Taking their name from the word for heart or soul in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, OKAN fuses Afro-Cuban roots with jazz, folk and global rhythms in songs about immigration, bravery and love.
Embracing musical roles traditionally been occupied by men in their genres of focus, co-leaders, composers and multi-instrumentalists Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne bring a fresh perspective to Latin and world jazz through their powerful harmonies, incredible musicianship and potent lyrics.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Elizabeth Rodriguez is a classically trained violinist who served as concertmaster for Havana’s Youth Orchestra. Magdelys Savigne hails from Santiago de Cuba and graduated with honours in orchestral percussion from Havana’s University of the Arts. Both are JUNO-nominees for their work with Battle of Santiago and Grammy-nominees for their contributions to Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, of which they are former members.
Living and collaborating in the beautifully multicultural city of Toronto has enriched OKAN’s compositions with influences from Brazil, Spain and New Orleans. Backed by some of the Canada’s finest jazz and Latin players including Miguel de Armas, Roberto Riveron, Jeremy Ledbetter and Alexis Baro, OKAN launched their debut recording Laberinto in October of 2018 and will release their full-length recording in 2019.