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Afro-Cuban music fused with jazz elements and rhythms from around the world, this album is impossible to listen to without moving one’s feet and occasionally breaking into dance. These talented women have heart, they have a groove, and they are backed up by an impressive list of talented musicians. Elizabeth Rodriguez (vocals, violin) and Magdelys Savigne (vocals, percussion), classically trained Cuban-Canadian musicians and JUNO nominees, are the force de jour behind this lively album. Their music is colourful, sassy and engaging. Both use their respective instruments in a way that draws the listener right into the centre of creation, resulting in divine violin solos and driving crossover rhythms.
Nested among seven original songs are three beloved standards: Cumba, Cumba; Besame Mucho (a much livelier version than expected); and the closing Pie de Foto. OKAN’s original tunes stay within the boundaries of the respective genres but make good use of the crossover elements.
Espiral is based on Cuban musical heritage and around the themes of immigration and love. The title song opens the album in a bright manner, using a traditional blend of instruments and chants. Trocada is more jazzy, with bewitching violin solos, colourful percussion and an impressive piano solo (Miguel de Armas). Aguila’s Latin groove is filtered through sultry violin lines and beautiful vocals.
With Espiral, OKAN continues doing what they do the best – creating music that transcends borders and brings in the joy.