Back in 2015, Freestyle re-issued the groundbreaking 'African Party' album by the somewhat mysterious figure of Ginger (George Folunsho) Johnson. Recorded in 1967, almost 20 years after he first arrived in post war London and immediately began performing and recording with London jazz stalwarts Ronnie Scott and Pete King. He was also the featured percussionist in the barrier-breaking Kenny Grahams Afro Cubans in the early 50's.
Credited by those in the know (including Gilles Peterson, Louie Vega, Fela Kuti's drummer Tony Allen & writer David Toop) as the godfather of afrobeat, Ginger and his group, The African Messengers enjoyed a varied career as the go to afro-cuban percussion group for recording sessions in the UK, working with Georgie Fame, Osibisa, Madeleine Bell and Quincy Jones - as well as acting us mentor to a young Fela Kuti and members of Cymande who cut their teeth as members of his ensemble. They also performed at The Royal Variety Performance, Ginger's music featured in the James Bond film 'Live & Let Die' and Ginger himself appears on screen drumming in the Hammer Films cult classic 'She', and famously performed with The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park in 1969.