As any one of the several hundred insanely lucky converts who were on hand to hear Osunlade spin in Miami Beach this past February will attest, his sets are exhaustive, transforming, uplifting experiences that transcend the auditory, engaging all the senses and, Osunlade hopes, the soul. "I like to call up the spirits and make you feel something while listening, not just to entertain the ear," the tall and commanding Ifa (a traditional African religion) priest says. Born in Saint Louis, Osunlade made a name for himself in the late Seventies in the emerging Chicago house scene, first as a DJ and then as a composer and producer for Patti LaBelle, Freddie Jackson, Gerardo Mejia, and Eric Benet. He went on to found his own imprint, Yoruba Records, and to typify what might be called "conscious house," an atmospherically intense fusion of deep-house elements with complex tribal percussion patterns and Brazilian rhythms.
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Aquabooty's Tomas Ceddia says Osunlade is his favorite DJ, and Osunlade mirrors the compliment: "The Aquabooty guys have a strong thing going. The house scene is a very specific demographic and a difficult one to maintain, but luckily for me, those guys have a devoted following and strong events. I'm blessed to be involved."