The London based Wara have been establishing a reputation through their live work as one of the most exciting bands around.
One of the reasons for this is their adventurous and supremely talented founder and musical director Eliane Correa. The seven numbers here are a showcase for her vision and musical energy in their fusion of new Cuban styles with soul, funk and afro grooves, and every song manages to capture the vitality and variety of the current latin scene and take it a step further. Indeed, the group’s name comes from ‘guara’ which is slang for someone full of positive, playful energy.
The album kicks off with an instant and delightful surprise - a funky jazz riff segues into an English vocal reminiscent of a cockney Yusa (‘Welcome to London’ is the first line) and rollercoasts its way towards a superb timba groove, finally mixing the two in a seamless union which could only come from a group of musicians who are fully in tune with the sounds and styles of both London and Havana.
The songs’ themes deal with the dilemmas and delights of modern London, from identity and faith to the power of money. But this is no esoteric trip - the album manages to avoid self indulgent musical or lyrical cliche, preferring to utilise the fantastic musicianship of each band member and the exceptional vocals of Juanita Ekua alongside the rapping skills of Josh Solnick to lay down a set of songs that are great to dance to as well as being a treat for the ears.
Wara have certainly come a long way since their first EP appeared in 2011 and with this beautifully recorded album can now confidently claim to hold the torch for what young Cuban music can and should sound like right now. Don’t miss out.