Soul II Soul are back with a rip-roaring night of soul, funk and reggae this Saturday 20th May at Manchester Academy with support from James Taylor Quartet and an after show DJ set from Jazzie B himself.
The stats for Soul II Soul and Jazzie B are very impressive; To date Soul II Soul have sold over 10 million albums in over 35 territories worldwide while Jazzie B has accreditation on over 35 million albums in over 100 territories. They’ve performed in over 20 countries, and appeared at some of the most famous venues in the world including Wembley and New York’s Universal Ample Theatre.
Success has not just been on this side of the Atlantic though – the American’s embraced Soul II Soul to such a degree, that in 1990 they picked up two Grammy Awards and Jazzie has even been given the keys to seven cities in the US, including LA and New York. Apparently there’s even a Soul II Soul day over there.
Hailing from North London, Soul II Soul were key members of the mid-1980s warehouse scene – providing a vibrant, underground music experience that was far removed from the constraints of mainstream music. Nothing summed them and their crowd up better than their regular Sunday night spot at the now legendary Africa Centre in London’s Covent Garden. This was truly the Soul II Soul experience, which, unlike other sound systems on the same circuit, wasn’t just about the big name DJs, it was all about a vibe.
The Africa Centre was a game changer for Soul II Soul, for British black music and for the nation’s youth culture in general. It caught the attention of Virgin Records, who signed them as an act in 1988, catapulting them into a tornado of success. The Soul II Soul sound was original, new, fresh, and infectious – above all, though, it was a UK thing.
From there there were resident club nights all over the world; live concert tours and countless radio and TV appearances. Jazzie had his own show on London’s Kiss FM and there was even an Adventures of the Funki Dreds comic book. And, of course, Soul II Soul enjoyed the type of chart success – notably with Keep On Movin‘ and ‘Back To Life‘ – that made them household names all over the world.
More recently there have been Ivor Novello awards, OBE’s, Mary J. Blige and Sean Kingston covers and a stint at the London Olympic Opening Ceremony. Surely all of these accolades pale into insignificance though when it comes to a visit to Manchester Academy on Saturday 20th June.
It promises to be a massive night, featuring Soul II Soul LIVE, the James Taylor Quartet and an after show DJ set from Jazzie B – finishing at a rather reasonable 1am.
Tickets are £27.50 and can be bought here: