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Latin 17/06/2002

Cuban Rap Stars Orishas To Return!

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MIAMI, Fl. (Top40 Charts/Press Release) - Following the Worldwide Critical and Commercial Acclaim for Their Debut Album 'A Lo Cubano', Latin Hiphop's Brightest Stars Return With Their Second Album.

"Until now, attempts to translate the quirks of hip-hop into the Spanish vernacular have been mostly unsuccessful, because of the lack of a coherent concept. Orishas, a collective of Cuban expatriates currently based in France, have finally found one: the members rap, sure, but deep inside they're still salseros with a serious weakness for the sinuous spice of son montuno piano lines and the snappy rhymes to be found within the labyrinth of the Castilian language." (ROLLING STONE)

"Our nations may remain divided, but Orishas pack enough promise to unite the youth of each under the banner of hiphop. ˇViva la revolución de Orishas!" (VIBE)

"Although Cuba has had an active hip-hop scene for several years, Orishas could be the crew to take rap Cubano worldwide.. While Eminem jokes about raping his mother, Orishas' members declare their undying love for their madres." (NY NEWSDAY)

It's been quite a journey since Orishas released their first album 'A Lo Cubano' to global success throughout Europe, the United States, Canada, and Latin America. The debut album went gold in France, Spain, and Germany, while selling over 50,000 copies in the U.S. (a sizeable number for a group that received negligible radio or video play).

The group gradually acquired international standing, and after conquering Europe went on to win over the United States in November 2000, with the American press unanimous in its acclaim: articles and reviews in Rolling Stone, The Source, Newsweek, Vibe, Spin, L.A. Times, The Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune.. Little by little, Orishas became an essential live band, capable of sharing the stage with artists as diverse as Compay Segundo, Iggy Pop, Cypress Hill, Deftones, Macy Gray and Marcus Miller. Orishas paid their dues on the road and left Europe to take part in various jazz festivals in Canada and South Africa, dropping in as well on Brazil and Mexico. Orishas left no doubt that their musical fusion, unique in its genre, enables them to break the frontiers of style and to be equally at home in front of a Latino, hiphop, pop or rock audience.

December 2000 saw Orishas' triumphant return to Cuba, where they occupied the top slots of the radio charts for months and where they gave two concerts that brought together tens of thousands of young Cubans. They had come full circle. After touring the world, Orishas' dream finally came true: playing in front of their own families and the people of Cuba. After more than 200 concerts worldwide, the group decided to get back to songwriting in August 2001. After the worldwide success of 'A Lo Cubano', Orishas started working together again with French producer and composer Niko Noki, who along with Roldan Gonzalez had been responsible for the tracks on the first album.

In November 2001, the group was ready at last to go back into the studio proper to record the successor to A Lo Cubano. They opted for a studio in Paris, where the cream of Cuban musicians gathered at the group's behest to immortalize the songs of the "Emigrante" album. Orishas have matured and learned a great deal from touring the world, with subjects that are more profound and given a more international treatment. Having had their eyes opened by worldwide touring has had a visible impact on their writing. The album was mixed under the auspices of Mario Rodriguez (Notorious Big, Public Enemy, Mobb Deep). Once again the alchemy is perfect.

Longtime fans of traditional Cuban music, Orishas and their producer Niko hit upon the idea of forging a marriage between two worlds. Rather than relying on samples, however, they decided that the only way to approach the project was to keep it real and get a flavor of the true Cuba. The name Orishas comes from the Cuban religion Santeria, which was introduced into Cuban culture by Nigerian slaves. Orishas is the term given to the half-Gods of Santeria. One listen to the glorious combination of seductive hip-swaying Cuban street grooves and downlow hiphop on the crew's "Emigrante" confirms Orishas to be worthy of their chosen name. They are indeed Gods of what they call 'Rap Cubano'.

The real skill in "Emigrante" comes in the way that Orishas have combined the disparate sounds of separate cultures to create something that sounds perfectly natural. Their use of classical styles is merely a tool for delivering their own spin. Cuba itself is very traditional; however, Orishas have been very well received in their home country, not least because they show respect for the traditional musical style rather than simply taking samples or creating U.S.-style hiphop with Cuban vocals. Look for the group to return for its first Stateside appearances in almost two years when they return for a fall tour.

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