¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat
L to R: Puerko Pitzotl, Dan Lieber, Diana Mosquera, Ezra Lange, Armando Pérez, Logan Lu, Jess Anzaldúa, Kevin Miller, Matt Davis
*** Their notable experience and active work in performing for grassroots community organizations and volunteer programs has helped raise awareness and vital funding for important after-school, immigrant justice, humanitarian, and fair housing programs across Chicago and Illinois. Members also spearhead free all-ages library programs for adults, kids, and families, music educational presentations, and workshops focused on cultural recognition in music and poetry for all ages.
Members: Armando Pérez (guitar/vocal), Kevin Miller (saxophone), Dan Lieber (drums/percussion), Ezra Lange (bass), Diana Mosquera (vocals), Puerko Pitzotl (percussion), Jess Anzaldúa (percussion), Luis Tubens (vocals), Matthew Davis (trombone), Jasmine Malika Luevano (vocals), and special guests.
¡ESSO! (El Sonido Sonic Octopus) performs Afro-Latin and roots rock inspired dance music. Described by critics as tropical funk and cumbiaton, the ethnically diverse crew of musicians, lead by guitarist/producer Armando Pérez, establish driving polyrhythmic beats while combining swirling wah guitar, deep bass, brass horns, group singing, and urban poetry all in a raw eclectic mix of fresh energetic sounds. All members bring a potent and vital musical contribution to the band's unique "afrojam funkbeat" distinction. Inspired by Chicago's storied soulful blues, legendary jazzy house, and global fusion heavy-hitters, the group deliver their performances with purpose and verve; unifying listeners through music, dance, and collaborative spirit.
In 2017, ESSO made their SXSW debut in Austin, TX to industry insiders and cultural ambassadors performing for grassroots organizations and cultural showcases. They also made their international debut in April by touring through México and playing the prestigious Festival Cultural in Zacatecas headlining the festival on a Friday night. In July they would be tapped to open for their biggest audience yet, an opening slot for Mexico's Cafe Tacvba at Chicago's biggest outdoor stage, the Petrillo Music Shell during the Taste of Chicago to a sold out capacity crowd.
With a West Coast/Southwest US summer tour completed in September. The busy group released their sophomore full length studio album September 8th, 2017. The new album "Juntos" was a critical success for the band as it was reviewed by publications across the US and even highlighted on NPR's "Songs We Love" featurette highlighting the band's song "Mi Gente."
ESSO now prepares for a busy 2018 as they set to perform at Chicago's famed City Winery on Jan 18th, 2018 and return to Mexico for a short tour in late January. Their touring schedule will continue to bring their contagious energy and sounds to premier music venues and festivals across the Americas in the new year. Catch their next show.
ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat came to life in late 2013, drawing from the members' shared love of dance, soul, and high energy music. Earning their start as the house band for a live music night in downtown Chicago, the rotating members collaborated live onstage until a solid foundation assembled. With a growing setlist of original material, co-founders and songwriters Armando Pérez and Kevin Miller recorded and released their first original recordings an online EP mixtape in 2014 via Belmont Electric Studios.
They've played for notable music festivals including: Ruido Fest, Chicago World Music Festival, Taste of Chicago, Clark Street Festival, South By Southwest (SXSW), Festival Cultural de Zacatecas (MX), Villapalooza and many annual street festivals across the US..
ESSO has shared the stage with grammy winners: Cafe Tacvba, Natalia Lafourcade, Bomba Estereo, Ozomatli, Los Amigos Invisibles, Kinky, as well as Songhoy Blues, La Santa Cecilia, El Sonido Gallo Negro, Los Rakas, Chicha Libre, Saul Williams, Jeremy Sole, Jenny & the Mexicats, Gaby Moreno, Alice Russel, Euforquestra, and Boogat.
By 2016, the band was named "Best New Band" and "Best International/World Music Act" by the revered Chicago Reader's annual readers poll. They then released a free downloadable remix album entitled "Pueblo Unido," a full length album collaboration with their local community of music producers and DJs featuring guests and reworks of their original material. They followed the release with a tour through the Midwest and East Coast, performing in new cities and boosting their national visibility.
Catching the attention of tastemakers, promoters, and booking agents, they began to play bigger venues and festival stages opening for national and international touring acts alike. Continuing to write and record, they recorded and self-released their eponymous full length album on Pérez' newly founded Sonic Octopus Recordings imprint in 2015. With their first LP in hand, the band toured through the Midwest to New Orleans and back garnering local and national attention.