Cuban trio Orishas will play a series of comeback concerts in the United States in August and September.
Rappers Yotuel, Roldán and Ruzzo will be backed by a full Cuban band on their first trek together in seven years.
The reunited group will release a new single, “Cuba Isla Bella,” this Friday (June 17). It was first announced by Orishas on social media, and has been playing on radio in Havana for the last few weeks. The emotional tribute to the island brings dance-pop flavor to Orishas’ signature urban Afro-Cuban sound, and features artists well-known to fans of Cuban music and followers of the recent Latin music charts: Descemer Bueno, Gente de Zona, Issac Delgado, Pedrito Martinez, Laritza Bacallao, Leoni Torres and Buena Fe.
“Cuba Isla Bella” is a euphoric Cuban power anthem that captures the current heady moment for Cuban musicians with the lyrical feeling and rhythmic roots of the island’s musical traditions. Although, like many Cuban songs before it, it is a nostalgia vehicle that talks about a longing for and anticipated return to the island, it is performed by contemporary artists who were some of the first to leave Cuba under Castro without breaking ties to the island. The members of Orishas and guests on the album continued to visit and perform in Cuba over the years while living abroad.
It is also a song produced with commercial savvy; “Cuba Isla Bella” can be expected to go right to U.S. Latin radio.
The members of Orishas are seizing a timely moment to reclaim and amplify the international following the group gained over ten years, after premiering in 1999 with music that was very Cuban, innovative, and virtually unheard outside of Cuba. The then-Paris-based group’s three studio albums collectively sold over a million copies. Emigrante, released in 2003, won a Latin Grammy for Best Rap/Hip-Hop Album.
While Orishas’ original Cuban hip-hop was born in Havana’s rap scene, “Cuba Isla Bella” reflects the evolution of the careers of the group’s members, particularly Yotuel Romero. In recent years, he has lived in Miami and written songs for Latin artists, including Ricky Martin. Romero originally wrote “Cuba Isla Bella” as a proposed track for Martin’s 2015 album A Quien Quiera Escuchar, on which he collaborated as both a composer and performer.
Martin did record an arrangement of the song under the title “Isla Bella.” But its Cuban version further served Yotuel as an inspiration for bringing back Orishas.
Tickets for the first concert, in Fort Myers, FL, go on sale June 20.
These are the dates of Orishas comeback tour:
Aug. 12 — Fort Myers, FL, Lee Civic Center
Aug. 13 — Chicago, IL, Festival Cubano
Aug. 19 — New Orleans, LA, House of Blues
Aug. 20 — Miami, FL, Filmore Theater
Aug. 25 — New York, NY, Irving Plaza
Aug. 26 — Washington, DC, Howard Theater
Aug. 27 — Tampa, FL, Masonic Theater
Sept. 02 — San Francisco, CA – Mezzanine Club
Sept. 03 — Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater
Sept. 04 — Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues