Okuté: s/t LP
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. These elements straddle 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. Okute is a true musical triumph - original and authentic, and like the essence of rumba, rich with spiritual medicine and musical delight for anyone who dares to listen.