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TGN 03: Booker J

Everyone knows one. Everyone has one. The neighbor who always knows the coolest places to go, the hottest music to listen to and the latest news to spread around. We want to be that neighbor - sharing all the great stories and sounds around our neighborhood of artists and creatives.

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From North Cape to Cape Town

A roadtrip in sound

This is not a mixtape, this is a roadtrip in sound. Booker J is his name and deep digged Global Grooves are his game. For this extraordinary mixtape, Booker J came up with the idea of an imaginary road trip in the early 1980s, far away from The `Rona or geopolitical hardships. Tune in for a magical trip through Soul, Funk, Discojazz, Desert Rock and Beat music from Norway to South Africa and everything in-between.

In a mild midsommar-night somewhere around the Nordkap we ́re starting our journey with a catchy Funkpop-Track by norwegian Discoqueen Gro Anita Schønn. On the stirring wheel of an old and rusty car we ́re making our way to the Finnish woods, where we catch a Finnish Boogie cover of „Satan in love“ on the radio. It is almost midnight, when we enter the Soviet Union straight to Latvia, where we discover a cosmic synth funk track at a local ballroom of students by Via Eolika. Some vodkas and pickles later, while we ́re diving into the bustling night club scene of Riga we hear a true gem by Mirdza Zivere, named „Zozefino“, a laid back Midtempo Latvian Funk number. A day later in Poland some Warsaw street kids are blasting a classic of Polish Funk and even let us tape some of the tracks with our recorder. Thanks mates! Next stop on our journey is the GDR. A country that stopped to exist a decade later, but at the time had a lot of musical gems undiscovered and hidden at the time for example by the Modern Soul Band with „Irrtum“. Don’t ask us how, but we managed to smuggle ourselves over the innergerman border to Westberlin. In a shady nightclub a few meters from the wall we met a strange, yet funny guy called Heiner Pudelko. He seemed to have a decent underground status with his band Interzone and an attitude that combined Late 70s „Anything goes“-Punk attitude with strict Soul and Rhythm`n`Blues rules. And his voice, well, his voice was once described as „shattered glas“-and it is exactly like that. „Blues“by Heiner Pudelko and Interzone is the only Soul track on the mix with has clear Blues- underlines. On our way down South we cross the GDR on a highway, Bavaria just to enter Austria. And well we met one of a kind there. Hansi Lang once helped Falco to make his own first steps in music business and is a legend in his own right with his band Hallucination Company. „Montevideo“ is a Wanderlust-driven monster track. And as it is recommended for a good trip: At one point you’re diving into the endless sunshine, in this case: Italy, musically provided by Enzo Carellas „Amara“. In Bari/Apulia we`re catching a ferry in order to land on the shores of Greece, where we get asked for a dance by the Disco Bouzouki Band in a local wine garden. While swaying from one greek island to the other we ́re heading stoically towards the South. We toured Europe from north to south, which leads to a local fisherman taking us to Libya by boat, where, after a dangerous trip, we get to know a laid back and sunny summer Funk tune by Hamid El Shaeri in a local Bar-turned Riad. A few moons later in Niger, we are meeting a guy who just stepped out of a time machine from the 21 century. Bombino is a former rebel and rock superstar turned genius who provides a groovy Desert Rock tune with „Imajghane“. What a banger! While we leave the Sahel zone, we enter into Nigeria and guess who we met there: The infamous Fela Kuti on his legendary ranch, where we record an excerpt of „Ako“ on one of his all night long jams. Thanks for the music, Fela! Pasteur Lappe is another legend who we crash into in a nightclub in Cameroon. Pasteur blesses us with a uptempo Afrofunk gem some days before before congolese Verckys enters the stage in Kinshasa with a dirty 60s Beat influenced banger. One song before we reach our destination Zambian legends Witch are beaming us directly into a more glamorous Nightclub vibe with „Erotic delight“, which is indeed what it promises; shiny and classy.

And well, who stands for South Africa more than the queen of Disco Jazz in her own right Letta Mbulu, who joined forces with Hugh Masekela for another Bigband Soul anthem called Mahlalela.

So right here at the end of our trip we’re sitting on the shores of Cape Town with loads of musical gems in our suitcase and yet another amazing musical road trip in our memories.

In 80 songs and with musical seven-league boots on Booker J jets around the globe. Equipped with a fine sense for the junctures between great universal melodies and remote sounds, Booker J surprises in his sets with turnarounds and creative jumps. The big constant is however a groovy subline, winding its way through Nigerian Afrobeat, Soviet Cosmic, Peruvian Chicha, Norwegian Disco or Arab Funk. All of that suitable for the dancefloor or for laid back sessions.

Booker J is one of nine DJ Projects of the Berlin-based music professional, booker, author, event manager and music journalist Julian Zwingel. Other projects are Schall&Hauch, Glaspalast, Buzz Boris, DJ Mausebär or Das Weiße Rauschen. Julian is an experienced DJ with over 700 shows in the last ten years in clubs, hidden beaches, basement bars, rallies, concert support shows, radio shows or private parties. Booker J is part of Schlingel Entertainment.


1 På Ringerike Trenger'u'kke Penger - Gro Anita Schønn

2 Satan in Love - La Bellini

3 Zvezdopad - Via Eolika

4 Žozefīno - Mirdza Zīvere

5 Za Dużo Chcesz Halina Frąckowiak & Grupa

6 Irrtum - Modern Soul Band

7 Blues - Heiner Pudelko & Interzone

8 Montevideo - Hansi Lang

9 Amara - Enzo Carella

10 Greek Girls - Disco Bouzouki Band

11 Ayonha - Hamid El Shaeri

12 Imajghane (The Tuareg People) - Bombino

13 Ako - Fela Kuti

14 Sekele Movement - Pasteur Lappe

15 Oui Verckys - Verckys et l ́Orchestre Vévé

16 Erotic Delight - Witch

17 Mahlalela - Hugh Masekela & Letta Mbulu

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