Vancouver based Tanga is a world fusion mob, mixing up Caribbean party beats with Colombian electrocumbia and Guatemalan dancehall. They are set to release their third album Reencarnacion on March 7th via TrebleFive Records.
Reencarnacion is the follow up to the band’s last album Havanaelectro, which was recorded in Havana, Cuba. The critically acclaimed Havanaelectro was nominated for the Western Canadian Music Awards for “World Recording of the Year” and the Canadian Folk Music Awards for “World Group of the Year.” With the new record, the group set their sights on Ecuador to collaborate with local musicians and artists. Featured artists include acclaimed Ecuadorian dancehall artist Guanaco, troubadour Benjamin Venegas, hip-hop duo Systema, and rapper Perrosky.
Their travels to Ecuador led them to explore the amazing diversity of landscapes, geographies and incredible cultural mix that the country has to offer. Taking from their own musical and cultural roots, Tanga reincarnated their sound for Reencarnacion to weave tropical dance beats and afro-Latin sounds inspired by their travels. Fueled by warm coastal breezes, Amazonian fire water, and sweaty club grooves, Reencarnacion comes out hard, and deliver a fresh take on the urban Latin sound.
The band’s first stop was the capital city Quito, where they recorded for a week, converting old apartments into a recording studio. There they collaborated with local artists, including esteemed producer Lamine Sarazino Fellah and the Ecuadorian duo Systema who both appear on the funky reggae-infused opening track “Oye Lo Que Digo.” They also recorded “Guanchaka (Afrosavile)” with one of Ecuador’s most famous exports, dancehall artist Guanaco plus the 10 piece salsa band, Orquesta La Avellana. Malcolm Aiken (trumpet player and bandleader ) recalls, “The tune was fueled by arguardiente, warm mountain breezes, and good vibes; we recorded deep into the night and came out with a great track and super close friends.” The song features a mix of traditional Ecuadorian folkloric rhythms and instruments over top a driving, dancehall-inspired beat with a big salsa finish to end.
Next, they traveled through the edge of the Amazon and head towards Esmeraldas, a musical hotspot in the north west of the country. There they met up with esteemed troubadour and local musical legend Benjamin Venegas and recorded “QuitoElectro,” the most adventurous piece on the album. Malcolm remembers, “We converted our beach house into a makeshift studio by putting mattresses again walls and stuffing pillows into doorways – it got super hot and super sticky – we spent a few steamy hours with this amazing singer writing music and recording while he shared stories about life on the coast and the history of the afro-Ecuadorian people.” The track delivers a driving bass line, crisp drum beats, overlayed with gritty guitars and verses from guest rapper Perrosky.
For Malcolm, “musical collaboration and the creation of new sounds and unique combinations of world rhythms is what inspires us, and fuels the band to continue to travel and create these collaborative opportunities. Drawing from our travels and always trying to bring our own voice into the mix, we are always trying to develop new sounds and rhythms from this quixotic brew of influences.”
Tanga is comprised of Christian Martinez (vocalist and lyricist), Sangito Bigelow (vocalist and percussionist), Chris Couto (Timbales), Jay Esplana (keyboards), Matt Reid (Bass), Issah Contractor (drummer), Adam Popowitz (guitar), and Malcolm Aiken (trumpeter). Performing together since 2007, Tanga emerged from a collective of musicians who cut their teeth playing in the salsa dance scene while embracing jazz and hip-hop music. Inspired by the party grooves and percussion styles of Latin music stars like Tito Puente, Machito and Mario Bauza.
Their live shows have been called “powerful” by BC Musician and “most refreshingly contemporary expression of Latin groove music” by WorldBeat International. A festival favorite, Tanga’s recent performances include the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Harrison Folk Fest, Vancouver Jazz Festival, Harmony Arts, Victoria’s Garden City Grooves Fest and the Squamish Wind Fest.