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by Don Crispy

Dancelibre Christmas Special

Bah Samba

While Latin house is usually associated with New York, the scene has wide roots. On Sunday at Womb, London-based vocal house unit Bah Samba will be heading up a Christmas Dancelibre event to demonstrate the UK take on the sound.

Formed in the mid-'90s, Bah Samba centers around the vocal stylings of Alice Russell, with keyboardist Julian Bendall, drummer Tristan Banks and bassist Ed Meyer filling out the band.

They first garnered critical acclaim with the 1996 single, “Carnival,” later releasing the house anthem “Reach Inside,” which became the first track on Dimitri From Paris' popular Playboy Mansion mix CD.

LTJ Bukem

Bah Samba released their debut self-titled full-length album earlier this year, achieving a harmonious blend of lusty deep house and breezy samba rhythms filled out by the use of live horns, xylophones and percussion.

Joining Bah Samba will be one of the recent bright lights of New York's Latin house scene in the form of DJ Osunlade. As producer, Osunlade has worked with Musiq, Patti LaBelle, India Arie, and Japan's Kyoto Jazz Massive, just to name a few.

In 1999, he established his Yoruba label and began to release his own deep house tracks while cultivating emerging artists. An ordained priest in the African religion of Ifa, Osunlade's 2001 debut album Paradigm (Soul Jazz), was an excellent summation of his spiritually uplifting, soul-influenced deep house productions. Filling out the evening will be an appearance by Puerto Rican percussionist Gabriele Poso…

Meanwhile, on the same night over at Yellow, a longtime friend to Tokyo's drum 'n' bass scene begins what will be an occasional residency.

As an artist and also as founder of the essential Good Looking label, LTJ Bukem was responsible for bringing jazz influences and a sense of space into the sometimes cluttered rhythms of drum 'n' bass through his groundbreaking Logical Progressions recordings of the mid-'90s.

Bukem has been a familiar face in Tokyo, with many well-attended appearances at Liquid Room's Drum and Bass Sessions events, often in the company of MC Conrad (who will of course be at Yellow). He has also nurtured Japanese talent, with DJ/producer Makoto acting as his Good Looking man on the ground.
The connection explains the upcoming Good Looking residency, which Makoto is staging as a platform for the label's Japan activities, which include last year's release of Makoto's debut, Makoto Instrumental Mix.

The 24-year old Makoto described how his drum 'n' bass dreams came to fruition. “I sent a demo to Good Looking, and got a reply back from Bukem straight away,” he said. “Bukem replied with a letter telling me to make the beat less frantic and to make changes to the arrangement. We then started to contact each other and discuss my music. This led to me signing to Good Looking.”

Dancelibre Christmas Special@Womb, 12/22, 10pm, ¥3,500. Tel: 5459-0039.
Progression Sessions@Yellow, 10/22, 10pm, ¥3,000 (adv), ¥3,500 (door). Tel: 3479-0690

Bah Samba Credits: Dancelibre
LTJ Bukem credit: Good Looking Organisation