29 Jul 2021

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Isaac Aesili


“One of the most exciting soul talents to emerge from the South Pacific!” (Benji B, BBC1)

Originally from Christchurch, Isaac Aesili is an Auckland-based multi-instrumentalist, singer, DJ and producer who specialises in trumpet. He is of mixed Guyananese, Maori and Pakeha heritage, and the mix of cultures can be heard throughout his music. Musically, he started in 1995 winning the national NZ youth trumpet award at Tauranga Jazz Festival, and started the soul fusion band Solaa in the late 1990s with friends, and since then has been part of Opensouls, Eru Dangerspiel, The Tornadoes, and the Recloose Live Band.

He released his debut solo album Eye See in 2009. More recently he co-founded LatinAotearoa, a Latin-inspired sound system with Brazilian DJ Bobby Brazuka and Venezuelan singer Jennifer Zea. He also released an album as the Karlmarx Project with his younger brother Mark McNeill in 2010, and currently is part of the successful Lord Echo band.

He has also toured as a session musician and singer with live jungle drum and bass, reggae and soul/funk groups Shapeshifter, House Of Shem, TrinityRoots, Eru Dangerspiel and The Tornadoes, and he also attended the Red Bull Music Academy in Seattle in 2005. He is currently the band leader of Auckland electronic soul band Sorceress.

This diverse mix of influences and musical styles has become a hallmark of Aesili’s “future soul music” over the past 15 years.

A prolific collaborator Isaac has produced and released songs with artists such as Aaradhna, Ladi6, Electric Wire Hustle, Grooveman Spot, Chaos in the CBD and Julien Dyne. His session work includes recording horns for Crowded House and Osunlade. As a DJ and producer Isaac fuses Electronica with Soul, Funk and Afro/Latino influences.

In 2011 Isaac founded Soul Electronica band Sorceress (formerly Funkommunity) with vocalist Rachel Fraser. Their debut album Chequered Thoughts was internationally acclaimed and Sorceress spent 2012 touring Europe and Japan. Isaac’s music has featured on Okayplayer and Soul Bounce and has been played by DJs such as Benji B, Gilles Peterson and Lefto. In 2014, New York based label Wonderwheel Recordings released Dose by Sorceress, after finishing the production of Dose Isaac produced Latinaotearoa’s second album Latinoamerica which was recorded in Brazil and New Zealand. In 2015-16 Isaac is working on his long awaited sophomore solo album and a new Karlmarx project.

Isaac’s music that is rooted in soul but incorporates everything from the classical and jazz sounds his adopted father was passionate about, to house music, R&B (“as a teenager that was the music I taped off the radio”), electronica, and those swinging South American-meets-Caribbean rhythms of his Guyanese heritage.


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  • Auckland

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