As part of our Vinyl.EU editions, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Zamrock legends WITCH’s scarce 7″ “Freedom Fighter” with a limited edition pressing, hand numbered with an informative insert, unlocking the mystery of how the WITCH shifted from Zamrock to Disco.
YouTube has given record collectors a platform for sharing lost, displaced, forgotten gems that we may never have had the chance to wrap our ears around. Often the artists don’t even have a physical copy of their own record, and their music is rediscovered by fellow family members reaching out in the comment sections.
“Freedom Fighter”, which has been overlooked until now, is a missing link in the WITCH story. It unlocks the mystery of how they transitioned at the beginning of the 1980s from prog rock sensibilities to the synth-licked beats that would characterise their later boogie albums.
Prior to the reissue, the record had been gathering attention on Copenhagen dance floors thanks to a local record dealer who has been specialising in selling Zambian records for the past decade. The original pressing of the record that we created the reissue from also appears on our 2nd VF Live feature prior to this project being conceived.
“Many Zambian bands underwent interesting evolutionary trajectories over the course of the 1970s but nothing matches the radical leap undertaken by WITCH from the bold and progressive Afro-rock of their Janet album in 1977 to their fully fledged boogie outing Movin’ On in 1980. These two incarnations of Zambia’s most cherished ensemble have been comprehensively documented over the last decade and have attracted distinct legions of Zamrock and disco acolytes. Unreleased until now, the non-album single “Freedom Fighter” (with it’s quirky reggae B-side) emerges as the missing link that unites the two WITCH camps, finding the group in Zimbabwe as the new nation came into being and documenting a mercurial period with their sound in the process of shapeshifting. “ – Sharp Flat Records.
Freedom Fighter is now available here in Vinyl.EU edition RED, limited to 50 handmade copies.
The replica reissue of the rare original 7” comes with a handmade outer sleeve and a numbered insert detailing the single’s remarkable story. Profits from the sale of this 7″ are going to WITCH’s Stanford Tembo for medical treatment.