The lost paradise of Latin music pre-bogaloo and pre-salsa is the dancehalls of Havana and New York in the 50s and 60s. Orquesta Akokán, twelve outstanding Cuban musicians of different generations led by the singer José “Pepito” Gómez, in their debut recover the styles that swept through those dance temples like a Caribbean hurricane: mambo, chachacha, Latin-jazz… Their desire to recover those sounds, as old as a well-matured rum, is an injection of traditionalism that is not so different from the impulse which drives the most traditional Americana artists. But reproducing the sound (long live variety!) of those Latin big bands is much more demanding: you have to have experience, to sing like a star, to have a special rapport, and basically you have to give it your everything. Well, Orquestra Akokán is the sort of band that puts its heart into every note it plays. Because in Yoruba that is what Akokán means: heart.
Orquesta Akokán (Daptone, 2018)
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