AOTW: Chico Mann

While guitarist Chico Mann takes a break from his band, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, he has developed a multi-layered, electronic fusion sound that’s been blowing up dance floors in New York City and Miami. Mixing Afro-beat, freestyle, Latin, and synth-heavy electronic beats, Chico Mann has brought sounds of far away and far past, with music of the future, just beyond our reach, and called is “electropical.”

Born in NYC to Cuban parents, Marcos Garcia was exposed to music and the business from birth. His father owned a Cuban music record label and his mother often wrote compositions for the artists whom he signed. Garcia was involved in piano and guitar lessons from very young, and though he was told to steer clear of the music industry, it seemed to be his fate. In 2002, after a few jam sessions with Antibalas, he was asked to join the band permanently and has been developing his sound ever since.

The new artist Chico Mann released his first solo album, Manifest Tone, Vol. 1, in 2007, and the following two volumes in May and June of 2009. In doing this, he introduced the world to a fusion of sound as blended as the city he hails from. “It’s an expression of uniquely American music in the sense that it has all these different elements hooked together in one stew. It’s also very urban, very Latin and very multicultural in that it draws from African and funk music,” he says in an interview with James Rawls for Spinner.

Now signed to Wax Poetics records, Chico Mann is releasing his second full-length album, called Analog Drift, on November 16th. These twelve club-tronica, Latin-Afro-freestyle tracks are impossible not to dance to, his cover of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime” is just one example.  He recently wrapped up the promotional tour, which included a stop at South By Southwest, and plans to be back on the road in 2011. For the time being, check out chicomann.com to buy the digital CD, join the mailing list, and keep up to date on this revolutionary new artist.

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– Carly Shields

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