Shogun Orchestra's sound is a unique Afrofuturist blend of simmering funk and references to ancient samurai culture. Their first release made waves in Europe after being licensed to Jakarta Records and the track ‘Bamako’ was selected for inclusion on Radio Nova's prestigious compilation ‘Nova Tunes 2.6’.
Shogun Orchestra was created in 2010 to play in a concert to raise money for the Haitian earthquake disaster. This Wellington 11 piece band played some originals by composer and saxophonist Lucien Johnson alongside some Haitian traditionals, and contributed $5000 to the PyePoudre cultural center in Port-au-Prince. After the group’s success they decided to develop the concept, soon growing into an explosive Afrofuturist ensemble that made waves at home and abroad. Nationwide tours ensued including festivals such as Womad and the Wellington Jazz Festival. They released two albums, the first on German label Jakarta Records and the second on NZ label Economy Records, to critical acclaim and worldwide distribution.
This all instrumental album was released by German label Jakarta Records and includes some original compositions by Lucien Johnson and some re-arrangements of Haitian songs. The group is at their freshest and most improvisatory, with the album being recorded at Wellington’s legendary Bays Studios, home of Fat Freddy’s Drop and recorded by sonic whiz Lord Echo. The track “Bamako” was featured on a Radio Nova (France) compilation and received extensive airplay.
Songlines Magazine ****
“It’s an incredibly worthy outcome resulting from some terrific music.”
Shogun Orchestra’s follow up album featured the talents of Venezuelan born singer Jennifer Zea. This album delved further into an Afro-futurist landscape with ethio-horns and vintage synths delving and swirling around each other.
NZ Herald ****
“The energetic horn section shines on the title track - a steaming, cinematic mind-bender, while Zea, Clarke, and the horns weave beautifully around each other on Watatsumi. Revolve plays with a cheeky little eastern piano mode, while Mifune has a funky, minimal approach with bass and synth moving in oscillating waves. The River of Sanzu evokes exactly what you would expect from that title, all casually meandering horns and flutes pricked with notions of pyramids, and scarabs, and Zea's vocals on Cherry Blossom are a luxurious seduction. It's an impressive trip.”