MAKU Soundsystem’s fifth release 5 Fuegos finds the Brooklyn-based, self-proclaimed “immigrant beat” band with a fresh new stripped down sound of five players: bass, guitar, drums, percussion, and vocals. Appropriately, the emphasis is on the beat, and while the brass section and keyboards are now gone, the principle vocalists Liliana Conde (who plays electronic percussion as well) and bassist Juan Ospina are still leading the charge with their stirringly emotional voices out front. Also as before, the heartfelt lyrics inspire you to feel with your heart while you dance to the polyrhythms with your feet. And as on their last Peace & Rhythm release The Mix, the dynamic pair of Liliana and Juan are supported by guitarist Camilo Rodríguez, Andrés Jiménez on drum kit, and master percussionist Moris Cañate on tambor alegre (folkloric Colombian hand drum) with all three sharing backing vocals.
5 Fuegos means “Five Fires” and is named for the five members of the band as well as the five songs on the record. The EP features five smoking psychedelic tunes full of originality, hot rocking Afro-funk and deep Colombian roots, each one energized by a burning inner light. The title also alludes to the fact that there are many kinds of fire, encompassing a multitudinous spectrum from destruction to healing, from glowing black coals to illuminating flame, and thus it’s important to recognize the wholeness of it, the good coming out of the bad. As the album dedication puts it, the band steps “on firmly and in gratitude with the spirit of life, for the past, the present and the future.” Indeed, the album is about renewal and rebirth in the cleansing aftermath of conflagration because, “like pyrophyte seeds and plants” the band “will sprout from the inclement fire of our times, for these are the times we got; to sprout from inclemency is part of nature. The dedication goes on to declare that “with music our internal fyah stays alive; with the love of people everything becomes possible…love of a higher calling. With 5 Fuegos we will green the fields again and again.”
This limited edition record also contains two bonus instrumental versions to inspire MCs and remixers. Download card included. Colored vinyl!