Or­ishas. How Path­ways Open Up…

Excelencias from the Caribbean & the Americas - - CONTENTS - BY / FRANCESCO ROSSINI PHOTO / ED­UARDO RO­DRÍGUEZ, COUR­TESY OF VISTAR MAG­A­ZINE

Or­ishas marked a turn­ing point in the per­cep­tion of con­tem­po­rary and mod­ern mu­sic in Cuba. Hav­ing them per­form in the Ha­bano Fes­ti­val is like us­ing the very best leaves to make a Ha­bano and putting the most orig­i­nal band on it.

The Or­ishas idea was born in Cuba... Yotuel and Ruzzo, two Cuban young­sters that trav­eled to Paris as part of an ed­u­ca­tional ex­change pro­gram, joined Roldan and Fla­co­pro. Along with French pro­ducer Niko Noki, they had cre­ated the Or­ishas band some months ago.

1999 was a de­ci­sive year in terms of the mu­si­cal base work: the band recorded and launched its first al­bum in France, “A lo cubano”, which showed their sound blend of hip hop and Cuban mu­sic. Nearly 500,000 copies were sold and they grabbed golden al­bums in France and Switzer­land. More­over, it was the first hip-hop al­bum to go plat­inum in Spain by sell­ing over 100,000 copies, which had never been achieved by this kind of band.

Their sec­ond al­bum came up in 2002, “Emi­grante”, a melodic ex­per­i­ment to un­der­stand rap by means of stu­dio work. Only 300,000 copies were sold and they were nom­i­nated to the Grammy Awards a year later in the Best Latin Amer­i­can Rock/ Al­ter­na­tive Al­bum cat­e­gory.

They won the award in the best Hip-hop & Rap Al­bum cat­e­gory of the Latin Grammy Awards and they went on a tour around nearly a dozen coun­tries. What's more, they were nom­i­nated to the Rammy Awards in the same cat­e­gory. In 2003, be­sides hav­ing their agenda packed with con­certs, Time mag­a­zine in­cluded them in the top-10 rank­ing of the best bands in the United States.

They put out “El Kilo” in Fe­bru­ary 2005, an al­bum that bore out their critic and pub­lic suc­cess. This al­bum went gold in Switzer­land, Por­tu­gal and Spain. It was nom­i­nated to the Latin Grammy Awards in the “Best Ur­ban Mu­sic Al­bum” cat­e­gory, and the 2005 Grammy Awards in the “Best Latin Rock/ Al­ter­na­tive Al­bum” cat­e­gory. Al­though they did not win these prizes, the nom­i­na­tions were only a step in their non­stop ren­o­va­tion ca­reer. On May 5, 2006, “El Kilo” was given an award in the 10th edi­tion of the Spain Mu­sic Awards in the Best Hip-hop Al­bum cat­e­gory. The sec­ond Latin Grammy as the Best Ur­ban Song came in 2007 in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Puerto Ri­can duo Calle 13, for the song en­ti­tled “Pal Norte”. On June 10, 2008, Or­ishas re­leased “Cosita buena”, their muchan­tic­i­pated fourth stu­dio al­bum. A year later, after the band's last pub­lic per­for­mance dur­ing the Con­cert for Peace held in Ha­vana, its mem­bers de­cided to go on sep­a­rate ways after twelve years of tire­less work.

For­tu­nately, a year ago Yotuel an­nounced in Ha­vana the re­turn of the war­riors on stage. The video clip en­ti­tled “Cuba Isla Bella”, recorded along with other fa­mous Cuban mu­si­cians, sings to the nos­tal­gia for the neigh­bor­hood and the re­turn of these friends. 2017 caught them con­ceiv­ing and record­ing their sev­enth al­bum, “Or­ishas, el Reen­cuen­tro”, after eight years of draught. As part of their projects, and still wear­ing the gala suit for this Ha­banos Fes­ti­val, they have been an­nounced to per­form at the Ha­vana World Mu­sic (HWM) Fes­ti­val, to be held on March 22-24.

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