Led by Otura Mun, an Ifa babalawo (priest of Orisha worship), the Puerto Rican-based group ÌFÉ has been recasting Yoruba sacred music in contemporary instrumentation and arrangements. This week, the band released an intimate, three-song EP of Yoruban prayer songs, honoring the deceased, an aural balm for a year of loss.
Electronic instrumentation can be used to sound cold or alienated, but ÌFÉ’s new EP finds the group using electronic drums and auto-tune-affected vocals used in a deeply human manner, singing the sacred melodies and rhythms passed from West Africa to the Caribbean in a new manner.
"One of the things that has helped me confront the difficulty in dealing with the sadness and pain around us is a belief that death in the physical world is not the end. As part of my daily spiritual practice, I commune with my ancestors,” Mun says. “We are all on the same wheel of life at different points. As we approach the end of 2020, I felt that it was important to acknowledge and celebrate those who have passed before us. Ashé Bogbo Egun, 'power to all deceased.'"
The EP is available on limited edition vinyl from Bandcamp.