TORONTO’S AFRO-CUBAN ENSEMBLE OKAN SHARE NEW ALBUM ESPIRAL WITH VIBRANT VIDEO
OUT NOW VIA LULAWORLD RECORDS
JUNO-NOMINATED AND INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARD-WINNING GROUP TO SHARE LIVESTREAM ALBUM RELEASE SHOW NEXT FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16 AT 8 P.M. ET
"an ear-grabbing Afro-Cuban concoction for you from OKAN, a Toronto-based JUNO-nominated group that fuses jazz, folk and Cuban rhythms" – OkayAfrica
“Jazz fusion duo OKAN (Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne) are at the forefront of Canadian-Cuban musicians bringing kaleidoscopic island sounds to international music lovers.” – Audiofemme
"OKAN craft jazzy, heady grooves informed by Afro-Cuban culture and a world of sound.” – Chicago Reader
"OKAN‘s vocal- and percussion-driven tracks evoke their homeland yet also reflect the vibrant Cuban-Canadian community.” – NOW Magazine
"the group masterfully combines Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz, trova, soul, Brazilian music and flamenco.” – World Music Central
Toronto, ON – October 9, 2020 – Toronto-based JUNO-nominated Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble, OKAN, deliver their second album, Espiral, today. Led by violinist, Elizabeth Rodriguez and percussionist, Magdelys Savigne, OKAN compose pieces that fuse their Afro-Cuban roots with jazz, folk, and global rhythms. Listen to Espiral here.
To celebrate the release, the duo share their first-ever music video for the record’s title track, which premiered at Audiofemme with an exclusive interview. A collaboration between OKAN and Creative Director/Producer, Kathleen Ryan, the visuals for Espiral capture the elation of rebirth through its infectious, vibrant joyfulness, set amidst the lavish blues and verdant greens of Prince Edward County, Ontario, evoking a tropical setting – watch Espiral here.
Exploring the dualities of the contemporary and traditional, city and country, secular and sacred, exile and rebirth, Espiralis a rousing example of how OKAN bring their cross-cultural influences together, whipping away in a dizzying interplay of Rodriguez’s violin, Savigne’s guajira rhythms and the Santería-derived chants that thread the track together.
“The vibrant colour of our very first music video reflects the joy and pride we take from our culture and background. It honours the resilience of our ancestors,” OKAN says. “We made it all the way to Canada and even after so many centuries, we are still paying tribute to them using our new language and connecting with the beauty of a new environment.”
In addition, you can join OKAN in celebrating the new release at their album launch livestream concert next Friday October 16 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The concert will be streamed on OKAN’s Facebook page, as well as Lula’s YouTube channel. Tune in here, and find all details below.
Following up on their JUNO-nominated, Sombras, and Independent Music Award-winning debut release, Laberinto, OKAN’s sophomore project, Espiral, delves deeper into the group's rich Cuban roots, finding renewed inspiration in this musical heritage. Taking their name from the word for heart in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santería, OKAN fuses these powerful elements with jazz, folk and global rhythms. Espiral features contributions by leading Canadian Cuban artists Telmary Diaz, Miguel de Armas, Hilario Duran, Roberto Riveron, Alexis Baro, Frank Martinez and Pablosky Rosales.
Throughout the record, the duo traverse genres as diverse and rich as Danzon, Samba, Merengue, Pilón and more, cover legendary Cuban vocalist, La Lupe, tackle Mexican composer, Conseulo Velazquez’s Bésame Mucho – one of the most covered songs of all time – and impart stories of immigration, courage, and love, all while absorbing and reflecting back the influences of their adopted hometown, the multicultural mosaic of Toronto.
Known for their memorable and energetic live shows across Canada and the world, the ensemble has been invited to play at the SF Jazz Festival, India's Jaipur Jazz and Blues Festival, New Mexico Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz, among others, as well to perform and record with Polaris Prize winner, Lido Pimienta, Colombian electro-cumbia stars, Bomba Estéreo, and more.
Espiral by OKAN is out now via Lulaworld Records – listen and buy it here.
4. Beseme Mucho
7. Cumba Cumba
8. Baila Canada
9. Pie De Foto
DOWNLOAD – Espiral video still
OKAN acknowledges the generous support of FACTOR,
Canadian Council for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council: