Blog March 14, 2019
PHOTOS: Orishas' HBO Latino Launch Party

On March 15, HBO Latino premieres a music special starring the ecstatically Afro-Cuban hip-hop group Orishas performing in Havana. The band celebrated with a huge party in the Latino millennial-centered media company Remezcla’s Williamsburg, NY, offices, with DJs, cocktails, a quick Q&A, and of course, a triumphant performance to an adoring crowd.

Formed in Paris in the late ‘90s, the group didn’t record in Cuba until 2018. Their music is distinctly and proudly Afro-Cuban, rapping about racism, immigration and Yoruba religious practice—which is to say, orisha worship. Cuban instruments like the tres show up, and the beats are more apt to have clave than a straight trap beat. 

For a number of years, the group didn’t get to play in Cuba, so a big show at Havana’s riverside ampitheater is worth celebrating: The band was clearly having a good time taking pictures before the show and gamely weighing in on New York’s “Biggie, Nas or Jay-Z” debate—seemed like two out of three were Jay-Zers, with Nas getting the final vote.

Xiomara Laugart (center) and her son Axel (far right)
Xiomara Laugart (center) and her son Axel (far right)

Xiomara Laugart, founding member of Yerba Buena, and her son Axel played a short, celebratory set with his funk, hip-hop, Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble.

Catch the special on HBO Latino at 8 p.m. ET, March 15.


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