Now residents of Toronto, most of the members of Battle of Santiago came from the Caribbean island of Cuba before settling in Canada. Their latest record – their third to date – reflects this multiculturalism and the difficulties faced by immigrants trying to feel at home in a new culture.
Groups of immigrants living in a foreign country can produce unique cultural blends when they set their minds to it.
This is true in literature, gastronomy, film or music. The latter is the case for Battle of Santiago: a group of immigrants living in Canada, most of whom are Cuban, who have mixed the sounds of Afro-Cuban ceremonies with electronica, noise, jazz and rock.
This veritable musical melting pot has given rise to “La migra”, a record produced by the “Made with pencil crayons” label that will be released on 19 May.
The record is the third produced by this Toronto-based group of eight musicians.
This musical blend is particularly striking in a country such as Canada, which is famous for its indie rock and electronica scene.
What many people do not know is that Toronto is home to one of the largest Cuban communities in North America, which, despite numerous initiatives, has not managed to integrate as one might wish.
The title of the record, following on from “Full Colour” (2012) and “Followed by thousands” (2013), speaks of its link to the immigrant status of most of the members of the group. Even so, its creators insist that it has nothing to do with the election of Donald Trump on the other side of the Canadian border.
Despite this, the various difficulties faced by immigrants feature in the lyrics of songs such as “Se me complica”. Meanwhile, tracks like “Pa bailar” and “Cimarrón” are pure dance anthems.
Photos: Battle of Santiago – (Translated bu Roz Harvey)