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Yo soy para ti - Orquesta Akokán
Un Tabaco para Elegua - Orquesta Akokán
The album opens with the aptly-named Mambo Rapidito: jarring piano runs are quickly overtaken by bright horn stabs, and then the mambo takes over. It’s a startling beginning, the infectious energy matching the heat of a Havana bar, where Afro-Cuban rhythms drive the city’s relentless appetite for life.
Una Tabaca Para Elegua may have a slower pulse, but its slinky groove serves merely to intensify the passion; as the album progresses, so too does the heat rise.
The lust for life evident on the streets of Havana is reflected enthrallingly in an album that looks set to take the Daptone ethos to the world at large.
Orquesta Akokan is a newly-assembled supergroup of Cuban musicians, brought together by vocalist José ‘Pepito’ Gómez and this, their debut album, fits in the Daptone tradition of sounding both vintage and fresh at the same time.
Recorded over three days in Havana’s legendary state-run Estudios Areito, the album of new, original material harks back to the sounds of pre-revolutionary Cuba, and Mambo kings like Arsenio Rodríguez.
Sounds of pre-revolutionary Cuba, and Mambo
It seems quite logical that Daptone, that New York City label celebrated for eschewing modern technology in favour of traditional techniques and sounds, should choose Havana as the destination for its first foray away from home.