenio, Portugal)

“As expected, another great new track from Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon.” Sven Tomschke (Radio Z 95.8, Germany)

“Sweeeeeeet!” Olivier Cavaller (De La Bonne Musique, France)

“Yeah, can see this one changing things up… nicely done.” Steve KIW (1BTN, UK)

“Bouncy!” Dave Bassin (KUSF / Freefall Radio, USA)

“Wouldn’t expect anything else from the superb WAH WAH label!! what a belter loving the depth, powerful horn section, can’t wait to see the crowds reaction at next Discolypso!!” Simon Ham (The Deaf Institute / Soup Kitchen / Band On The Wall, Manchester, UK)

“Cannot wait for the album! A must play !!” Olgierd (Sofa Surfing, Poland)

“Involving groove.” Cesare Cera (Bologna Uno, Italy)

“Lovely dedication to the great Tony Allen from an inspiring collaboration. An uplifting celebration full of positivity and summer vibes. Can’t wait to drop it in a field this festival season.” Matt Rockit Soul (1BTN, UK)

“Love it, in memory of Tony.” Amar Kabouche (Fauve Radio, Hong Kong)

“Well, here’s a holy trinity of Isaac Birituro, The Rail Abandon and Dele Sosimi on Wah Wah 45 label with a killer Afro-summer jazz-funk dance track, ‘Fún Tony’ gaining support from Gerry Hectic with an album to follow! Life is great when this is in touching distance. Total ‘Fún Tony’.” Gerry Hectic (Futuristica Music, UK)

“Dele Sosimi delivers again. Great stuff..” Phil Gray (KPSU Radio Portland, USA)

“This is such a powerful musical statement.” Jamie Renton (Chilli Fried, UK)

“Amazing!” Enrique Domenech (Freeform Podcasts, Spain)

“Timeless afrobeat funkiness.” Derek Rath (KPFK, LA, USA)

“DOPE.” Mr Shiver (Various, London, UK)

“Absolutely nice.” Francis Gay (Funkhaus Europa Radio, Germany)

“Love this. Vibes all over.” Paul Knight (Reform Radio, UK)

“Awesome.” Tony Heyen (Global Rddims, Brussels, Belgium)

“Brilliant… as per!” The Crate Invader (Point Blank Radio, UK)

“Quality tune!!!” Markus Milz (Radio Corax, Germany)

“Nice single.” Alex Ruder (KEXP Radio, USA)

“Great.” Jim Wood (8 Track Music, UK)

“I love it!” Marcio Martinez (BBE, Brasil)

“Dele pops up again! He was back in York a few weeks ago, this time guesting with Newen Afrobeat to an ecstatic audience. The latest Isaac Birituro/Rail Abandon recordings are superb, perfect to get the dancefloor moving but great radio too. Loving the rhythms on this track, really kicking, and a great trumpet solo. We’re off on a road trip to the north of Scotland next week for a couple of gigs so I’ll be road-testing these latest tunes!” Drummie Dave (Various, UK)




There are no reviews yet.