This Sunday at The Forge in Camden we welcome back the London Latin don Mr Boogie AKA The Vinyl Junkie to the Dig A Little turntables. A regular fixture in our programming in recent months, read on for the full skinny on one of our favourite selectors.
Born into the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the French capital and with parents of Ugandan descent, Mr Boogie was never going to be the type of person who just played any old record. Having spent his formative years split between Paris and West Africa, in his teens he made the move to the UK where he set about putting his burgeoning love for music to good use. A keen traveller with a love for a dusty basement or two, Mr Boogie took full advantage of frequent stopovers in cities such as New York and Havana to dig deep into the vast history of Latin American music and beyond. As his record collection grew, bustling now with killer selections from a wider catalogue of classic funk, soul, boogie, Jazz and continental rhythms, he sought to perfect his craft in public, and soon found himself installed as a resident DJ at the much loved salsa sessions at Shaftesbury Avenue’s Bar Rumba.
Since then he’s made his own distinctive mark on the capital’s dance scene, running his own Soulsa® Productions music event, promotion and management company, promoting his own ‘Melting Pot’ event (currently residing the last Friday of every month at our own local Forest Tavern!) and hosting its associated radio show (monthly on Shoreditch Radio). Of course, with such an amiable personality and a bag full of nice tunes, his name is never too far away from other DJ bills where he has played special guest and resident slots in and around London and beyond, as well as making appearances at The London Jazz Festival, London Latin American Film Festival and even BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend!
We’re very much looking forward to welcoming him back behind the Forge turntables this Sunday for the evening DJ slot, playing records a little before, after and in between the band sets which this month will feature Jessica Lauren on keys, Jason Smpson on bass, Gaetano Di Giacomo on drums and special guest Dave Orchanct on trumpet for two sets of lively Soul Jazz!
In the meanwhile however, and as a little precursor to the main event, we asked Mr Boogie to share a few tunes with a few back stories. Here’s what he had to say…
# 1: Gary Bartz “Music Is My Sanctuary”
I had been to New York on several occasions prior to that but this was my first proper digging trip to the Big Apple. My budget had long been reached but on the recommendation of a friend and against my better judgement, I popped into Second Hand Rose’s Music – a record shop located within spitting distance of Union Square. Gary Bartz was a name that was already familiar to me but it was that unmistakable Mizell Brothers production, particularly audible on ‘Carnaval de l’Esprit’, that helped seal the deal. Skipping lunch that day to get that record was worth the sacrifice. Some may choose to disagree but for a vinyl junkie like me, it was money well spent.
#2: Cymande “Bra”
On a separate New York trip, I stumbled across Sound Fix – a Brooklyn record store that is sadly no longer in existence. Various reissues of Cymande’s self titled LP have been floating around for years. The limited edition on clear blue vinyl however had, until then, remained elusive. The record in question was sitting on a shelf high up and my reaction was almost instant. Like Matt Lucas’s character in Little Britain, I blurted out to the guy behind the counter: “I want that one!” To date, it’s the most I have ever splurged on a piece of wax.
#3: Beny More “Beny Canta Y Cuba Baila”
I was first introduced to ‘El Barbaro Del Ritmo’ (The wild man of the rhythm) via a British Guinness commercial from 2000 that featured a Snail Race. Little did I know at the time that I was about to catch the Latin music bug. While visiting Cuba a mere couple of years later, I was awakened to Beny Moré’s musical legacy. Feeling compelled to add an original recording of his to my collection, I found myself bartering away with an opportunistic street vendor. He drove a hard bargain but despite my limited knowledge of the local vernacular, the issue was amicably settled over a fistful of Cuban Pesos.
#4: Ronny Jordan “The Antidote”
This was one of my earliest vinyl purchases and dates back to my teenage years spent in Folkestone on the South East coast of Kent. Hummingbird was one of the few decent record shops in town and a favoured meeting point for local DJs and music enthusiasts.
I was still very much in my Hip Hop phase but had slowly started to gravitate towards Jazz. Very few artists on these shores could marry Hip Hop and Jazz better than Ronny Jordan. His funky and tasteful reinterpretation of So What eventually led me to its original composer – Miles Davis. The rest, as the proverbial saying goes, is history.
This is as much an ode to the now defunct record shop as it is to the late guitarist who was seen by some as Britain’s answer to George Benson.