Award-winning, London-based Family Atlantica are back with their far-reaching
second album ‘Cosmic Unity’, which follows on from their 2013 eponymous debut - an album that won the band a
range of awards including Songlines Magazine’s Best Newcomers 2015.
‘Cosmic Unity’, like the band itself, mirrors the mixed-up, intercontinental terrain of
their home town. Moving through genres as diverse as psychedelic highlife, steel-
pan Ethio-funk, calypso, biao and scorching equatorial jazz underpinned by deep
afro-Atlantic dance rhythms, they have created a cohesive, forward-looking sound
that echoes classic tropical recordings of the past whilst still sounding fresh and
contemporary. Lush string and horn arrangements give way to acidic commentary
on the immigration system and slavery as well as incantations of unity.
Producer and multi-instrumental director, Jack Yglesias (also a core member of the
underground pysch-jazz-funk unit The Heliocentrics) leads the explosive ensemble.
Alongside Jack, the band features the powerful vocals and poetry of Venezuelan
diva Luzmira Zerpa and the percussive West African mastery of Nigerian/Ghanaian
Kwame ‘natural power’ Crentsil as well as Adrian Owusu (Guitar).
Joining them as guests on the album are two musical legends: The Sun Ra
Arkestra’s bandleader Marshall Allen on alto saxophone, ewi and vocals, and
Nigerian Afro-beat colossus Orlando Julius on tenor sax who was at the time of the
recording living with Yglesias and Zerpa. The diversity of the Family Atlantica
project is reflected in the lyrics, with singing and poetry in Spanish, English, Yoruba
and Portuguese. This is a rapid-fire, rhythm-heavy journey, simultaneously moving
between the past and future of trans-Atlantic roots music.
“A borderline chaotic mix of highlife, Ethiopian jazz and Cuban rumba along with a
surface shimmer of 1960s psychedelia” The Independent
“An exuberant, percussive and increasingly sophisticated outfit” The Guardian
Available on Digital / CD / LP