Yale Evelev is the president of David Byrne's (Talking Heads) genre-defining, trend-setting Luaka Bop Records, based in New York. Renowned worldwide as crate diggers par excellence, Luaka Bop have been rereleasing the finest Brazilian, African and other global grooves since their inception in the early 90s, allowing new listeners a chance to discover the world's nichest sounds.
The main thing I wanted to speak to Yale about was the Nigerian man of mystery, William Onyeabor,
whose infamously bizarre backstory is only bettered by his incredible music. Yale told me about the absurd lengths they went to in order to license the music for 2013's Who is William Onyeabor?, but it turns out he had to work even harder to get the rights for the equally stellar Tim Maia compilation from 2012. After Maia's existential soul, Yale talked to me about a more recent compilation, Alice Coltrane’s Ashram tapes – The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda from 2017 – divine gospel made after her husband John's death that is as esoteric as it is interesting.
We also talked about how Luaka Bop have cemented themselves as pioneers of global/world music (terms whose inherent connotations Yale brought me up on), and how tunes made by artists outside the US and UK are finding a new audience since the democratising inception of the internet.