Toronto, ON – June 10, 2021 – It’s been a winning week for trailblazing contemporary Afro-Cuban Roots and Jazz ensemble, OKAN. Led by Toronto-based, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne, OKAN recently picked up their first JUNO Award for their 2020 album, Espiral, in the category of World Music Album of the Year. The accolade follows their first JUNO nomination for their earlier release, Sombras, which was also nominated for a 2021 Canadian Folk Music Award.

On the eve of the win, and in celebration of PRIDE month, they released a new video for Pie de Foto, a standout track from Espiral (released October 9, 2020 via Lulaworld Records). Directed by Ksenija Hotić, and featuring pianist Jeremy Ledbetter, the visual captures the couple’s romantic, spiritual and creative partnership framed by beautiful flora and fauna. Spanish for captionPie de Foto creates a personal vision of authenticity, strength, vibrancy, and grace that is unequivocally OKAN. Watch Pie de Foto here.  

Another video for the high-energy instrumental track, Trocada, will be released later this summer. Check out the visual for the album’s title track, Espiralhere

Beyond the studio, stage and podium, OKAN has stayed steadily creating throughout the pandemic with virtual appearances for the Aga Khan, Harrison Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival’s Cabin Fever, Festival International de Louisiane, and a recent Instagram takeover for the TOLive venue, Meridian Hall, amongst numerous others. 

In addition to all the online concerts, Magdelys and Elizabeth have been focusing on sharing their love of music through workshops and teaching residencies with Sistema, Prairie Debut, and Lula Music and Arts Centre.

They have virtual and in person concerts lined up for the Ottawa Chamberfest, TD Salsa in Toronto Festival 2021, Huntsville Festival of the Arts, Summerfolk and The Nelson International Mural Festival. Stay tuned for details set to be released in the coming weeks. 

On the international front, OKAN's collaboration with Colombian band, Bomba Estereo, has allowed them to reach audiences around the world, where their distinctive vocals can be heard on the title track, Agua (alongside fellow Canadian Latinx artist, Lido Pimienta). The official video for this track has 1.6 million views on YouTube. Check it out here.

About OKAN:
Taking their name from the word for heart in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, the women-led ensemble OKAN fuses Afro-Cuban roots with jazz, folk and global rhythms in songs about immigration, courage and love. Born in Havana, Cuba, Elizabeth Rodriguez is a classically trained violinist who served as concertmaster for Havana’s Youth Orchestra. Magdelys Savigne hails from Santiago de Cuba and graduated with honours in orchestral percussion from Havana’s University of the Arts.

About Espiral (2021 JUNO Award – World Music Album of the Year):

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. 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 — all while absorbing and reflecting the influences of their adopted hometown, the multicultural mosaic of Toronto. Espiral was created with the general support of FACTOR Canada, The Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council.

DOWNLOAD – Press Photo | DOWNLOAD – Espiral Album Artwork

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OKAN acknowledges the generous support of FACTOR,
Canadian Council for the Arts, Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council: