Musician David Byrne's Luaka Bop
record label which debuted in 1989 with the acclaimed "Brazil
Classics" series will reissue most of its catalog on Tuesday.
The move, a delayed celebration of Luaka Bop's 10th anniversary last year,
comes with the label's shift to a new distributor, Virgin Records, after
working with Warner Bros.
"[Warner Bros.] didn't expect us to exist for three years, much less 10,"
Luaka Bop President Yale Evelev said. "And they never considered the
world-music stuff we did as anything they could make money from. They
just didn't want to devote that much energy to it."
The reissues will include four titles that have gone out of print, as
well as all the albums that had been distributed actively by Warner Bros.
until last September.
Aside from one change a Carlinhos Brown
track replacing one by Sergio Mendes
on Beleza Tropical 2 the original version of each album,
from track sequence to artwork, is unchanged. Only two albums, both
recorded by A.R. Kane, will not be
included in the reissue.
Evelev said the Virgin deal reflects the distributor's full understanding
of his company's position.
While indie-rock band Cornershop
scored a hit single for the label with "Brimful of Asha" (RealAudio
excerpt), the majority of its acts have been less lucrative.
"But Virgin is going, 'We know that Susana
Baca is not gonna sell a million and a half records. But we
also know that we can spend money on her, have a long career for her,
and make that money back,' " Evelev said.
"I'm not bitter about Warners," he continued, "but they were more interested
in artists they felt were going to go platinum. We never, ever did a label
promotion with them. In fact, they didn't feel they could ever break Luaka
Bop out and do anything special with it as a label. This is the first
time it's ever happened, and it's radically different for us."