Edinburgh record shop Umbrella Vinyl releases limited edition vinyl with proceeds helping refugees
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The Tollcross shop, which opened in August this year, began life when founders Nick Langford and husband and wife duo, Josh and Laura Thomson, launched a record label in September last year, with their debut record being a rerecording by lesser known 1960s jazz group, Brotherhood of Breath.
After producing their limited edition jazz record the Edinburgh business then decided to support the wider music community by donating ten per cent of proceeds of their record to charity.
The Umbrella Vinyl team, who champion music from all over the world including jazz, blues, reggae and classical hope their new record will be the first of many on their new label. Record shop cofounder, Josh, who is also working towards a PhD exploring the contribution of commonwealth jazz musicians in Britain, said: “The three of us wanted to re-release music that had been overlooked or under appreciated.”
Founded by Chris McGregor, jazz band Brotherhood of Breath grew out of another South African band the Blue Notes. After finding it impossible to operate as a mixed-race band under the country’s increasingly oppressive apartheid regime, the Blue Notes arrived in London in 1965 where they found a home at Ronnie Scott’s ‘old place’, which in the late 1960s was a haven for London’s younger and freer generation of jazz talent.
After several members later departed the band, a who’s who of London’s underground jazz scene joined the remaining members of the Blue Notes to form The Brotherhood of Breath.
Josh discovered Chris McGregor whilst researching his PhD topic and said that he, along with Laura and Nick ‘fell in love with the record that he made.’ Josh said: “Through intrigue and business savvy we were able to get the rights to the two tracks from his 1971 release Brotherhood of Breath. So [the project came to fruition from ] a mixture of love of music and also academia.”
Describing one of the tracks titled MRA (a slang term for brother) Josh said: “One of things we particularly love about the tune is that it’s a mix of different musical forms – from American big band jazz to South African Township and European free jazz and it also has a bit of rock and roll quality to it – it’s totally international but totally unique at the same time.”
The seven inch record is available for £12 and ten per cent of proceeds will go to help Glasgow Barons project Musicians In Exile, which helps ‘group of musicians with asylum seeking and refugee experience’. The charity’s artistic director, Paul MacAlindin, said: “With new instruments and safe rehearsal spaces in Glasgow, we recover the songs of our homelands and share these across Scotland in community events, festivals and private functions.”
And Nick said: “We wanted to make to a charity contribution to support the music community and also support refugees. We looked around for charities that were already doing that here locally rather than a big international charity. The Glasgow Barons were well aligned with what we were trying to do.”
Josh added: “Because of the international aspect of Chris McGregor’s groups and the fact that five members were actually in exile from South Africa it seemed like the most appropriate charity. At that time in South Africa it was illegal for white and black musicians to play together – so if they wanted to continue their career they had to leave their country. And by the time they left it was impossible for them to return really. So it’s a bit of a tragic story really in that respect.”
To find out more about the record and Umbrella Vinyl you can find them at 20 Valleyfield Steet in Tollcross or visit their online shop.