Luaka Bop is a New York-based record label founded by musician David Byrne, former lead singer and guitarist for the art rock–new wave band Talking Heads. What began with Byrne making cassettes of his favorite Tropicália tracks for his friends became a fully-fledged record label in 1988 after Byrne received a solo artist deal from Warner Bros.
Since then, Luaka Bop has developed into a label known for bringing eclectic music to new audiences. Though initially affiliated with Warner Bros, Luaka Bop has been wholly independent since 2006. Often categorized as a “world music” label, Luaka Bop considers its own music to be mostly contemporary pop.
Luaka Bop has released full-length albums, EPs, and singles from artists such as Alice Coltrane, William Onyeabor, and Floating Points, as well as compilations covering a wide range of musical movements and styles. The label’s maiden release eventually became the seven-album Brazil Classics series, which surveys genres from samba to Tropicália, as well as individual artists. This was the first of a number of region- or genre-specific compilation series released by Luaka Bop.
Luaka Bop’s releases have frequently been well received by critics, with both compilations and releases of individual artists regularly featuring in best-of-year lists. The label has been highlighted for its “singular ability to (re)discover, celebrate, and legitimize the otherwise low-profile work of some of the world’s more eccentric musical figures.”
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