The Southport Weekender has come a long way since it first took place back in 1987. Since 1987, the Southport Weekend has been one of the highlights of the dance music scene. Rather confusingly, the first Southport Weekend took place in Berwick Upon Tweed. This was a somewhat strange choice of venue for a dance music festival. Berwick Upon Tweed isn’t exactly rock ’n’ roll. However, Berwick Upon Tweed was the birthplace of Britain’s premier dance music festival.

After that, the Southport Weekender headed to the party capital of the North West of England, Blackpool. This was the next place the Southport Weekender called home. Following Blackpool, the Southport Weekender headed just along the coast to Morecambe. This was only a brief dalliance. Next stop was sedate Southport, where the weekender called home for many years. Not any more.

Now, somewhat confusingly, the home of the Southport Weekender is Minehead, in sleepy Somerset. Minehead for the time being, is the new home of the Southport Weekender, Britain’s premier dance music festival. It’s played host to some of the biggest artists and DJs.

Over the twenty-seven years, the great and the good have headed for the Southport Weekender. This includes some of the biggest DJs and artists have played at the Southport Weekender. Among the artists are A Tribe Called Quest, India Aria and Soul II Soul. Some of the biggest DJs of the past twenty-five years have all featured at the Southport Weekender, including Blaze, Kenny Dope, Tony Humphries, Dimitri From Paris, Joe Claussell Kerri Chandler, Miguel Migs and Atjazz. Each of these DJs’ mixes have featured on the ten previous volumes of the Southport Weekender. For the latest instalment of the Southport Weekender series, Lefto,  the man Fact! Magazine called “your favourite DJ’s favourite DJ,” joins this illustrious list of DJs.

Southport Weekender: Lefto will be released on 2nd June 2014, on BBE Music. It’s best described as a lovingly compiled double album album. Disc one sees Lefto seamlessly mix his way through an eclectic selection of seventeen tracks. It’s a case of jump onboard Lefto’s magical mystery tour. You embark upon a musical journey through musical genres. There’s everything from deep house, electronica, folk, funk, funky house, hip hop, jazz, psychedelia and soul. Then there’s Latin and Lebanese music on Southport Weekender: Lefto.

Opening his set with Reginald Omas Mamode IVth’s Keep On Walking, Lefto mixes seamlessly into The Breathing Effect’s Daydream Prison, before taking you on an eclectic and spellbinding musical journey. You’re introduced to the delights of Om Unit’s . Shine Your Light, Amral’s Trinidad Cavalier’s It Sure Is Funky and Elias Rahbani’s La Dance De Nadia. By then, you realise that Lefto is one of the most dedicated crate diggers’s in Europe. His encyclopaedic knowledge of music means he’s able to drop the right track at just the right time. Genius Of Time’s Drifting Back sits side-by-side with the Kyodai Remix of Pablo Sánchez’s Out and About. Lefto then drops Rodendion’s Well Done. It’s a masterstroke. So is closing his set with the trio of Detroit Swindle’s Under The Spell and then Kid Fonque and Zaki Ibrahim’s 2Sides. Then closing his seventeen track set is Sam Sanders’ Face At My Window. By then, you’ll realise why Lefto is “your favourite DJ’s favourite DJ.” However, this is only half-time in Southport Weekender: Lefto.

You’ve still got disc two of Southport Weekender: Lefto to enjoy. Disc two features twelve full length versions of the seventeen tracks on disc one. This can’t have been easy. Lefto could’ve included any of the seventeen tracks. However, he had only eight minutes to fill. Some tracks weren’t going to make the cut. For Lefto choosing which of the five tracks to omit must have been torturous. I’m sure he changed his many times, given the quality of music on disc one. Eventually, he managed to choose twelve tracks with feature on disc two. They’re a tantalising taster of the music Lefto has spent his life looking for and playing.

Over the last few years, Lefto’s reputation has a groundbreaking DJ has soared. So much so, that now, Lefto is perceived as one of Europe’s top tastemakers. There’s a reason for this. He plays groundbreaking music.

Unlike some DJs, who’ve been playing the same sets since the seventies and eighties, Lefto is always digging deep to find music next big thing. Lefto you see, is not the type of DJ to follow fashions. Instead, Lefto is a trendsetter, who constantly, searches out music’s next big thing. That’s been the case since Lefto worked at the famous Music Mania record shop in Brussels.

It was during this period, that Lefto’s love affair with hip hop and jazz began. Since then, Lefto has come a long way. This was where Lefto first crate digging expeditions took place. Lefto dug deep, discovering hidden gems and rarities. He’s been doing that ever since.

Nowadays, Lefto is one of the top DJs in Europe. His eclectic sets see Lefto spin everything from hip hop, funk breaks, future bass and jazz. To that Lefto adds South-American influences and African music rhythms. This is why Lefto has been crowned one of Europe’s top DJs. He spins his eclectic sets throughout Asia, Europe and North America. Wherever he plays, Lefto keeps the dance-floor packed. That’s the case at Lefto’s regular residencies in Amsterdam and New York. However, there’s more to Lefto’s career than travelling the world DJ-ing clubs.

Lefto also has a regular radio show on Belgium’s national radio station Studio Brussels. During these shows, Lefto’s crate-digging skills are put to good use. He spins a groundbreaking selection of music. Much of the music Lefto plays, many DJs won’t have heard of. If they have, they daren’t spin in live on national radio. Lefto will. Fearlessly, he introduces his audience to a diet of new and innovative audiences. This is why listeners eagerly await Lefto’s shows on Studio Brussels. Club and radio DJ-ing isn’t all Lefto does.

He also works closely with a number of record companies. This includes Brownswood Recordings, BBE Music and Blue Note Records. In 2010, Lefto and Simbad were compiled Worldwide Family Volume 1 for Brownswood Records. Then in 2012, DJ Lefto Presents Universal Magnetic was released on 101 Apparel Artist Series. However, one of Lefto’s proudest moments was being commissioned to by Blue Note Records to create an album of remixes. For a jazz lover like Lefto, this was a dream come true. Since then, Lefto has been busy, DJ-ing and working on a series of projects. Lefto’s latest project was Southport Weekender: Lefto, which I’ll pick the highlights of.

You might not have heard of Reginald Omas Mamode IV yet. That should change and change soon. He released an limited edition E.P. Do You, on Five Easy Pieces in 2013. Another of Reginald’s releases was a cover of Roy Ayers’ Keep On Walking. It’s the perfect track to open Southport Weekender: Lefto. From cinematic and moody, the track becomes slow, sultry and soulful. Hip hop and Nu-Soul become one as you’re introduced to Reginald Omas Mamode IV, an artist with a big future ahead of him.

The Breathing Effect’s Daydream Prison is another hidden gem. It featured on The Breathing Effect’s eponymous E.P. Released in February 2014, The Breathing Effect combine experimental electronica with funk, jazz, hip hop and psychedelia. It’s a glorious combination and a tantalising taste of the innovative music The Breathing Effect create. Let’s hope they release an album really soon.

London based DJ and producer Jim Coles has been releasing music as Om Unit since 2010. He released his debut album Threads in 2013, on Civil Music. Although it doesn’t feature Shine Your Light, the quality of this track will have you checking out Threads. It’s best described as a fusion of elements of drum ’n’ bass, dubstep and electronica. There’s even a hint of hip hop on this joyous genre melting track from Jim Coles’ alter ego.

Anyone whose been a fan of Mr. Bongo’s Brazilian Beats’ series, will have discovered the delights of Som Sete’s Esquindindin. It featured on Brazilian Beats Volume 7. It’s beautiful and understated example of bossa nova, that falls firmly into the category of a hidden gem. 

Elias Rahbani is a Lebanese arranger, composer, conductor and producer. He also released a series of albums. This includes Mosaic Of The Orient, which was released in 1972 on Voix De L’Orient Series. It featured La Dance De Nadia, which to me, is one of the highlights of Southport Weekender: Lefto. It’s a fusion of traditional Lebanese music, jazz, folk, funk and even psychedelia. East meets West in this glorious and captivating musical melange.

Peshay’s Kickin’ It With The Piano Trio features Tonounion. This is a track from Peshay’s fourth album Generation. Released on Tru Thoughts in 2013, it sees Peshay reinvent himself and his music. Here, he and his band are transformed into a old school jazz group. While the piano takes centre-stage, the bass propels the arrangement along. By the end of the track, Peshay has been transformed into a fully paid up member of the cool school.

From the get-go Genius Of Time’s Drifting Back is a joyous, hands in the air track. Dance-floor friendly, but with a jazzy twist, this deep house track has a real summery vibe. It was released in 2011 on the Royal Oak label, it’s a timeless dance track that’ll still fill a dance-floor.

Over the last couple of tracks of Southport Weekender: Lefto, the tempo has been rising. It plateaus on Rodendion’s Well Done. It’s best described funky and dance-floor friendly. Inspiration seems to have been sought from Blaxploitation movies. Wah-wah guitars set the scene as the Rodendion mixes licks with pounding beats.

Detroit Swindle’s Under The Spell is aptly titled. Straight away, you’re spellbound. This is a track from Detroit Swindle’s Unfinished Business E.P. Released on Freerange Records, in 2013, all things house melt into one. Deep, funky and vocal house are combined with electronica. The result is a track that’s uplifting, hook-laden and joyous, as  Southport Weekender: Lefto heads towards its crescendo. 

Sam Sanders’ Face At My Window closes Southport Weekender: Lefto. This is a track from Sam’s album Mirror, Mirror. Belatedly, it was rereleased on Strata Records and was a welcome release. Before this, Sam was best knows as a saxophonist and composer. He’d played with some of the biggest names in soul, funk and jazz, including Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and The Four Tops. On Mirror Mirror, Sam and an all star band combine soul, funk and jazz. One of the album’s highlights was the beautiful and soulful Face At My Window. It proves a fitting way to Lefto’s magical musical mystery tour, Southport Weekender: Lefto.

Choosing the highlights of Southport Weekender: Lefto wasn’t easy. The reason for that is the quality of the music. Lefto it seems, has dug deep, deeper than he’s dug before. The result is an eclectic magical musical mystery tour. During the seventeen tracks, you hear everything from deep house, electronica, folk, funk, funky house, jazz, psychedelia and soul. Then there’s Latin and Lebanese music on Southport Weekender: Lefto. It’s a captivating treasure trove of eclectic music that in Lefto’s hands, becomes a seamless mix.

Definitely. Hidden gems and rarities sit side-by with familiar faces on disc one of Southport Weekender: Lefto. They’re seamlessly mixed together by Lefto. His mixing and programming skills are peerless. It’s a flawless mix. One great track follows hard on the heels of another. A majestic journey through numerous musical genres unfolds. A few curveballs are thrown, just to keep you on your toes. So are a few favourites. Other times, Lefto spices things up with some cutting edge and contemporary tracks. Lefto you see, isn’t the type of DJ to trot out the same tracks.

No way. He’s always determined to keep listeners on their toes. That’s why Lefto is called “your favourite DJ’s favourite DJ.” He’s always going to spin a series of groundbreaking tracks. Things are always interesting when Lefto’s behind the wheels of steel. That’s why Lefto is one of Europe’s top DJs. He spins his eclectic sets throughout Asia, Europe and North America. Wherever he plays, Lefto keeps the dance-floor packed. That’s the case at Lefto’s regular residencies in Amsterdam and New York. For anyone yet to have heard Lefto play one of his legendary sets, then Southport Weekender: Lefto will be released on 2nd June 2014, on BBE Music. Southport Weekender: Lefto is your opportunity to hear one of Europe’s most exciting and innovative DJs spinning an eclectic and exciting set of groundbreaking music.



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