A groundbreaking reimagination of ancient diaspora music and movement, ÌFÉ’s music explores the higher frequencies while paying keen attention to the lower ones in a way that feels equal parts riot and ritual. ÌFÉ’s 2017 debut album “IIII+IIII” revolutionized the way electronic music was conceived and performed, seamlessly combining the intricacies of Afro-Caribbean percussion and song with the power of modern electronica played in real time, no DJ’s, no programming, totally freed from the grid. “ÌFÉ fuses spiritual depth with dancehall influences… marrying the traditional with contemporary sounds to make something completely original. The music has a certain otherworldly quality that’ll resonate with even the most secular ear.
Bandleader Otura Mun’s life reads something like a musical superhero’s origin story. Born Mark Underwood in Indiana and adopted as a child, he discovered drumming in fifth grade, record-scratching in college, and a way out of a hardscrabble childhood in his twenties when he moved to Puerto Rico on a whim (with a chance airline travel voucher).
He became a fixture in San Juan’s music scene, and at the same time, became ordained into the Yoruban religion of Ifá with his present name: Otura Mun. The concept for the band was a confluence of things: this new spiritual practice; a life spent drumming; and musical inspirations of hip-hop, dancehall, and Afro-Cuban rhythms.
ÌFÉ means “love” in Yoruba, but it can also mean “expansion.” The expansive spirit of Otura Mun’s music is evident everywhere — Yoruban chants are auto-tuned and looped in a futuristic nod to the past; Cuban rumba tradition meets dancehall & trap; and complex Afro-Cuban rhythms are re-interpreted electronically using synth triggers under drum heads. The sound is so generously unique that when you hear it for the first time, it sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
The band dropped their widely acclaimed first album IIII + IIII in 2017 from Puerto Rico, but Otura Mun has since relocated to New Orleans. The African-American artist’s Baldwinesque return home leads us to the release of his second album oooo + oooo. Recorded entirely in New Orleans, it features Herbie Hancock’s legendary percussionist Bill Summers, as well as Parisian Congolese vocalist Robby the Lord, Yoruban guitarist Saint Ezekiel, and the London Lucumi Choir.
It is an incredible honor to present this ground-breaking artist for his Western MA debut In Bombyx — just as we are breaking ground conceptually on a new cultural space for Northampton.