ARIWO are a Cuban/Iranian four-piece focused on the rich intersection between electronic music, Afro-Cuban rhythm and Iranian mysticism. Their self-titled debut album is the second release on MANANA/ Records, launched as part of the !K7 Collective and inspired by 2016’s groundbreaking MANANA / Festival in Santiago, Cuba.
The band brings together POUYA EHSAEI - hailed as belonging “in that precious pile” of Iranian electronic music composers [Boomkat] - and three of London’s most influential Cuban musicians; Irakere and Carlos Acosta’s Latin Grammy winning “percussionvirtuoso”, HAMMADI VALDES [Time Out]; Yussef Kamaal and Sierra Maestra lead trumpeter, YELFRIS VALDES; and godfather of London’s Cuban scene, ORESTE NODA.
To the band, the project’s goal is to “connect our native musical traditions to electronic music in a way that pushes beyond traditional Cuban and Iranian identity, creating a sound that does not belong to any specific culture.” The word “ARIWO” means “noise” in Yoruba, a West-African religion that came to Cuba during the transatlantic slave trade and heavily influenced the island’s musical development. For the three Cuban musicians in particular, ARIWO is about shining a light on the incredible and largely unrecognised cultural heritage that resounds through the barrios of Havana, Matanzas, Guantánamo and Santiago de Cuba. This debut release features genres like Yambú, Songo, Guaguancó and Changüí as well as echoes of Havana’s legendary conga processions, EHSAEI programs his electronics and processes the instrumentation live, constantly changing the intensity to create a real-time dialogue that elevates these rich ancestral traditions.