The 1974 debut album Ojinga’s Own and single Basa Bongo/Black Pepper by Guyanese Afro-Folk band The Yoruba Singers has been remastered for vinyl and digital.
The Yoruba Singers formed in Georgetown, Guyana in 1971. Despite their name they were not from Nigeria, but identified strongly with the area from which so many of the African diaspora in Guyana and neighbouring regions were originally descended.
The group started adapting Guyanese traditional folk music as well as writing their own – blending a mixture of protest, social commentary, blues, and genres inspired by the times. Beginning with about 12 people sharing vocal duties, most of the early repertoire was inspired by folk songs that started life on plantations or in religious settings accompanied by a few sparse musical instruments.
Integral to the Yoruba Singers’ sound are echoes of Obeah traditions which are very closely related to the Santería religion of Cuba and the Orisha and Shango traditions of Trinidad and Tobago. Calypso and steel-band culture from nearby Trinidad and Tobago was to some extent part of the musical DNA of the group, but they were naturally also influenced by the massive volume of rocksteady and roots-reggae coming from Jamaica.