Greg De Villanova By JeanSaintJean

photo(c) Jean SaintJean


Greg de Villanova is a multi-talented french/brazilian character! Fellow digger, heavy collector, tropical DJ, music historian as well as music consultant! But he’s also a label owner at Oriki Music, where he (re)releases the music he loves! Let’s share this wise guy’s opinions on the LP market!


When did you start digging records?
Around 1987-88, digging for rap records when those were badly distributed in Paris.

What Lps did you buy at first? Do you still listen to them?
Jazz funk and funk classics, first record ever was Herbie Hancock’s ‘Manchild’. I still buy and listen to 70’s classics, those are the real deal, not the super obscure stuff I’ve been collecting for the past 20 years.

Do you have a particular style or favorite period?
60’s hard soul and early 70’s deep funk.

Are you still digging’, buying vinyl, visiting record shops?
I dig on a regular basis but not in stores, try to link up with private owners, collectors, buy cheap and in large quantities.

What was your first release on Oriki ?
Orchestre Baobab’s ‘A night at Club Baobab’.

BAOBAB presse_front

Orchestra Baobab


What could be your editorial/esthetic line?
Afro ! Oriki has 6 African music releases and 2 Afro Brazilians.

What could be the label’s leitmotif?
Modernity and beauty are universal.

What is the Oriki LP you are prouder?
Baobab’s : it’s our biggest sales and media hit (about 15.000 copies sold) and it’s surely one of the most consistent African bands of the 70’s, ultimate work .

Did you have any references labels when you started ?
Not at all, I always do my stuff with the heart and don’t buy or listen to reissues. I also barely know what’s being done by other labels.

Do you think the adventures of diggers have changed over time? Do you keep going to the field?
I don’t really know what you mean with the first question, my work as a digger remains the same, go to the field, hunt intensely, discover new stuff, keep eyes and ears wide opened, never give up even if it’s the 10th mistaken lead I’m following.

Your first references were on the West African zone. Is it still easy today to find rare, unedited records?
There is more to do than done, always… Question is how relevant some reissues would be.


Moussa Doumbia
Femme d’aujourdhui


And how do you negotiate with the right owners?

You have released some Brazilian records, and you are known as a great connoisseur of this country. Why not more reissues?
Most of the relevant stuff is owned by majors which don’t allow licensing.

Could we dream to listen on LP the fantastic Obaluayê!?
All dreams are possible, but I won’t do it, worked on that on cd 15 years ago, changing the format is not really challenging, and I need the project to be so to get interested in doing it.

Can you introduce us to the new Ivorian selection? Its particularity, its difference compared to all the others that come out on the market?

I’d say it’s more interesting than most stuff out there for three reasons.
1-It’s super obscure, ultra hard to get and extremely expensive stuff which you can spend years looking for. Most collectors have a very vague notion of how rarer this or that African record is compared to another, the Société Ivoirienne du Disque funky catalogue is simply the ultimate when it comes to French speaking Africa.
2-It’s a coherent compilation focusing on a single label, and more particularly on what could be spotted as a collection within the label, even though it’s never been marketed as such by the producer. Most tracks have the same funk and fusionny, African American music influenced sound, a lot has the same sidemen and / or arrangers.
3-Finally, a lot of the music has that raw and deep funk vibe, completely unique in French speaking Africa, when it was much more common in English speaking Ghana and Nigeria. The compilation focuses, with a few exceptions, on what I consider to be the ultimate in terms of solid deep funk and jazz funk coming out of Ivory Coast.

compil ivory

De Frank Jr
Ayee Menko


Why such a long silence before this come-back ?
Well, the label is my own little dancer, I don’t make profits out of it, which means I need spare time to work on it. I lacked that spare time. Also, when the first releases came out years ago, most didn’t sell enough to cover expenses (I used to buy advertising space in magazines and pay for a press attaché). What customers wanted was the funky stuff and I didn’t specifically focus on that because I thought there was much more interesting stuff to be reissued. Even if this new compilation rocks, most artists included within it have quite anecdotical carriers. Our first reissues focused on heavy weights of modern African music, but I guess Western ears were not ready to leave their funkocentric approach and listen to modern African music for what it is and not for how much it’s been influenced by James Brown or Fela Kuti.

Nowadays, there are many LP labels who follow this model, I mean more quality even if it’s more expensive… but in same time, there are also another « new » LP market, with major companys come-back and other labels, who prefer to sell cheaper. Is it the (re)creation of two camps for the LP ?
Vinyl is trendy, and there are different ways of doing it. Some labels try to make money out of limited quantities, which is impossible, so all they can do is shitty pressings and bootlegs. That really sucks, they should try to get into another business to make profits. Majors have a different, but also opportunistic approach. They sell vinyl records to people who didn’t really give a shit about the format until recently, they just think it’s cool, today, don’t know how long this « coolness » will last. Then there is the passionate, hard working, accurate people doing amazing reissues, deep historical work with consistent liner notes and tracklistings. Those contribute to something bigger than us, universal knowledge and beauty.
But if you’re just into music, you don’t really give a shit about that, all you want is the sound, and from this point of view, anything is good. This discussion is mainly for the passionate professionals, most of the audience is not interested in such considerations.

Sewa Jacintho
Secret Populaire


There are more and more reissues of old LPs, and more and more record labels (major or indie) now release their new artists on LP, or EP. Do you think that the LP reissue market could ever reach saturation point?
No idea at all, but at some point I guess this will happen. Customers into vinyl have limited funds, but I don’t have numbers as to the extent of this market. But frankly, how many thousand copies maximum of a vinyl title are pressed ? Several tens of thousands ? How many people on the planet ? It’s just a drop in the middle of the sea which the music industry is. Mp3 rules.

What are your other next releases ?
No idea yet. Right now I’m in my hammock, recovering from the hassle the last one was with all the boring crap I had to do to put the record out, sending emails, phoning, dealing with pressing, graphic design or digital distribution. If you wanna listen to good obscure stuff, you should come join me in the hammock, we’ll be able to deal with much more music within much lesser time !

What is the LP you dream of issuing/reissuing?
None. Or maybe Nicole Croisille’s debut album. Or any other hard to get French stuff that’s not interesting to grooveaholics nor anyone else. And I’ll get someone deal with the boring part. Need to get rich first though, cause this won’t sell.

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