The sounds of Africa have taken multi-instrumentalist Chico Mann—aka Marcos García—all over the world. So it’s fitting that on Analog Drift, his second album and first for Wax Poetics Records, he’s returning the favor. Over the course of twelve thumping, impossibly soulful songs, including a cover of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” Chico Mann introduces the rhythms and guitarisms of Afrobeat to the music of Cuba, the Latin freestyle flavors of 1980s New York and Miami, and the synth-heavy electro beats of dance floors across the globe.
“I’ve spent years learning to speak Afrobeat, albeit with a Cuban accent,” García says. “What I do is engage Afrobeat in conversation with Afro-Cuban funk, while electro and freestyle set the stage. I’m employing several dialects to make a larger musical statement. They’re all branches of the same tree.”
Born in New York City to Cuban parents—his mother a pianist and disc jockey, his father a record label head and producer of merengue records—García started early, diving headlong into the spheres of guitar, piano, and break dancing; the works of Willie Colón, Fela Kuti, Lisa Lisa, and Afrika Bambaataa led the way. His father told him to steer clear of the business, but did he really have a choice?
Fast forward to the early 2000s. When he wasn’t burning up stages worldwide with the mighty Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, García was home cooking up a more personal sound, featuring himself on all the instruments (guitar, bass, keyboards, programming) and vocals (in Spanish!). A debut album emerged in 2007 (Manifest Tone, Vol. 1), and by 2010, he was ready to drop another groundbreaking statement.
And that’s exactly what Analog Drift is: a statement. It’s saying something. At a time when most artists are blowing smoke in your face, García is blowing soul in your face. Not to mention truth and feeling. Songs like the searching “Mentirosos” and the reflective “Hay Que Correr” are guaranteed to get right to the heart of your matter; plus, synthy rumpshakers like “Anima” and “All That Is Rising” have been proven to get you movin’. So García’s music is good for your mind and behind. And it’s always real. The total package.