TORONTO, ON – July 15, 2022 – Today, Toronto-based group and movement, Amai Kuda et Les Bois, debut the second animated visual from their album, EmUrgency!, for new single, Oshun. The song draws its title from the orisha (deity) of 'sweet water,' which includes all rivers, lakes, and streams, in the Yoruba cosmology of West Africa and the African diaspora. Listen to Oshun here and watch the visual, created in collaboration with Nigeria's Spoof Animation, here.

"Joy, love, beauty, magic and riches are all her domain. She is also a fearsome warrior," Amai adds. "We give thanks to her for all the sweet things and bounty in life, and also call upon her for help in matters of love or money. This praise song for her was born on the shores of her waters and is a gift both from and for her."

The music video for Oshun is the second of three teaser videos for the pilot episode of EmUrgency!, an animated series based on the album. Each teaser is 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 addressing the need for more Black animated content, and more popular media dealing with African Spirituality and mythology in positive ways. Both the album and show, EmUrgency!, speak to current social issues while addressing timeless themes contained in traditional mythology. 

Following its 2021 pre-release as a limited-edition vinyl LP, the digital version and its accompanying narrative animated videos are unfolding this summer. In May, the group released Eshu. A prayer, an invocation, a Soca-Caiso jam and a work of political resistance all in one, the song Eshu, was featured on the playlist, Ones to Watch, as well as several Spotify editorial playlists, CBC Radio One's Big City Small World, Tinnitist, Rhythm Passport and Wildfire Music. Listen to Eshu here and watch the video here.

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 – Oshun 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!’