Charged with the profound power of their African ancestry, the heart of OKAN’s third album is Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne’s complex relationship with Cuba.
“The 6th track ‘No Volvi’ is a perfect example of the deep ambivalence that we feel about our homeland. In the song we’re saying we won’t go back, that we won’t deal with repression that the government inflicts on the people of Cuba any more. But at the same time we know that our whole world, all our experiences and the way we react to them are shaped by our identity as Cubans and our Afro-Latin heritage.” - Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savingne.
Okantomi melds Afro-Cuban forms including sacred Lacumi chants and rhythms with virtuosic jazz and classical performances, as the Grammy and Latin Grammy-nominated leaders Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne lay the foundation for special guest appearances by Cuban heavyweights spanning multiple generations. Cuban music fans will recognize contributions by vocalist Dayme Arocena, guitarist Elmer Ferrer, pianist Miguel de Amas (N.G. La Banda) and bassist Roberto Riveron (Klimax, Cubanismo) alongside the renowned classical violinist Lara St. John.
Having continued to mature as both composers and performers since their JUNO-winning Espiral release in 2020, Rodriguez and Savigne explore the tensions between their love of their homeland, the heartbreak of witnessing how the country’s continued political and economic crises affect the island’s population, and their experiences as Latina immigrants to a country that has its own baked-in inequities and contradictions when it comes to racism and human rights.
Unifying the stylistically diverse tracks that make up the album is the intention to honor the orishas or deities of the Santeria religion through OKAN’s contemporary artistic practice.
Okantomi by OKAN - vinyl
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