Blog October 1, 2019
Watch: Afrosideral Live on A Havana Rooftop

Attention all Afropoppers! We cordially invite you to take this opportunity to get to know the Cuban producer and vocalist Afrosideral, along with multi-instrumentalist Kumar Sublevao-Beat, who blends Yoruban sounds and rhythm with contemporary electronics.

There's a long-lived tradition of interpreting and adapting the sacred music of Yoruba orisha worship in various settings. Cuban batà percussion is an essential part of what Europeans called Santéria, but at the root are rituals that arrived in our hemisphere with enslaved Yoruban people. Batà drumming shows up in popular music all the way back to old Cuban big-band music. In the '70s, the band Irakere had a huge hit with “Bacalao Con Pan,” and Tipica released “Yo Bailo de Todo,” both featuring Yoruban drumming. The group Okonkolo released an album of sacred Yoruba music done in a modern adaptation. ÌFÉ, a band named for the Yoruba word for “love,” is led by a Puerto Rican babalawo, a Santéria priest; Their electronic music is closely related to that of Afrosideral.

Back on the rooftop in Los Sitios Havana, Afrosideral is playing "Chango en el Olimpo"—“Chango, (the orisha of drumming and lord of thunder), “in Olympus.” It's his first major single release for the album project, El Olimpo de los Orishas. The elements of trance and meditation, and of course rhythm, come from that deep well of tradition. Kumar filters them through his own sensibilities developed through decades in the world of hip-hop as an MC and producer.

The full album was produced by Kumar, with coproduction from Nickodemus and Zeb of Spy From Cairo, and is out now on Wonderwheel Recordings.

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