If you love house music, you will at some point have stumbled across the pounding polyrhythms of Osunlade's Afro-Cuban dance music. For anyone curious about the man behind these riddims, we've delved in a little deeper...
With family roots in St Louis and Chicago – a place known for pioneering jazz, blues and rock 'n' roll and home to artists such as Miles Davis and Chuck Berry – Osunlade was surrounded by soul culture from an early age. But it was only when he moved to LA that his interest in music production got serious.
Eventually, though, dealing with the cold-blooded music business led to spiritual emancipation and he found the religion of Ifa. It's an ancestral culture based on nature, derives from the Yoruba tribes of Africa and was practiced by the slaves during the Diaspora to America.
After two years in LA, Osunlade eventually moved to New York and returned to making music with new-found purpose and spiritual balance. Yoruba Records, which he founded in 1999, was the result – and the label found a foothold in the international club circuit, garnering fans from Cape Town to Puerto Rico to Paris. Yoruba Records is, says Osunlade, music created to elevate the soul.
In between his DJ and label work, Osunlade has produced for and worked with artists as varied as Patti Labelle, Césarià Évora, Roy Ayers, Jazzy Jeff and Masters At Work. And as the worldwide success of his label grew, so did the demand for Osunlade. In 2001 he released his debut album on the respected Soul Jazz Records. Paradigm quickly became one of the biggest house albums of that year and he was dubbed the messiah of ancestral house music. All hail, we say.
Listen to a session with Osunlade at Red Bull Music Academy Radio:
Jimi Tenor & Kabu Kabu Green Grass (Sahko/PUU)
Davy Sicard Ker Maron (Unknown)
Mina Un Bacio E Troppo Poco (BMG)
Al Foster Mixed Roots (Columbia)
Louie Ramirez Ungawa (Fania)
Muhsinah Yiy (CDR)
Ivan Lins Palhacos E Reis (EMI Odeon)
Zo Star Of The Story (Unknown)
Bill Withers Can We Pretend? (CBS)
Erykah Badu The Healer (Motown)
Sly & The Family Stone Trip To Your Heart (Epic)
Beady Belle Tranquil Flight (Jazzland)
Radiohead Pyramid Song (Parlophone)
Me'shell N'degeocello Deuteronomy (Maverick)
Thanassis Papakonstantinou Oute Trigmos... (Unknown)
Aquarian Dream Do You Realize? (Warner)
Sting Why Don't You Answer? (A&M)
Osunlade's next DJ gigs are...
- July 22, Chicago, Illinois @ The Mid
- July 23, Toronto, Ontario @ Pyrography Celebration, Sunnyside Pavillion
- July 29-30, Petrcane, Croatia @ SunBeat Festival, The Garden
- The return of Pete Rock
- Red Bull's Dance Music Blog in Las Vegas
- More Yoruba with drums hero Tony Allen