Who or what is Yuka? The simple answer: If you are a fan of classic soul and R&B, Yuka is your new favourite band.
The latest release from Yuka (pronounced “yoo-kah”) is entitled From The Ancients, and proof that you can’t judge an album by its cover. Spacey artwork aside, once the needle hits the groove there is no mistaking the seven-piece Toronto band’s deep devotion to the organic sounds that made Memphis, Detroit and New Orleans famous.
And putting the needle in the groove is exactly what Yuka wants you to do. They planned everything about their fourth release specifically for vinyl, and captured their vision on 8-track tape at Toronto’s Magnephonic Records. The album does come with a digital download card just for kicks, but—as the title suggests—From The Ancients is an homage to a musical approach rarely heard these days.
In many ways, From The Ancients is even a rebirth for the band, as it marks the first appearance on record of powerhouse vocalist Claire Doyle. Her contributions to three of the eight tracks, including a low-down funky re-imagining of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,”officially ends Yuka’s run up until now as an instrumental-only outfit, and has opened up a new world of songwriting possibilities, and bringing them closer to truly being Canada’s answer to Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.