With a band name that translates to “heart” or “soul” in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, this female-fronted contemporary Afro-Cuban roots and jazz band blends pure Cuban traditional music with jazz, Afro-Cuban style and worldly rhythms into a sophisticated and inspiring sound. Both halves of this duo have inspiring musical backgrounds: Elizabeth Rodriguez is a classically trained violinist born in Havana, Cuba, while Magdelys Savigne was born in Santiago de Cuba and was classically trained as a drummer and percussionist. Now living and collaborating in the multicultural hub of Toronto, Canada, Rodriquez and Savigne incorporate influences from Brazil, Spain and New Orleans into their music. With their global perspective, OKAN plays a key role in introducing Cuban music to the rest of the world, while adding their own fresh and modern twist.
Both band members are JUNO-nominees for their work with Battle of Santiago, as well as GRAMMY-nominees for their contributions to their former bands, Jane Bunnett and Maqueque. OKAN has performed at festivals and locations including the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, Miami Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Luminato and the San Jose Jazz Festival.