Across a career that stretches 26 years, Brooklyn Funk Essentials have established themselves as an audacious project fusing soul, hip hop, spoken word, jazz and, of course, funk. Between recording six studio albums, the Essentials have made a name for themselves as absolutely electric performers, exhilarating their loyal and adoring fanbase with performances across every continent.
Established in the early ‘90s by Arthur Baker and Lati Kronlund, Brooklyn Funk Essentials were regulars of New York’s vibrant club scene by the time their debut album, ‘Cool & Steady & Easy’, hit the shelves. Released by pioneering funk and electronic taste-makers Dorado Records and combining classic funk’s raw, mind-bending basslines, peak-era disco’s euphoric vocals and early hip-hop’s observational lyricism, the album was an immediate hit in the US and elsewhere, securing a No 1 spot on Billboard’s Alternative R&B Album of the Year chart in 1995. Tracks like ‘Take The L Train’ and ‘Big Apple Boogaloo’ became DJ favorites, while their version of Pharoah Sanders’ and Leon Thomas’ classic ‘The Creator Has A Master Plan’ reached into the Top 20 singles chart.
The success of the album ensured much international touring for the band. A particularly inspired tour in Turkey in 1996, resulted in the band recording their second album, ‘In The BuzzBag’ in Istanbul. A collaboration with the Turko-Roman folk band Laço Tayfa, lead by young clarinet virtuoso Hüsnü Senlendirici, the project injected complex Turkish rhythms and instrumentation into the Essentials’ already expansive sound palette, earning them a US Grammy nomination in the process. The song ‘Istanbul Twilight’ was the theme for Fatih Akin’s hit movie ‘In July’ which also featured another three songs off the album.
When the band’s original singer, Papa Dee, left the band in 2016, Limerick stepped up as the new lead singer along with long-time singer and guitarist Desmond Foster. Recording of the upcoming ‘Stay Good’ album began in 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden and Birmingham, UK and the album was released worldwide in September 2019. Spearheaded by the singles ‘No Strings’, ‘Ain’t Nothing’, ‘Watcha Want From Me’ and ‘Funk Ain’t Ova’, the album clocked a million Spotify spins in it’s first three weeks of release.
‘Stay Good’ proves that, twenty-six years after the band’s formation, Brooklyn Funk Essentials are releasing new music, which is some of the most successful throughout their career. The album release was supported by extensive touring, which also included their first ever show in India, where the band headlined the Mahindra Open Drive festival in Goa in November 2019.