Okan, a wonderful Cuban band primarily based in Toronto, has launched its second album titled Espiral (Spiral) on Lulaworld Information. Okan is directed by two extremely gifted Cuban girls, violinist and vocalist Elizabeth Rodriguez and percussionist and vocalist Magdelys Savigne.
Espiral incorporates a improbable mixture of Cuban music (danzón, Afro-Cuban chants and beats, bolero, pilón and música guajira), jazz fusion, classical violin influences, Dominican merengue and Brazilian samba. The album showcases the distinctive, multifaceted violin work of Elizabeth Rodriguez; and the first-rate, wide-ranging percussion of Magdelys Savigne.
Okan infuse Espiral with extra sabor cubano with the assistance of tres (Cuban guitar) participant Pablosky Rosales.
Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne left Cuba just a few years and located a welcoming house in Toronto, Canada. The 2 artists talked to us about their profession and the brand new album.
What are your fondest musical reminiscences?
(E) Singing within the kitchen with my mother. She has a really lovely voice.
(M) My birthday events, the place music was performed nearly 24 hours a day and the audio system had been placed on the balcony for the entire neighborhood.
What do you contemplate to be the important parts of your music?
(E) The vocal harmonies are current in each music.
(M) The combination of various rhythms and using completely different genres from varied elements of Cuba and the world.
How did your musical concepts evolve over time out of your first album to Espiral?
(M) We consider that everybody learns over time and evolves naturally. We select what works, or not, with the viewers as we play.
(E) New information is all the time acquired, it’s a course of that by no means ends.
We predict this album has extra maturity.
Inform us about your new album, Espiral.
(E) Espiral is an album full of colours and completely different textures. It goes via varied eras and genres of Cuban music, blended with a twenty first century language however with out dropping the essence.
(M) We experimented with different genres of worldwide music as we stay in a metropolis as multicultural as Toronto. I’ve been a member of a number of bands right here which have influenced me, with Turkish and Brazilian music. In the long run we have now come to the conclusion that we’re not that completely different on the subject of music.
Who performs in Spiral? Who’re the musicians you might be at present working with?
We’ve a spectacular forged of Cuban and Canadian musicians. On the piano, Miguel de Armas, Jeremy Ledbetter and Hilario Durán as particular visitor on ‘Mercedes.’ Roberto Riveron on bass, and Frank Martinez on drums. You’ll hear a sequence of particular friends who introduced nice taste and expertise: Alexis Baro on trumpet; rapper Telmary Diaz; Junior Santos on Dominican tambora; Pat Blanchard on trombone; and Pablosky Rosales on tres cubano.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you when it comes to work and livelihoods?
(E) Fortunately, we’re in Canada, the place the federal government has been in command of supporting the residents. It’s not the perfect time for any individual and even much less for artists. The scenario could be very tough and we’re doing every thing attainable to proceed with our work. Reinventing new methods is our purpose, in order that music continues to movement and attain increasingly folks.
What are they doing today whereas there are lockdowns and orders to remain at house in lots of nations?
(M) We’ve been a part of a number of on-line occasions akin to Philadelphia Folks Pageant, Toronto Jazz Pageant, amongst others. Actually, it’s been fairly good for us. For now we’re selling this album and with that we’re fairly busy. However we’re desirous to be play with an viewers once more.
You reside in Canada. How is the Cuban and Latin American music scene the place you reside?
There’s a very massive and various Latino group right here. Essentially the most frequent assembly level is the Lula Lounge. Lula is like the house of all Latinos. You may hearken to Cuban, Colombian, European, Brazilian, Russian music, and so forth. Every little thing Toronto represents.
On Fridays they used to current the Cuban evening, the place you could possibly discover the perfect representatives of our music on stage. Lula Lounge additionally has a file label for artists in the neighborhood. We’re very completely happy to be a part of the Lulaworld Information label. It’s one thing that artists like us actually respect. As a result of it isn’t simple to be an immigrant and begin a profession in a brand new nation.
How has dwelling in Canada influenced you?
(E) Effectively now we are able to categorical ourselves freely. And feeling free is priceless.
Now we converse English which makes us bilingual, and we have now been in a position to write songs on this language.
Now we’re extra open to different sounds and experiences since we stay surrounded by a lot range.
Now I’ve discovered to be rather less impulsive. Canadians have taught me to assume with a cooler head.
Are you continue to involved with musicians who reside in Cuba and what’s being carried out there?
(E) I’ve few pals there. Most have left Cuba for apparent causes. However I do have just a few left, and we don’t talk straight so much, however I do know the issues they do and we help one another with feedback on social media and so forth.
(M) I’ve even fewer pals in Cuba. Sure, we’re all the time conscious of what’s taking place in Cuba. Fortunately, artwork doesn’t die.
In what methods are they selling your music?
Fb, IG, Spotify, YouTube, you title it. The toughest a part of all of it is that individuals anticipate rather more from artists than earlier than. Rather more entry, and to high all of it now we have now to make our personal sound and scenography for stay concert events on-line.
When you may collect musicians or bands to collaborate with, who wouldn’t it be?
Janelle Monae, Laura Mvula, Dayme Arocena. Djavan, Francisco Céspedes, Oscar de León, Willy Chirino, Pedrito Martinez. So many others.
Do you give lessons or workshops?
(E) We give lessons in varied music colleges within the metropolis. And once we go on tour we give workshops.
In addition to the discharge of Espiral, do you’ve gotten any extra tasks to share with us?
In 2020, regardless of so many tough issues, we have now been lucky to be a part of two albums extremely anticipated by folks. One is already come out, Miss Colombia by Lido Pimienta, and the opposite will likely be Bomba Estéreo’s subsequent album.
The preliminary plan was to take part in some concert events with Bomba and do our Spiral tour, however now every thing is unsure. We’ll proceed selling our music and possibly we are able to do one thing earlier than all of us assume.
Extra about Okan
Writer: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music for a few years. He based the web sites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel can be co-founder of the Transglobal World Music Chart.
Angel has additionally produced and remastered world music studio albums and compilations for labels akin to Alula Information, Ellipsis Arts, and Music of the World.