It's appropriate that ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat is based in the Heartland. The group sounds like love, with pulsing, vital rhythms and a knack for putting together warm sounds from funk, hip-hop, tropical Latin music, Afropop, and cumbia in such a way that they raise each other up high.​ - POPMATTERS (November 2017)

"Latin locals ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat merged onstage with Los Visios de Papa and blew the festival into orbit. With more than 10 musicians jamming onstage (all of them playing with an intensity, joy, and passion which could only be described as rapturous), the set went bonkers when rapper Logan Luis jumped off stage and ran through the audience with a rainbow flag in a show of support for the LGBTQ community. Without making a political comment, the band telegraphed the importance of solidarity and community that was spontaneous, popular and refreshing.  -Windy City Media Group (July/2017)

"With elements of Latin funk, cumbiahton, salsa and other styles from across Latin America, as well as the impossible-to-ignore blues and house that is such a big part of Chicago’s musical DNA, ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat are here to show us all that the secret to collectivity lies in musical harmony." - Sound and Colors (Sept 2017)

"Juntos is an album by ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat, an eclectic group of musicians with a unique spin on afrobeat funk. The original songs have a profound message about transcending divisions of race, class, or ethnicity, reflecting the need for connection and tolerance. Juntos is lively, soul-stirring, and highly recommended." -Wisconsin Bookwatch (Sept 2017)

"ESSO reaches back beyond the Caribbean to Africa and skillfully blends those motherland elements into its rhythmic sancocho. Fela’s Afrobeat can be felt in some songs, but so does the jùjú music of that other giant of Nigerian music, King Sunny Ade, as well as the loping guitars of Ghanaian highlife." -Border Radio (Sept 2017)

"...the history-making Ruido Fest reminded me why I love alternative music in the first place and I’m anxiously awaiting next year’s lineup. This past year was huge for local artists like Esso Afrojam Funkbeat who are getting much deserved recognition in other cities. I think we might be at the cusp of a new generation of artists and music and the outlook is hopeful.”          -Fernando Garza via Chicago Voz

"ESSO might just be the band the country needs in these dark days of the Trump presidency." -Agúzate.org (Sept 2017)

Esso Afrojam Funkbeat is a large conglomeration with a rich guest list, mixing upbeat salsa on pieces like “Baila” and “Mariposa Negra” to hip hop tunes such as “Mi Gente” and the electric grooved “Cumbia Del Encanto.” Some folk guitar and lovely voice by Diana Mosquera create a rich atmosphere on “Cumbia Triste” and folk driven flute from Matthew Davis teams with indie moods on “Stone Eagle.” Traditional sounds with Millennial hearts - JazzWeekly (November 2017)

"Music is an amazing thing. You don't have to understand any of the lyrics of a song to be moved by the melody and the rhythm. Juntos, the latest album from Esso Afrojam Funkbeat is a great testament to this phenomenon. Even if you don't understand a word of Spanish, you're likely to find yourself moving when you listen to it." - AXS (Sept 2017)

"Groove-tastic local band ¡Esso! Afrojam Funkbeat mix up a swirl of global sounds—their massive musical range covers funky Fela Kuti-style Afrobeat, Hendrix-­flavored psych rock, Latin boogaloo, and more. ...You'll want to put on your dancing shoes every time you hear 'em! The group released a thumping new self-titled LP recorded during the past year or so at Belmont Electric Studios, and it's a nonstop blast of dance-floor power."  -Chicago Reader

"Best New Band" & "Best World/International Music Act" 2016 - Chiago Readers Poll Award Winners

¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat

"The music on Juntos is founded on a Latin roux with flavors coming from around the world. In other words, it is American music.[So] let’s get together and dance to the promise of a better world." -INK19 Cultural Press (December 2019)

"...Esso Afrojam Funkbeat works because the group speaks to something burgeoning in contemporary society. They understand the ways in which we consume music: voraciously, eagerly and indiscriminately. More important, they understand why we do so... Esso is more than just the music. Rooted in the lyrical and instrumental content of the ensemble's music is a unifying goal of camaraderie and openness."  -Chicago Tribune

"With all the kinetic energy, welcoming vibe, booty shaking and joy onstage, ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat is hardly just a band but a happening." - In The Loop Magazine (August 2017)

"At a time when we've seen consecutive natural disasters pummel places such as Texas, Puerto Rico and Mexico, it's sometimes difficult to see beyond the incredible pain and images of destruction. But just when you think that mother nature's force has become too much to bear, you hear a story about strangers lifting each other or unlikely heroes emerging from the trauma. And it's in these times when songs like "Mi Gente" from Chicago's ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat remind us that "Solo la gente cuando está unida puede moverse."Only when people are united can they move forward." -NPR Music ~Alt-Latino (Oct 2017)

"...This album will become a go-to dance record in your collection.  While your brain might not jump to it immediately, I defy anyone’s claim that these 8 tracks wouldn’t be a hit at your next house party.  Just make sure your turntable is on solid ground..."


-ChicagoLovesVinyl.com

"We caught up with Armando Perez as the Chicago-based funk band Esso Afrojam Funkbeat prepared to release a 2016 remix of Pueblo Unido on Sonic Octopus Records. He discussed this new project in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown, along with his early influences, the formation and future of Esso Afrojam Funkbeat and how the issues facing immigrants shape their work …"

"The “Fela inspired Fania blends” ring true across 12 solid tracks that sway from tropical beachside anthems and reggae hip hop to funky cumbia tributes and spoken word cumbia rebajada. From beginning to end, there’s a refreshing surprise throughout.¡ESSO! is an urban sound amalgam of Latino roots. It’s Chicago magic all around." -Radio One

"The vibrant energy of Chicago based ¡ESSO Afrojam Funkbeats’ unique sound brings a funky Latin vibe to the best Funk songs of 2017. Their sensual 2017 album, Juntos, is full of tropicalfunk and “Cumbiation.” Each song on Juntos is a journey. In the album’s Afrobeat-Funk song “LaCalle,” ESSO shares the experience of growing up in the streets of Chicago. Check it out, this tune will have you dancing in the streets!" - Funkish (2017)