Okonkolo

Cantos

Image of Okonkolo - Cantos
Record Label
Big Crown

About this item

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. 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” 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. 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.

TRACK LISTING

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

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