This year sees the return of one of our most beloved projects, a collaboration between Ghanain xylophonist Isaac Birituro and UK singer-songwriter and producer Sonny Johns AKA The Rail Abandon.


Having won hearts and minds with their 2019 album Kalba, where proceeds were put towards building a school in the Ghanain village of the same name, the project also received radio play and DJ support from Gilles Peterson, Huey Morgan, Cerys Matthews, Tom Ravenscroft and many more on BBC 6Music as well as a host of DJs and tastemakers worldwide.

Shine Up is the first taste of the forthcoming Lapaz EP, and despite the hurdles of pandemics, war and excessive bureaucracy, Sonny and Isaac have continued to make music together, as the former explains:

“In 2019 Isaac applied for a visa to the UK to launch his album and play his music from the small village of Saru in north Ghana. The UK government however had different ideas, for a number of vague reasons. Apparently having a large extended family isn’t enough for them to think you’re going to return. We got the impression that being a self-employed musician also counted against him – something I know many UK musicians would understand – but we refused to let distance get in the way of us making music.”

Regardless of these obstacles, Shine Up provides a positive message that is much needed in 2022, that “sometimes we find it easier to see what’s wrong in our lives and think that the grass is greener; that it’s easier to blame other people and put it down to always having bad luck than it is to stand up and do something. We may not have complete control over our lives but we can still enlighten ourselves, make changes for the better and do something about the things we can control.”

An uplifting sentiment and some inspirational music to warm us up for more to come from Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon this spring.

Reactions / Radio Play

Radio play from Deb Grant (BBC 6Music), Sarah Ward (Jazz FM), Marcus Agerman Ross (Planet Yes! Totally Wired Radio, UK), Global Riddims Radio (Groovalizacion Radio, Germany), Bob Hill (Totally Wired Radio), Sofa Surfing (Radio WNET, Poland), Dobo Marzov (The 45rpm Show), Elodie Papin (Radio Activ’ 101.9 FM, France); DJ Bunel (National Yle Vega’s Radio, Luxemburg)

“New and shiny.. beautiful music.” Deb Grant (BBC 6Music)

“Isn’t it great too?” Sarah Ward (Jazz FM, UK)

“Nice production & journey……LOVE!” DJ Bob Jones (Totally Wired Radio, UK soul legend)

“Nice track!” DJ Angola (USA)

“Always unexpected elements with this band and here the vocals are sparse but the chop guitar and horn lines keep the interest. Loving it and will be playing it.” John Warr (Totally Radio, Brighton)

“I love Isaac Birituru and he Rail Abandon… This is lovely – beautiful fusion and so listenable as well as being great to play out for dancing.” Debbie Golt (Resonance FM, UK)

“Full air support on my shows! Immediate airplay” Tiago Santos (Radio Oxigneio, Portugal)

“Love the mood of this track. The vocal is class and just sits brilliantly on the percussion.” Bob Hill (Totally Wired Radio, UK)

“Cool!” Karsten John (Vinyl Vibes, Germany)

“…such a beautiful tune! Full support!” Sven Thomschke (Radio Z, Germany)

“Brilliant.” John Brent (Dusk Dubs, UK)

“Afrobeat jazzy relax superbe” Jean Marc Baehler (Couleur3, Switzerland)

“Yesss Issac. You got something special going on.” Russ Jones (Hackney GT / SOAS Radio, UK)

“Delightful energy and vibe.” Velanche Stewart (Urban Landscapes Radio Show, USA)

“Sweet.” Amrisha Prashar (Radar Radio, UK)

“Love this, will be playin on this weeks show.” Michael Shea (Kane FM, UK)

“On air this week!” Olgierd (Sofa Surfing, Poland)

“Love this project and their new tune sounds wicked and funky. WIll drop it for sure, big up!” Harper (Czworka Polskie Radio, Poland)

“FULL SUPPORT – this is massive.” Lee Bright (Tangential Music, UK)

“A stunning opening and sunshine filled track!” Mr Lob (Australia)

“Great – will play.” DJ Lamp (Radio Reverb, Brighton)

“Love it!” Veronique Prebolin (Radio Krim, France)

“Awesome.” Rado Tomek (NU Spirit, Bratislava, Slovakia)

“Inspiring!” Dobromir Marzov (Bulgarian National Radio)

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

“Brings comfort to your ears.” DJ Abbo (Stomp Radio, UK)

“good to hear this, nice horns love it top tune!” Tim Stirrup (Tropical Pressure, UK)

“Beautiful mid- ground between The Soothsayers, Dele Sosimi and Hardkandy – perfect Wah Wah 45s. Shine (Onwards) and Up(wards).” Gerry Hectic (Futuristica Music, UK)

“Solid single.” Alex Ruder (USA)

“Brilliant” Tony Heynen (Global Riddims, Belgium)

“Quality tune! Great Afro vibes” Peter McLennan (BaseFM, New Zealand)

“Another great track by Isaac!” Marcio Martinez (BBE, Last Day On Earth, Brazil)

“Stormer. Vocal is amazing but that groove is a killler.” DJ Expression (What’s Hot Radio, UK)

“Great production work!!!!” Markus Milz (Further In Fusion, Germany)

“Great track” Olivier Cavaller (De La Bonne Musique, France)

“YESSSSIRRRRR!” Mike Stukes (Mystic Vybes, WHCR 90.3FM, NYC, USA)

“Nice one!” DJ Junior (Record Breakin’, USA)

“Nice one.” Robert Lochmann (Radio X, Germany)

“Authentic music for free spirits. Digging the horn section, the sax especially.” Rene Josquin (Format Analog, Berlin)

“RAW AF” Mr. Shivver (UK)


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