Soul Cultura Vol.1 seemed to land at exactly the right moment. Post-lockdown, optimism was back on the rise and the dance floors swelled again. For many listeners, Manchester based DJ Luke Una’s intriguingly woven pattern of new, old, rare and under-discovered music from around the world became the soundtrack to rejuvenated positivity.
It was clear from the get-go that the concept warranted a series, there are many sides to É Soul Cultura and many musical stories to tell. This second volume gives another opportunity for Luke to share his journey of the past four decades of staying up late and getting transcendental whilst listening to holy grail music as the city slept. It follows on from where Vol.1 left off, at times venturing into the deeper, spiritual, soulful, downtempo, experimental aspects of his tastes. From the conscious, street soul fusion gospel of Veronica Mickie's 'Lost Children', to an excursion into Swiss, psych, progressive rock in the form of Pyranha, then onto the classic Indian music-inspired electronic workout of Andi Otto's 'Bangalore Whispers'. Luke hints at his softer side in Avis; a sweet, obscure cover version of Minnie Riperton’s ‘Baby, This Love I Have’, as well as championing local heroes in the shape of Manchester’s Yargo and their driving, obscure, proto-house belter, ‘Marimba’. There’s also Japanese, electronic, slo-mo heaviness from 1979, courtesy of Bach Revolution. House music is integral to the É Soul sound and is represented by Nav Aktah’s deep remix of Mr Scruff, and then there’s Isis ‘In Essense’; a track of such majestic brilliance that it has never left Luke’s record bag.
The selection is eclectic, global, and plucked from different times and spaces. In theory, perhaps they shouldn't work together, but there is a mysterious link that makes them gel as a whole. That’s what Luke does best. He creates a sort of musical alchemy, unifying the diverse. This isn’t a compilation focussed purely on the rare, even though many tracks featured do fall into that camp. It is best described by Luke himself, “It’s not about showing off, collector rarity, or ego-strutting, it’s all about telling stories, sharing the music, and making life’s journey mean something. In the end, of course, it’s just a compilation of other people’s music, but hopefully it’s more than that, adding something back to the pot.”