ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat came to life in 2013, drawing from the members' shared love of funk, 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 on stage until a solid foundation assembled. With a growing setlist of original material, co-founders, Armando Pérez and Kevin Miller, released their first original recordings on an EP mixtape.
Catching the attention of tastemakers, promoters, and booking agents, they began to play festival stages and open for national and international touring acts. Releasing their eponymous self-titled full length album on their own Sonic Octopus Recordings label in 2015, the band toured through the Midwest to New Orleans and back garnering local and national acclaim.
Named "Best New Band" and "Best International/World Music Act" by the Chicago Reader's Poll in July 2016, ESSO released "Pueblo Unido" (Sonic Octopus Recordings), a remix album collaboration with their local community of music producers and DJs as a thank you note to all their supporters. They again toured through the Midwest and the East Coast, highlighting Detroit,
NYC, and Nashville, reaching new listeners and boosting their reach and national visibility. ¡ESSO! continues to bring their contagious fusion to premier music venues and festivals across the states.
***Their notable experience and active work in performing for
grassroots community organizations has helped raise awareness and vital funding for important after-school and immigrant justice and fair housing programs across Chicago.
ESSO (El Sonido Sonic Octopus) performs funky Afro-Latino and roots rock inspired dance music. The ethnically diverse crew of musicians establish driving polyrhythmic grooves, combining biting twang guitar with the strength of brass horns, coro group singing, and urban poetry all in an eclectic mix of raw energetic sounds. All members bring a vital contribution to the band's unique "afrojam funkbeat" style. Inspired by Chicago's soulful blues, jazzy house, and global fusion heavyweights, the group deliver their performances with purpose and direction; unifying
through music, dance, and collaboration.
ESSO has shared the stage with grammy winners: Natalia Lafourcade, Bomba Estereo, Ozomatli, Los Amigos Invisibles, Cafe Tacuba, Kinky as well as: Sonido Gallo Negro, Chicha Libre, Saul Williams, Jeremy Sole, Los Rakas, Jenny & the Mexicats, Gaby Moreno, Alice Russell, Eufórquestra and Boogat.
They've played for notable festivals: Ruido Fest, Chicago World Music Festival, Logan Square Arts Festival, Taste of Chicago, Clark Street Festival, Villapalooza and more.
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), Julian Harris (trumpet) and special guests.