This week’s download comes from Cuban mambo collective Orquesta Akokán and their forthcoming album “16 Rayos.” You have seven days to download the song “Mi Congo Es De Akokán.”
From the press release:
16 Rayos is a dialogue between artists living in the United States and Cuba. We believe, and have seen firsthand, the power of music to overcome seemingly intractable beliefs. The current stalemate and outdated policies of both nations, encouraged by the politics of grievance, only serves to divide us further. If the politicians are not going to solve this then we, the artists, must rise to the moment.
Today the band is sharing their first album single “Mi Conga Es De Akokán” plus an album trailer. A unique merging of the folkloric conga rhythm from Santiago de Cuba with the power of mambo horns, “Mi Conga Es De Akokán” begins with a long instrumental section of feints before singer Pepito’s vocal enters over the drums. As horns jab and the chorus interjects, rhythmic elements push, pull and prod the band until everything besides the drums drop out – highlighting an incandescent trumpet solo by the living legend Reinaldo “Molote” Melian. Breaks and soneos follow, leading to an intensely beautiful crescendo of horns, percussion and vocals.
When Orquesta Akokán burst onto the global music scene a mere three years ago, their no-holds-barred 21st century take on the venerable Cuban mambo lit up stages around the world with a fierce and unremitting joy. Singer José “Pepito” Gómez, Chulo Records producer and multi instrumentalist Jacob Plasse, and arranger Michael Eckroth joined forces with a carefully curated selection of Havana’s most extraordinary musicians as Orquesta Akokán, polishing Cuban mambo’s golden sound to a luminous, contemporary sheen. Along the way Orquesta Akokán imbued these legendary Cuban grooves with a renewed vitality and powerful sense of akokán —the Yoruba word used by Cubans to mean “from the heart” or “soul.”
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