Our History

Fonior / International Pilgrems Group

In 1928 E.W. Pilgrims de Bigard opened his first gramophone shop in Brussels. Shortly after in 1929 Fonior SA was born as a record label. In 1934 Fonior began a partnership with Decca for record production and distribution. Together they formed the Fonior / Decca studio in Brussels. Production continued but was slowed considerably by the war years. In 1960 Fonior merged with the CEFA studio and label and began record production in Congo (Zaire / DRC). This studio and the Fonior studios in Brussels became tremendously busy and were key in launching the careers of some of Africa's best loved and respected musicians such as Franco, Dr Nico, Manu Dibango & Papa Wemba. Through the sixties and seventies Fonior grew to be one of the largest African music groups, working with & forming labels such as CEFA, Ecodis, Opika, Surboum African Jazz, Lodende, Fiesta and African (home to one of the most reputable series of African music releases, known as the 360 series)

Label TreeIn the February 1973 "Willy" Pilgrims formed a new holding company, The International Pilgrim Group (IPG) to bring together the rights for record production of several related sub labels including Decca Nigeria , Polygram Kenya, Dureco (Dutch Record Company), Sofrason, Decca France, Area, Argo, Chapter One, Deram, Mam, Threshold, York, Vega, Pink Elephant, Omega, Omega International, Ele Provincien, GIP, Halter, Capri & Capriola and Weekend. On the 8th October 1981 Sonodisc SA acquired Fonior and IPG catalog & other rights which it integrated into its own enterprise.

Sonodisc

Sonodisc was formed in France in 1970. It grew out of CEDDL, a company set up by African music experts Marcel Perse and Michel David. Methodically organized and staffed it soon grew to be the largest record label and distribution groups representing Afro and world music. In 1974 it formed the Disques Esperance publishing arm & label to expand into wider world music and disco, funk, , latin, boogie and jazz sounds. Its Sonafric sub label was also responsible for a large number of African releases. Sonodisc also formed and worked with labels such as Africambiance, Baidaphon, Deba, Koutoubiaphone, Africa Oumba, AfroVision Records, Coco, Disques Vacances, GD Productions, BBZ Productions, Ozileka, Publi-Congo, Sonafric, TG Sawa, Voice Of Lebanon, Ngoma, Oasis, Orikaphone, Disques Debs International, Samson, Stenco, Sawt el Arab, Syliphone, Tichaphone, La Voix Des Etolles, Ararad, Diablotins, Tropical Records, Voice of Stars, Disques Kouma, Gema, Yam Production, WS Latino Genidia, Good Stuff ,Kina Rama, Oceane Production, Ozileka Records, RAS, Seeco, SLD, La Voix du Maghreb, Afrovision (With Manu Dibango) and Sono Cairo / Cairophon (home to a great number of tracks from the Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum). Throughout the severties and eighties it signed and launched the careers of many artists (including Koffi Olomide and Jacob Desvarieux).

Musisoft Next

Musisoft Next operated from 1997 to 2005 and grew to become one of the largest music enterprises within France. Created by Jean Karakos and former Sony Executive Henri De Bodinat, it expanded into labels, publishing and distribution. At its height it employed a staff of over 220 people. In 1998 Musisoft Next merged with the Sonodisc group of labels. Musisoft also acquired Media 7 and Concord music groups in the same year. Musisoft Next launched the record labels Total, Nextronic, Legend, Essential, Flavor, Night Fever, Groovin, Grave, Distance, Al-Sur, Jahmin, M Label, Nextronic, Invasion & Salam Maghreb. In 1999 Musisoft had it first hit with "1st Gaou" from Ivory Coast band Magic System.

Al-Sur

Our Al Sur ("The Wall" in Arabic) label was developed to show case traditional recording forms such as Gypsy, Flamenco, Rai & Taureg chants. It also grew to be the home for folk and world sounds from regions as disperse as Armenia, Iran, Romania, North African and Persia.

Suave

The Suave label was established in 2003 by Jean Karakos as a home for an extensive catalog of world, jazz, African and blues compilations of the highest quality. The goal of Suave was always to feature artists that the listener probably already is familiar with but present tracks, versions and hidden gems that may not know. Particular attention is paid to physical packaging and extensive sleeve notes. Some world flavors compilations even featured cooking recipes from the country of the music. For example (a fine Prune & Lamb Tagine with the North Africa compilation).

The Sonodisc Group

On the 28th July 2005 The Adageo group of companies acquired the Musisoft Next associated & accumulated labels. In 2011 this collective of over 100 labels, containing over 25000 of the finest World, Afro, Latin, Folk tracks, from world-renown artists, was energized & re-organized into the Sonodisc Group.