Toronto, ON based JUNO-nominated ensemble, OKAN, have just shared a new single, “Espiral,” the title track from their upcoming album scheduled for release on October 9th via Lulaworld Records. “Espiral” (Spanish for ‘Spiral’) once again sees this popular Afro-Cuban jazz group blend sonic musical elements, both classic and contemporary, while honoring their roots.
Highly regarded within the jazz, folk, and global roots music communities, founding OKAN members Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne delve deeper into their rich Cuban-Canadian roots to find renewed inspiration in this musical heritage. “Espiral is an arrangement that we did of an Afro-Cuban chant we first heard in December, 2018. It’s not as well-known as many chants and comes from the Arará sect (tribal tradition) of the Santeria religion, as opposed to the Lucumi sect,” the artists share. “We then decided to mix this Afro-Cuban chant with another genre called guajira from the Eastern countryside of Cuba. This hasn’t been done before, or at least we don’t know of.”
Taking their name from the word for heart in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, “Espiral” uniquely blends traditional folk rhythms of Eastern Cuba with Santeria-derived chants. Showcasing the stunning vocals, violin and percussion of both Rodriguez and Savigne, “Espiral” features contributions from leading Cuban-Canadian artists Telmary Diaz, Miguel de Armas, Hilario Duran, Roberto Riveron, Alexis Baro, Frank Martinez, and Pablosky Rosales.