Listen To The Wind

£23.99
Be With
BEWITH084LP
Format: 
LP

Caiphus Semenya, AKA Mr Letta Mbulu, is a South African legend, and Listen To The Wind, his iconic debut album, is simply a superb modern-soul/boogie album. It’s also incredibly rare, especially in good condition, so Be With is delighted to present this reissue.

Now a revered composer, musician, and arranger, Caiphus left apartheid South Africa in the 60s for self- imposed exile in Southern California together with his wife, Letta Mbulu. Settling in Los Angeles he started working with the likes of Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba and other exiled and semi-exiled South african artists, as well as, of course, his wife Letta.

Caiphus also found himself working with and composing for a broad range of jazz and pop artists, including Lou Rawls, Nina Simone and Cannonball Adderley. His facility with both jazz and African forms served him well. His LA stay was also the beginning of an ongoing collaboration with Quincy Jones, the fruits of which can be tasted in Caiphus’s African compositions for the scores to Roots and Spielberg’s adaptation of The Color Purple.

Given his decades of work behind the scenes, it’s no surprise that it took until 1982 for Caiphus to get around to putting out the first album of his own. But all that experience shows. Listen To The Wind is a deeply impressive synthesis of early 80s US production and instrumentation together with his traditional South African musical roots.

It’s stylistically diverse but the ingredients are never diluted. There are elements of boogie, soul, funk and jazz, all shot through with pan-African flavour, and moving effortlessly from uptempo floor fillers to more meditative, slower soulful tracks. Produced by Caiphus himself, he makes full use of a stellar line up of session musicians including Nathan East, Michael Stanton, Sonny Burke and Paulinho DaCosta. And of course, there are Letta’s show-stopping vocals. To our ears, Listen To The Wind is just one big party, and lord knows we need that more than ever right now.

Released 18th September

Tracklisting: 
Angelina
Play With Fire
Umoya
Without You
Ziph’inkomo
Gumba Boogie