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Orquesta Akokán

Modern mambo big band based in Havana and New York City

Armando Bellmas
Armando Bellmas
Orquesta Akokán

Today on Ecléctico you're listening to a collaboration between Havana and New York City-based musicians. Orquesta Akokán, led by Cuban-American singer and composer José “Pepito” Gómez, combines classic 1940s-era mambo sounds with American funk and soul production (thanks to the funky pedigree at Daptone Records, the band's label) to create a cool but charged tone and vibe.

You'll go deeper with an excerpt from and a link to a review by Konstantin Rega on Treble.


"Orquídea" by Orquesta Akokán
2021 | Modern mambo big band based in Havana and New York City


Go deeper.
There’s a...strange piano introduction to “Orquídea,” something like French avant-garde (think Poulenc or Messiaen) and experimental American jazz turned into moonlight and roses. Romantic, stealthy, lovely. Swaying to the melody, 16 Rayos takes a step back, letting go of all the previous thunder and celebration. There is a distinct nocturne vibe to “Orquídea” and its processor, “Interludio No 2”. These calmer takes permit a breath into the sonic discussion. Latin music isn’t all sound and fury; it can easily be a romantic candle-lit dinner for two. The band is soft but still present.

CubaUnited States

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