Bra Sello


Afrodelic • 1975

There is a popular joke that you can learn everything you need to know about the German language from the sound of the word »Butterfly«, which Tim Allen also successfully made fun of on stage in the 1990s. And indeed, the English word »butterfly« comes much closer to capturing the enchanting grace of these colourful, fluttering creatures than the brashly sounding German word for butterfly. Whether Bra Sello’s album sounds so weightless because he has never had contact with the German word, or because he has been directly influenced by a family of butterflies, we may never know.  

Recorded in 1975 at Satbel Studios in Johannesburg, South Africa, not far from Bra Sello’s home, the session’s colourful harmonies, nectar-sweet organ solos and laid-back groove certainly live up to the insect that is its namesake. Bandleader Bra Sello (»Brother«) confidently leads the multi-piece body of sound through the trance-like half hour: Vaguely reminiscent of High Life, intoxicated back vocals that loop into higher spheres, the gentle clapping and in between Bra Sello himself, intones softly and warmly on his saxophone. It’s jazz, it’s South African jazz, but sometimes you feel like you’re in Brazil. Summer may be over, but the butterflies keep flying.