Okute - Self-Titled - Vinyl LP

  • Sale
  • Regular price $18.00
Shipping calculated at checkout.

Spend enough time in Havana and you will bear witness to Rumba, Son, the cadences of Orisha, Palo, and Abakua traditions -- Cuban music whose meanings, melodies and rhythms are informed by ancient African undercurrents whispering through the culture's collective unconscious. Okuté, an ensemble of Havana's finest rumberos, brings these constellations of sound to the surface, weaving them into something intuitively its own. Their self-titled album is as raw and unfiltered as Havana, where lines blur between the sacred and profane, between centuries and even millennia of melodies, rhythms and incantations. As the conguero Machito explains, “You have jazz, you have son montuno, you have love, you have everything.”

Vocally, quotations and references from various religous traditions are seamlessly incorporated into popular refrains, while the bata drums used in ritual Lucumí music, the trés in son montuno and bright trumpet lines of a comparsa form a new, irresistible relationship. Vivid textures and moods are shaped through song, from plaintive to the incendiary. “Caridad” opens with a strum of the tres, the vocal conjuring of Changó and Yemaya, and the fierce dispatch of the bata drums that seduce us into the prismatic, diasporic universe of Havana. “Quiere La Rumba” is a testament to the spiritual power of the rumba, which Machito says “was always a declaration to overcome sadness, overcome sacrifice, and lift away nostalgia.” Here the groove is initiated by bata drums, acoustic bass and an infectious tres riff floating above. Enter a soulful group chorus and a rich vocal testament, capped off by an unexpected, fuzzy organ solo. In “Rumbarimbula” we are treated to a deep, woody marimbula and mournful violins accompanying the chorus. And Orayakinongo reunites the bass, tres, conga and cajón in an intimate Abakuá meditation layered by floating strings.

Okuté straddles the old and new, incorporating unbreakable rhythms with lyrics and melodies strong enough to endure not only the middle passage but backbreaking centuries of slavery followed by struggles for independence. Their debut album is a true musical triumph - original and authentic, and like the essence of rumba, rich with spiritual medicine. ~ Martin Perna

A1 Caridad
A2 Quiere La Rumba
A3 Chichiribako
A4 Gaston's Rumba
B1 Rumbarimbula
B2 Na Na Saguay
B3 Orayakinyongo
B4 Devuelvame La Voz