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Shakatak Biography

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Shakatak is a jazz-funk band, from the UK, founded in 1980.

Shakatak scored a number of chart entries, including two Top Ten hits in the UK Singles Chart, "Night Birds" (1982) and "Down On The Street" (1984). The group is still particularly popular in Japan and the Far East, and generally produces a new album each year.

From their début release in August 1980, (the Bill Sharpe composition "Steppin'" on the Polydor record label), the band's singles and albums have charted with a consistency that is fairly rare in the fad conscious world of popular music.

"Living In The UK" and "'Brazilian Dawn" became chart singles, and virtual anthems of the emerging British jazz-funk scene, and the band's debut album, Drivin' Hard became something of an underground hit in the clubs that were playing that 'new music'.

It was the release of "Easier Said Than Done" that was to give the band the radio exposure needed for their first Top 20 hit. This record introduced their instrumental-unison vocal sound to a much wider audience, and the track was destined to remain on the UK chart for seventeen weeks. The follow-up "Night Birds" was their first single to crack the Top 10, and the album of the same name gave Shakatak their first gold album, entering at Number 4 and remaining on the charts for twenty eight weeks. By now a major international act, the success of the release gave them the Number one jazz album slot in Japan, and attracted interest across Europe and South America.

Whilst all this recording activity was going on, the band were also touring extensively through 1982, performing a total of 132 concerts in one year. The band played live shows throughout the UK, Europe and finally Japan, their blend of musicianship and sense of fun, winning them a significant following worldwide.

Two more albums Invitations and Out Of This World were recorded in 1982 and 1983, resulting in several more chart hits paving the way for the next major breakthrough in the band's career. With a subtle change in musical direction, yet still retaining the band's identity, vocalist Jill Saward came forward fulfilling the role as lead vocalist to make Shakatak's fifth album Down On The Street. The resulting single releases "Down On The Street", and "Watching You" had some success, not only in their stronghold territories, but breaking the outfit into several new markets. The following year saw the release of the group's first live album, which was recorded in both Tokyo and London.

The seventh UK album Day By Day saw the development of songwriting by all of the band members. On stage the chemistry between Saward and Anderson was taken a stage further, when in 1986 Saward announced that their partnership would produce a baby later the same year. This news gave the band an excuse to stop their hectic touring schedule for a while, and concentrate purely on recording. The band's success in Japan estabilished them firmly in their Top 5 of foreign acts, and after winning the coveted Silver Award in the Tokyo International Song Festival, Shakatak were asked to produce an extra album each year exclusively for the Japanese market. By this time they had two extra albums released there entitled Into The Blue and Golden Wings'. Both were decent sellers; the latter scooping the "Best Instrumental Album 1987" slot at the Japanese Phonograph Record Association Awards.

However, following this success the band felt it was time they re-directed their efforts back to singles, and an album for release to the rest of the world. The result being Something Special, closely followed by the night club and minor chart hit "Mr Maniac & Sister Cool" from their next LP, Maniac and Cool.

By 1987 they were experiencing rapidly diminishing returns in their homeland, with releases failing to make any impression on the prevailing charts. However, their following in Japan resulted in a third special project album entitled Da Makani, being recorded, and this emulated their previous chart success in that country.

Shakatak continues to record and perform live to this day.

Nigel Wright left the band early in their string of successess, and went on to operate as a record producer of international repute. He has worked with Barbra Streisand, Madonna, Boyzone, Take That, José Carreras, Robson & Jerome, Michael Ball, Sarah Brightman and Cliff Richard.
 
 
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