Sir Shina Peters may perhaps finest be identified for opening Strut Records’ monumental compilation Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump. He did so with “Yabis,” a slinky slice of Afro-funk that our personal Marty Sartini Garner described as “recalling ? and the Mysterians covering ‘I Shot the Sheriff.’” Sick.
Earlier this year, Strut reissued the deeply uncommon 1986 album, Sewele, an early solo outing for Sir Shina Peters. Along with His International Stars, he leans into languid astral funk, a gradually brewed groove billowing outward into 4 functions that cast an ecstatic juju Afrobeat. The record has a type of strange outsider art beauty about it that is welcoming and inviting in its eccentricity. Major buoyant rhythms humming about streaks of strange nocturnal neon splendor. The Stars’ spaced-out soul mingling casually with their earnest and lo-fi strategy to highlife garage rock.
The band is dialed in but in no rush to get anyplace, gradually ascending toward the spiritual heights of some alternate juju zone. They comply with instinctual, wild trails into a patient harmony: womping beats and percussive vocals moving elegantly, expanding and contracting in concert with the path of the groove, the odd, momentary galactic riff sending out waves from some far-off corner. Sinewy strikes of dazzling synth and echoing drums colliding into every other with a ragged charm and large-hearted sincerity. They’re all in on this, and as such the music feels joyous and devotional. Even additional so in its left-field and humble candor. Languid hymns showering lightly down from their elevated state. Sometimes sending down a bolt of lightning. words/c depasquale
P.S. – Strut’s new reissue of Sewele characteristics original artwork and a new liner note by Sir Shina Peters telling the story of the album and his function beyond.