TORONTO, ON – May 13, 2022 – Today, Toronto-based group and movement, Amai Kuda et Les Bois, announce the release of their album, EmUrgency! Following its 2021 pre-release as a limited-edition vinyl LP, the digital version unfolds this summer with a series of narrative animated videos. It begins with Eshu. A prayer, an invocation, a Soca-Caiso jam and a work of political resistance all in one, the song Eshu, like the god to whom it is dedicated, is many different things at once. Listen to Eshu here and watch the video here.

"Eshu is the Orisha (deity) of the crossroads in the Yoruba pantheon and all its descendant traditions (Santeria, Candomble, etc.). As such, he embodies the meeting of the material and spiritual realms and is the messenger between humans and Orishas, and requires propitiation at the start of all ceremonies," says Amai Kuda et Les Bois of the song's inspiration. "He is a 'trickster' figure, neither good nor  bad, and he is a ruler of time, decisions and changing our luck either for the better or for the worse. This song in his honour calls upon him to transform negative into positive, invoking an ancestral voice to illustrate the humour and playfulness that are often part of his nature as he teaches lessons to humanity through his tricks." 

The animated video brings this powerful West African and diasporic character to life. Created in collaboration with  rising Nigerian animators, Spoof Animation, the film is intended to help address the need for more Black animation, and the need for more popular media dealing with African Spirituality and mythology in positive ways.

The music video for Eshu is the first of three teaser videos for the pilot episode of EmUrgency!, an animated series based on the album. Each teaser will be soundtracked to a song from EmUrgency!, and the release of the pilot episode will introduce the full EP to the world. Amai Kuda et Les Bois are tapping into a rising animation community evolving in Africa and the world as a result of the pandemic. Both the album and show, EmUrgency!, speak to the times we're in while addressing timeless themes contained in traditional mythology. 

EmUrgency! was recorded, mixed and mastered at Quantum Vox Music with co-producer, Jimmy Kiddo, and reflects Amai’s vast influences: Afrohouse, Motown, alt rock, hip hop and downtempo, with inflections of Amai’s Trinidadian heritage and Toronto upbringing in the mix. The album speaks to the struggles, wisdoms, and joys of Amai’s journey, being guided by ancestors and Orishas, and staying true to her calling as mother, healer, warrior and artist, despite the many obstacles facing Black, queer women in the music industry and society at large. On the songs, Amai delves into African Indigenous spiritual traditions, connecting with gods and deities of Yoruba cosmology, the anti-colonial war for survival, unconditional love, honouring elders, as well as the inner child and how to preserve it in times of struggle.  
Amai is also passionate about their initiative, the Sankofa Maroon Village (SMV), currently raising funds (see GoFundMe page) to establish the first Black eco-village in Canada. Sankofa Maroon Village is a physical and metaphysical space for African descended folk to rebuild healthy, ROOTED, sustainable community. You can find out more and support this powerful project here.
Learn more about Amai Kuda et les Bois below, find a limited edition copy of EmUrgency! on vinyl here, and stay tuned for more episodes to be released this summer. 
DOWNLOAD – Press Photo by Samuel Engelking

DOWNLOAD – Eshu Single Artwork
DOWNLOAD – EmUrgency! Album Art
About Amai Kuda et Les Bois
Amai Kuda et Les Bois don’t fit into the usual boxes. Breaking boundaries is part of their superpower. Not a band or a solo act, they prefer to call themselves ‘a movement.’ Led by Amai Kuda, their shows and albums always begin with the pouring of libations and the invocation of ancestors. This spiritual element weaves its way throughout all their music, whether that be soothing acoustic ballads, dancy electronic grooves or alt-rock-hip-hop-infused political tracks. Ecouché, for example, the “stunning new single” (Indie88) off the new album EmUrgency! is sung entirely in a language of ancestral communication and can’t be delivered the same way twice. It embodies what NOW magazine has called the group’s “tantalizing Afro-soul” fusion sound, "earthy and rootsy and good for your ears" (Errol Nazareth CBC in reference to AfroSoul Volume II: MaZai). Indeed, it is the genre-defying nature of their work which led their debut album, Sand from the Sea, to be named “one of the year's most exciting discoveries” (Nicholas Jennings - Canada's foremost music journalist).

Since that early accolade Amai Kuda et Les Bois have slogged away in Toronto’s music scene, performing at venues like the Jane Mallett Theatre, Harbourfront, The Rivoli, and festivals such as Luminato, Kultrun, and Small World, as well as at venues and community centres on four continents. Amai Kuda et Les Bois have certainly paid their dues, and they haven’t gone unnoticed. They’ve been featured in NOW magazine and on CBC’s Canada Live and Big City Small World, while a single from their 2019 release with Version Xcursion, Holding Back, premiered on Strombo Show. The group also won the Best Folk/Roots award as well as placing second for the Best Song at the Toronto Independent Music Awards. They’ve opened for 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
All that said, the group is acutely aware of, and quite angered by, the glass ceiling in the music industry that keeps artists like themselves from reaching wider audiences. Their new album, EmUrgency! is largely about pushing back against this, and in the coverage it’s received thus far (The Strombo Show, CTV National News, RX Music Live, UMFM and CJRU), they’ve made a point of talking about it. For Amai Kuda et Les Bois, music is about healing - ourselves, our society and the earth, and that can’t happen unless we listen to the voices that have for too long been ignored. It is truly a ‘listening EmUrgency!’