Possibly the best thing a compilation can do is open the door to a world of music that aside from being unknown to you, is high grade in quality, diverse and open to interpretation in as much as you are left with some if not many questions… particularly when the selected tracks are all from the same record label… When did they start..? Why did they start? Who was behind it? Where did the artists come from? What was their inspiration? These are only a few… by the time you get to the end of the eight tracks included on Jicco Funk Volume One… there may be more…
Some background or at least as much as we know: in the early 1970s thru to the 90s, Onitcha was one of Nigeria’ most important cities sat on the banks of the river Niger about half way between Benin City and Enugu. Aside from the commerce Onitcha was also an important centre for music production, live music thrived and in turn the city had a nightlife which embraced music… it’s where labels like Tabansi and many other smaller companies had their headquarters. Its where in the late 60’s, the label Jicco was established , an enterprise which would commercialize Kenyan and Congolese music in Nigeria.
By the mid to late 70’s Jicco opened itself to new projects, launching a number of sub-labels, from Vox Africa to Guy , more specialized in Highlife , Native and Soukous Music to Jicco Funk which was producing small local groups playing Reggae , Rock and Funk.
Dig This Way realised they had found something special after discovering the first few releases on Jicco Funk… its less about a particular style of music and more about a raw emotive production quality that runs through each of the records… there is a mood and feel to the delivery that expresses a consciousness that’s rooted in a deep soul… the origins of which with hindsight would be near impossible to determine… its known that many of the records were produced at the same studio… there are a number of musicians who appear on more than one records… other than a few basic facts… to know the true ingredients which made the blend special… I guess you just had to have been there…
Following an extended period collecting music from the label including a number of months in Nigeria trying to trace family and friends of former band members including the Jicco family… Dig This Way decided to produce a compilation highlighting some of the near unknown music released by Jicco Funk… on the first volume in the series the focus is Reggae and Funk, particularly the intersection where the two genres converge as a hybrid production that at times is neither one nor the other… being more often and not… greater than the sum of the parts… hype..? We don’t think so… intreguided..?
Label: DIG THIS WAY RECORDS
Cat. No.: DTW 006