Soul II Soul
“Yellow is the colour of sun rays.”
From the sound system scene of the 1980s, Soul II Soul evolved into a regular Sunday club night at the Africa Centre in London’s Covent Garden. Soon outgrown, they headed to The Fridge in Brixton where their “Funki Dredd” club nights featuring an array of guests became the template for an emerging rave scene and Ibiza getaways.
Fronted by the enigmatic Jazzie B, the forward-thinking collective also morphed into pirate radio before their third single for Ten Records, ‘Keep On Movin’ charted globally, while it’s follow up ‘Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)’ – both featuring Caron Wheeler on vocals – went to number one on the UK national charts and topped both the RnB and Dance charts in the States.
Both singles appeared on the album ‘Club Classics Volume One’ in 1989, which AllMusic noted had influences from “Chic to hip hop to African music,” an eclectic mix that only hinted at the diversity of the two-time Grammy-winning band which also brought together reggae, house and much more.
“Club Classics is one of those rare albums that make you want to listen to every single track over and over, again and again.” BBC Music
Around the same time, the collective established a base in Camden Town where they emblazoned their motto “A happy face, a thumpin’ bass, for a lovin’ race” on their own clothing range which had originally started life with a handful of T-shirts printed at the end of the ‘70s and was later revived in 2013 for a special Harvey Nicholls collection.
Members came and went as albums volume two to five followed before the collective disbanded in 1998, following which several members had successful solo careers before the 2007 reunion which still continues today with the three original core members of Jazzie B, Caron Wheeler and Charlotte Kelly continuing to spread the Funki Dred vibe around the world.