Weird Al aside, Americans aren’t such big boosters of the accordion. However, from Brazil to Cape Verde, the Portuguese-speaking African diaspora respects the power of the squeeze box. Check out, for example, this new track from the Barcelona-based ensemble Ayom:
With members from Greece and Italy and well as Brazil and Angola, Alberto Becucci's accordion on this track is maybe more Mediterranean than South Atlantic, but the rhythm is straight from the Franco-Caribbean.
Ayom is the name of the Brazilian candomblé deity, the orixá known as the “Lord of Music.” Olmo Marin tips the scales further towards Brazil with his cavaquinho. Their trade winds sound is either the melding of influences or the uncovering of shared ancestors, but there’s more than enough visceral charm here to set aside “name the influence” and just enjoy a big, buoyant melody skipping between languages and over the rhythm.
“Ayom Manifesto” is appropriately the first single from the group’s debut album, recorded in 2019 south of Lisbon and out Oct. 23 on Amplifica Records.