Toronto, ON – April 16, 2021 – Today, Toronto-based artist and community organizer, Amai Kuda et Les Bois, shares a fluid, stunning new song, Ecouché. The piece is sonic magic – a spell for healing of the waters – and will arrive as the first single from Amai Kuda et Les Bois’ upcoming full-length album, EmUrgency!, to be released as a limited edition vinyl recording on May 20. Listen to the Ecouché here and pre-order the album here.

On the album, Amai says: “EmUrgency! is born from my ongoing journey as a woman of African descent working to reclaim my Indigenous cultural knowledge and to support my community in doing the same. The album speaks to the struggles, wisdoms, and joys of walking this unconventional path, a path guided by ancestors and orishas, to come into my power as mother, healer, warrior and griot. There is urgency in the emergence process, because it is, in fact, a matter of survival.” 

Channeled and sung entirely in a language of ancestral communication, Ecouché can never be performed the same way twice. The song was written and produced by Amai Kuda Yemoja Ile, with vocals, guitar by Amai Kuda Yemoja Ile, and second guitar from Jimmy Smalbach (Jimmy Kiddo). 

EmUrgency! will be released on exclusive limited-edition vinyl next month, followed by a full-length visual album in the form of animated episodes, set for digital release this summer into the fall. Ecouché is a sample of what audiences can hear from Amai Kuda et Les Bois as the months progress. 

Described by NOW magazine as a “tantalizing Afro-soul combo of folk, roots, desert blues and African continental music,” AfroSoul Volume III: Re’ is the most recent EP from Amai Kuda et Les. Bois. It is the powerful follow-up to their full-length release, AfroSoul Volume II: MaZai, which was hailed as "earthy and rootsy and good for your ears" by CBC's Errol Nazareth. The positive reviews are no surprise for those familiar with Amai Kuda’s debut album, Sand from the Sea, considered “one of the year's most exciting discoveries” in 2012 (Nicholas Jennings - Canada's foremost music journalist and historian).

Amai Kuda et Les Bois have been featured in NOW magazine and on CBC’s Canada Live and Big City Small World, while a single from their 2019 collaborative release with Version Xcursion, Holding Back, premiered on The Strombo Show. The group has performed at venues like the Jane Mallett Theatre, Harbourfront, The Rivoli, The Garrison, and festivals such as Luminato, Kultrun, Big on Bloor and Small World Music Festival. They have given workshops on music, decolonization, African cultural knowledge and percussion at public schools, universities, libraries and community centres throughout Southern Ontario, in the Caribbean and Europe. In 2015, the band was selected as one of the ‘101 Standout Artists’ during the nationwide CBC Searchlight competition. 

Amai Kuda et Les Bois have opened for the likes of Joel Plaskett, Kellylee Evans and Sarah Slean, and collaborated with M1 of the legendary Hip-Hop duo, Dead Prez on a call-to-action song called We Can Do It. The group won the Best Folk/Roots award and also placed 2nd for the Best Song across all categories at the Toronto Independent Music Awards. Whether on the street, the stage or in the studio, for Amai Kuda et Les Bois, music is about healing –the healing of the earth, our ancestors and ourselves. 

Amai Kuda is based in Toronto and has been making music professionally since 2008. She has no professional music training. Amai studied humanities at Trent University (completing her own special emphasis degree program in Decolonization) before having her son in 2004 and devoting her time to social justice work. She has founded and coordinated a number of social justice organizations primarily focused on decolonization, specifically initiatives supporting Indigenous land rights and empowerment of local Black communities. 

Her initiative, the Sankofa Maroon Village, is currently raising funds to establish the first Black intentional community in Canada – complete with a centre for African cultural education and nature-based healing activities as well as an organic farm to promote Black food sovereignty. You can find out more and support this powerful project here.  

Pre-order EmUrgency! – out May 20 – on vinyl here

DOWNLOAD - Ecouché Single Art | DOWNLOAD – Press Photo