Monday, October 3, 2022 at 7:30pm
When Orquesta Akokán burst onto the global music scene, their no-holds barred 21st century take on the venerable Cuban mambo lit up stages around the world with a fierce and unremitting joy. Suffused with a sense of possibility, the band pushes the conventions of “mambo” by drawing from folkloric and religious traditions seldom heard in popular music. 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. Collectively, the golden sound of Cuban mambo is polished to a luminous, contemporary sheen. Sold-out shows have been followed by nominations for a Grammy, Billboard Latin Music Award, Telemundo Latin American Music Award, and critical acclaim from press around the globe.
Recorded in Havana’s famed Egrem Studios, Orquesta Akokán released the album 16 Reyos in 2021. The ten original compositions are the culmination of decades of the band members exploring Latin music. The ensemble for 16 Reyos shines a light on Cuba’s musical families and multigenerational legacy. Suffused with a sense of possibility, the band continues to explore, develop and expand the island’s rich rhythmic palette and repertoire – pushing the conventions of what is considered “mambo” – and drawing deeply from folkloric and religious traditions seldom heard in popular music. The Cuban musicians’ deep spiritual reservoir and knowledge of folklore informs Orquesta’s contemporary sensibilities, allowing the group to remain true and faithful to the spirit of the music’s origins while pushing the grooves into previously uncharted vistas.
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