Okonkolo, Cantos  
Label: Big Crown
Release Year: 2018
Style: Latin & Brasil & Afro
  1. Yemaya
2. Canto Asoyin
3. Wolenche Por Chango
4. Oba
5. Ochun
6. Canto Por Obatala
7. Canto Por Ochun
8. Obatala
9. Elegua
  In a world where chaos seems to be in control more often than not, music can occasionally be a temporary respite, and at best, a form of salvation. This is the transcendent realm of Okonkolo: Yoruban Santeria music like you have never heard before. Okonkolo transports listeners to another realm, a spiritual dance with gods beyond our grasp, held together by rhythm, passion and musical virtuosity. The group is the life’s work of New York-born percussionist and Yoruba Chango priest Abraham “Aby” Rodriguez. His group quietly released Rezos, a gorgeous 10-Inch EP in 2016 on Brooklyn’s Big Crown, and has now returned to give the world even more hypnotic incantations on their debut full length. Featuring nine songs, each of the group’s religious epiphanies on Cantos follow a similar path, with transcendently hypnotic results. As with all Santeria ritual musical accompaniment, drums are at the center of all offerings – namely, the Bata and Coro. In Okonkolo, they are played by Rodriguez, Gene Golden and Xavier Rivera. Building on these rhythms, vocals play an equally important role in the proceedings, sung in Yoruba, contributed by Aby and the powerful female voices of Amma McKen and Jadele McPherson. Although not necessarily musically comparable, conceptually Cantos clearly reminds listeners of artists and albums that effortlessly straddle the line between the sacred and the secularly sublime: Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s finest work, Ravi Shankar, Alice Coltrane’s Journey In Satchidananda, and many more classics released over the past half century. These are albums cherished by fans, which go far deeper than mere entertainment. Along the Cantos journey, strains of music from around the world can be heard – Africa, South America, the Caribbean and even New York City. Beyond the drums and vocals featured at any traditional Yoruba / Santeria ceremony, with this album there are additional layers that add to the musical beauty: overlaid on top of traditional elements are jazz-associated instrumentation, including horns, bass, guitar and even lush string arrangements. These additional sounds were created by guitarist and producer Jacob Plasse, who first heard and performed with the group more than a decade ago, and who brought the project to the Big Crown label. While Santeria / Yoruban spiritual music is generally associated with Cuba in this hemisphere (and also Bahia, in Brazil), Rodriguez does not fit the traditional pedigree. “I’m an American,” he proudly admits, with a smile. “A Puerto Rican from New York. The Cubans I know always ask, ‘How can you play this?’ And I tell them, ‘Don’t ask me, ask God.” The Santeria religion endured the transatlantic slave trade from Africa to the solares of Cuba and arrived in New York City by way of Caribbean migrants who sought a better life in the barrios of the Bronx and Brooklyn. And New York is where Aby Rodriguez first came in contact with Plasse. “We met in the early ‘90s, doing salsa gigs over at Plan B in the Lower East Side,” Plasse recalls. “After I had played there a couple times, Aby told me I should come later the next week, because the first part of the show was going to be different. Needless to say, I came early to see what I wasn’t being included in!”
He continues, “Abraham was doing a tambor for Chango. I had never seen anything like it. In Cuba, I had gone to some amazing tambors, but somehow what Aby was doing was different – it was the bata repertoire but with his own subtle New York doowop thing happening. And in a salsa club no less! It was beautiful and unique, and I wanted to figure out a way to collaborate, even if I had to wait more than 10 years to do it.” On Cantos there are multiple examples of how this musical hybrid can move listeners. Take “Yemaya,” where plucked guitars break down into dissonant sul pont violin textures. As the batá drums build in intensity the arrangement culminates in guitars and descending clarinet arpeggios, Nick Movshon's propulsive bass brings the piece to a climactic finale. Or “Canto Asoyin” where an imagined Santeria / Stax session gives way to a gutbucket guitar refrain, before transitioning to a high-life section where ancient and modern Nigerian musical traditions wink slyly at each other. “Ochun” is sung first by Abraham and then by Amma McKen, and each version is quietly startling. Amma's begins with ominous piano chords that lead to plucked cellos and violins in counterpoint against a soca guitar riff, preceding a descrescendo into baritone sax and viola tremolos. As Amma explains, “Through the song, there is possession. We are the vehicles through which all of this positive energy flows. It’s a language, and it’s very sacred.” And then there is “Obatala,” which has a sublime breakdown
where pizzicato violins, violas and cellos mimic the different drums of the batá ensemble. Many listeners will barely register these mercurial arrangements and their admittedly strange juxtapositions against Orisha music. Only upon closer inspection does one become aware of how these ancient songs are being shifted and reimagined, and how they linger ethereally between worlds, just like the orishas.
      Wish List  
  Price: CHF 29.00   Add to Cart  
  Releases of the same artist  
  No items found ..  
  Releases of the same label  
  Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, Love Like This  
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band
Love Like This
[Big Crown]
USA 7inch  Wish List
CHF 15.00 Restocking!
  Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band , Scorpio  
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band
[Big Crown]
USA 7inch  Wish List
CHF 16.00 Restocking!
  Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band , Burn  
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band
[Big Crown]
USA 7inch  Wish List
CHF 16.00 Add To Cart
  Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, 55  
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band
[Big Crown]
USA 2xLP  Wish List
CHF 32.00 Add To Cart
  Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band, The Serpent's Mouth  
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band
The Serpent's Mouth
[Big Crown]
USA 1xLP  Wish List
CHF 31.00 Add To Cart
  Boco, Runnin' The Mardi Gras  
Runnin' The Mardi Gras
[Big Crown]
USA 7inch  Wish List
CHF 14.00 Add To Cart
  El Michel's Affair, 4th Chamber  
El Michel's Affair
4th Chamber
[Big Crown]
USA 7inch  Wish List
CHF 15.00 Restocking!
  El Michel's Affair, Strange Boy  
El Michel's Affair
Strange Boy
[Big Crown]
USA 7inch  Wish List
CHF 16.00 Restocking!
  El Michel's Affair, Sounding Out The City  
El Michel's Affair
Sounding Out The City
[Big Crown]
USA 1xLP  Wish List
CHF 29.00 Restocking!
  El Michels Affair, Unathi  
El Michels Affair
[Big Crown]
USA 7inch  Wish List
CHF 17.00 Add To Cart
  El Michels Affair, Return To The 37th Chamber  
El Michels Affair
Return To The 37th Chamber
[Big Crown]
USA 1xLP  Wish List
CHF 33.00 Add To Cart
  Fabulous Dynamics, Get Hip To Yourself  
Fabulous Dynamics
Get Hip To Yourself
[Big Crown]
USA 7inch  Wish List
CHF 15.00 Restocking!
  Lady Wray, Do It Again  
Lady Wray
Do It Again
[Big Crown]
USA 7inch  Wish List
CHF 14.00 Restocking!
  Lady Wray, Underneath My Feet  
Lady Wray
Underneath My Feet
[Big Crown]
USA 7inch  Wish List
CHF 18.00 Restocking!
  Lady Wray, Queen Alone  
Lady Wray
Queen Alone
[Big Crown]
USA 1xLP  Wish List
CHF 27.00 Restocking!
A Band Called Flash
Adrian Younge
Presents Voices Of Gemma
[Linear Labs]
Altin Gün
[Bongo Joe]
Andre Tanker
River Come Down
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band
The Serpent's Mouth
[Big Crown]
Ben Penn
Very Important EP
[Safe Trip]
Earlyman Dance EP
[Second Circle ]
Blu & Shafiq Husayn
The Blueprint
[Nature Sounds]
The Programm
[Killa Entertainment]
Carrie Cleveland
Looking Up: The Complete Works (Incl. Bonus 7")
[Kalita Records]
[Peoples Potential Unlimited]
Dizzy K. Falola
Sweet Music Vol. 1
[Sticky Buttons]
Dj Normal 4
Exoticz EP
[Second Circle ]
Dorian Concept
The Nature Of Imitation
Dur-Dur Band
Dur Dur Of Somalia
[Analog Africa]
Gboyega Adelaja
Colourful Enviroment
[Odion Livingstone]
Heidy Tamme / Tiit Paulus
Suvi Ei Jaa
Journey to Arendal
[Light Of Other Days]
Ingus Bauskenieks
Muz Ze Skla
[Smiling C]
Len Leise / Jura Soundsystem
Dear Adrian
[Temples Of Jura]
Welcome To This World
Michael Boothman & Kysofusion Band
Can't Stop Dancing
Break Away
Mkwaju Ensemble
[We Release Whatever The Fuck We ]
All The Time
[Mo Funk]
I Didn't Mean To Turn You On
[Omega Supreme Records]
N'Draman Blintch
Cosmic Sounds
[Hot Mule & Secousse]
Orquestas De Las Nubes
The Order Of Change
[Music From Memory]
OST/Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad
Marvel's Luke Cage - Season Two
Parkway Rhythm ft. Boyd Jarvis
Broad Street Pressure
No News Is Good News
[Foreign Exchange]
Perfect Stranger
[Music From Memory]
Future Disc (2018 Repress)
[Fasaan Records]
Profondeur 4000
[Growing Bin]
Talking Drums
[Dark Entries]
The Legendary Tape Recordings Vol.1
Walter Gavitt Ferguson
[Bongo Joe]
The Lytics
Float On
[Haldern Pop Recordings]
Antipodean Anomalies
[Left Ear Records]
Kale Plankieren - Dutch Cassette Rarities 1981-1987 Vol. 2
Latin Underground Revolution
[Rocafort Records]
Will Sessions & Amp Fiddler
[Sessions Sounds]
  1. Lexx/Open Space Feat. Harriet Brown
Hot Weather
  2. Pablo Color
La Calle Roja
  3. The Mauskovic Dance Band
Down In The Basement
  4. Jeremiah Jae
  5. Eagle
The Eagle's Claw
  6. MZ Boom Bap
Wakilisha Instrumentals
  7. A.G.
The Taste Of AMBrosia
  8. Hiroshi Yoshimura
Music For Nine Postcards
  9. Ingus Bauskenieks
  10. Montgomery Express
The Montgomery Movement