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Jorge Emmanuelli & Los Ancestros OTS 2015
Concert Review: Jorge Emmanuelli Nater & Los Ancestros
at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 25 November 2015
Photos and review by Bill Tilford, all rights reserved
(prepared for the Nuestros Primos Musicales section)
Jorge Emmanuelli & Los Ancestros is the new incarnation of a project previously known as CAPRE (the Chicago Afro Puerto Rican Ensemble). The new project is preparing for the production of a recording, the publication of a book and some educational activities. There are a few personnel changes from CAPRE, but this 21-piece ensemble still retains its firepower including a formidable horn section that includes Victor Garcia, Roy McGrath, Raphael Crawford, Justin Copeland and John Mose.
Although it uses the foundation of Bomba and Plena, Los Ancestros takes a somewhat different path than other groups like Plena Libre or the Afro Puerto Rican Jazz projects of William Cepeda and Papo Vazquez. This project digs deeper into traditional Afro Puerto Rican folkloric rhythms (explanations of which are part of the concert), and although Fusion is an important element of the music, it might be more reasonable to mention groups like Sintesis in Cuba or Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou in Benin when describing the effect of the finished product. You'll notice an accordion in the photo above (one of the folkloric elements used in one song), but you will also find a synthesizer and electric guitar, and there is a more extensive use of rhythms not found in popular music today than you will hear in a typical performance of Puerto Rican folkloric music. The concert was videotaped, and this rendition of liturgical music from Puerto Rico's Mende culture is one of the highlights:
I mentioned earlier that a studio recording and a book are in the works. The funds for the studio recording are being raised via a crowdfunding campaign, and I was sufficiently impressed by what I have heard to date to join the ranks of the contributors. You can read more about the project (and contribute if you wish) here: https://www.gofundme.com/LosAncestros
Click on the images below to enlarge them: