1500 copy LTD release ! Silk creen printed edition!
For the latest volume in their Ltd Dance Edition series of 12" singles, Analog Africa has decided to mine the back catalogue of Trinidadian Afro-Caribbean fusionist Brother Valentino. On the A-side you'll find sought-after 1978 single "Stay Up Zimbabwe", a passionate plea for change recorded amidst the bloody civil war between Ian Smith's white minority government and the black majority. Musically, it sits somewhere between Afrobeat, soca and disco, with heavy horn lines rising above a killer groove. On the flipside you'll find the equally as impressive "Ah Wo (Brand New Revolution)", a killer 1980 calypso-disco workout laden with jazzy guitar solos, William Onyeabor style Moog lines, extended drum breaks and typically punchy horns.
Bro. Valentino, Anthony Emrold Phillip, began his illustrious career in 1961 at The Big Bamboo, a minor calypso tent in Port of Spain, Trinidad, before breaking into the professional scene in 1966 at the Lord Kitchener's Caravan calypso tent. After the Black Power revolution of 1970 he transformed into a calypsonian with a conscience and a consciousness who sang on behalf of the poor and downtrodden and was dubbed "The People's Calypsonian". His commitment to lyrics of education, elevation and African consciousness has been his identifying badge and signature. . At the end of the heady decade of the tumultuous 1970's, with the echoes of the Black Power revolution of Trinidad still strongly reverberating, Valentino penned his two most commercially successful calypsoes, 1979's "Stay up Zimbabwe" and 1980's "Ah Wo [Brand New Revolution] both reflections of the revolutionary spirit which had engulfed the Caribbean in the 1970's. 1979 marked the historic date of the Maurice Bishop led Grenadian Revolution and as if to herald this auspicious event Valentino would make it all the way to the coveted national calypso monarch finals with this anti-apartheid anthem. But there was another rhythmic element, the Shango / Orisha blend, which on many an occasion at Valentino's pubic performances, would make audiences, as Trinidadians say locally, "catch the power". Sadly, thus mega hit, did not translate into financial gains for Valentino. He laments "to know your biggest song internationally you never get the immediate returns. The most I get from 'Zimbabwe' was mileage". One year later Valentino again stunned the world with a song which revelled in the new-found fame of the Caribbean, no doubt spurned on by the very Grenadian revolution of one year earlier. "Awo" championed the new mood of the Islands. Both songs, calypsoes flavoured with the newly introduced Soca melody of the mid 1970's, are now given a new lease of life on this record. Voted among the top 50 calypsonians of the 20th century, four of his songs have also been selected in the Top 200 calypsos of that period - "Life is a Stage" , "Barking Dogs" , "Dis Place Nice"  and "Stay up Zimbabwe" , while his 2004 history treatise "Where Calypso went" was selected as Calypso of the Year. Valentino can be assured of a place among the pantheon of calypso luminaries in the hallowed halls of Calypsodom.