OKAN, JUNO-nominated Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble, share Espiral album + vibrant video

October 10 2020


“an ear-grabbing Afro-Cuban concoction for you from OKAN, a Toronto-based JUNO-nominated group that fuses jazz, folk and Cuban rhythms”

“Jazz fusion duo OKAN (Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne) are at the forefront of Canadian-Cuban musicians bringing kaleidoscopic island sounds to international music lovers.”

“OKAN craft jazzy, heady grooves informed by Afro-Cuban culture and a world of sound.
Chicago Reader

“OKAN‘s vocal- and percussion-driven tracks evoke their homeland yet also reflect the vibrant Cuban-Canadian community.”
NOW Magazine

“the group masterfully combines Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz, trova, soul, Brazilian music and flamenco”
World Music Central

Toronto-based Afro-Cuban jazz fusion group, OKAN, today unveil their second album, Espiral via Lulaworld Records. Crossing histories and geographies, the ensemble is led by violinist Elizabeth Rodriguez and percussionist Magdelys Savigne who compose pieces that fuse their Afro-Cuban lineages with jazz, folk, and global rhythms. Garnering praise from OkayAfrica, Audiofemme, CBC, NOW, Jazziz, and more, listen to EspiraHEREand watch the new “Espiral” video HERE

Known for their memorable and energetic live shows across Canada and the world, you can also watch OKAN’s Esprial come to life in an album release livestream next Friday, October 16th hosted via their Facebook page and Lulaworld Records’ YouTube channel. The ensemble has previously been invited to play at the SF Jazz Festival, India’s Jaipur Jazz and Blues Festival, New Mexico Jazz Festival, Toronto Jazz, among others, as well as make live appearances with Polaris Prize winner Lido Pimienta, Colombian electro-cumbia stars Bomba Estero and more. 

The ensemble’s new video for “Espiral” out today (their first-ever video) captures the elation of rebirth through its infectious, vibrant joyfulness,set amidst the lavish blues and verdant greens of Ontario, evoking a tropical setting. A collaboration between OKAN and creative director/producer Kathleen Ryan, the visual explores the dualities of the contemporary and traditional, city and country, secular and sacred, exile and rebirth. “Espiral’ is a rousing example of how OKAN meld their cross-cultural influences with the dizzying interplay of Rodriguez’s violin, Savigne’s guajira rhythms, and the Santeria-derived chants that thread the track together.

Says OKAN about the new album and video, “‘Espiral’ reflects who we are and how we see our lives as artists and immigrants. The many different colors and styles on the album mirror and layer our extremely diverse influences from Cuban music but it is also a product of our experience in Canada. As immigrants, we had to adapt ourselves to a new environment and our music evolved as well. We blend our music with whatever we are experiencing at a particular moment in our lives. The vibrant color of our very first music video reflects the joy and pride we take from our culture and background. It honors the resilience of our ancestors. We made it all the way to Canada and even after so many centuries, we are still paying tribute to them by using our new language and connecting with the beauty of a new environment.”

The follow-up to their JUNO-nominated, Independent Music Award-winning debut SombrasEspiral finds Rodriguez and Savigne delving deeper into their Cuban roots, finding renewed inspiration in rejuvenating and keeping alive its rich musical history. Throughout the record, the duo traverse genres as diverse and rich as Danzon, Samba, Merengue, Pilón and more, cover Bolero great ‘La Lupe,’ tackle Mexican pianist Conseulo Velazquez’‘Bésame Mucho’ – one of the most covered songs of all time – and impart stories of immigration, courage, and love, all while absorbing and reflecting back the influences of their adopted hometown, the multicultural melting pot that is Toronto. 

Espiral by OKAN is out now via Lulaworld Records, listen/buy it here.

1. Espiral
2. Aguila
3. Trocada
4. Beseme Mucho
5. Boundries
6. Mercedes
7. Cumba Cumba
8. Baila Canada
9. Pie De Foto

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