Introducing: Sudanese/London collective The Scorpios bring life-affirming soul & vintage psych funk

Introducing: Sudanese/London collective The Scorpios bring life-affirming soul & vintage psych funk

Mon Sep 10th
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Listening to the life-affirming soul and vintage funk of London collective The Scorpios, you probably won't be surprised to find out most of its members originate from Sudan. After fleeing the fundamentalist takeover in Central Sudan in the eighties, the band now properly breaks down cultural boundaries with its mesmerizing, funk-infused Sudanese afrobeat.

Five of the group’s musicians are Sudanese and have played traditional music on weddings and religious festivals around Eastern Africa as well as in the Arab states for many years. Main singer Regia Ishag comes from a musical family, her father being the guitarist of the similarly named seventies Sudanese band The Scorpions.

After the collective fled to the UK, they met guitarist Adam Bulewski who was doing local community work at the time. Together, they started recording sessions, which eventually resulted in the birth of The Scorpios. The band is now completed by musicians from Ghana, Jamaica, Poland, Japan and the UK, and in 2017, The Scorpios released their self-titled debut album via Afro 7. 

"This rich musical mix, which yokes traditional Sudanese instruments with flange guitar and brass is highly experimental. However, it has an incredible unity, as resonant vocals and offbeat Arabic drumming dovetail beautifully with familiar, funky basslines. The result never feels dissonant or fragmented but maintains the verve of virtuoso jazz improvisation. A true delight in innovation and musical expertise." - WOMAD UK

Considering the musicians’ backgrounds, it is no wonder The Scorpios’ music is influenced by a range of genres and sounds, including sixties Sudanese funk, traditional Arabic rhythms and psychedelic afrobeat. However, the raw and euphoric sound that comes with it certifies a thrilling and touching modern mindset.

A fine point in case is the group's most recent single 'Mashena' that followed their debut album. The band sounds more thrilling and lively than ever, with 'Mashena' marked by a steady drum groove right from the start of the song. What follow are Regia Ishag mesmerizing vocals and a hook that sounds like a harmonic blend of flutes and horns. Even listening via your laptop or stereo, it's impossible to sit still. We can only imagine what a transforming experience the song could have in live setting. 

The Scorpios will perform at Le Guess Who 2018 together with a.o. Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sons of Kemet XL, Anoushka Shankar & Manu Delago with Metropole Strings, Kadri Gopalnath, Sibusile Xaba, King Ayisoba, Hailu Mergia, and many more.

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