Message of Love is a multi-genre, world music project heavily influenced by musical traditions born on both sides of the Atlantic. North and South America, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean are all represented on this record, whose track list reflects Abrazos Orchestra's own diversity. The Afro-Latino and Boricua/Nuyorican musical heritage shared by several Abrazos members can be heard throughout Message of Love, whether on the traditional Taino song "Daka Naboria" or the album's uplifting title Reggae track which sets listeners off on their musical journey. In addition to Roots Reggae and Taino folklorica, Abrazos also serves up a blend of Salsa, Cumbia, Blues, Búgalu, Afrobeat, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Soul.
Message of Love is a collaborative album performed by some of New York's most dynamic musicians (most of whom were raised in the five boroughs of NYC) and features a handful of male and female singers and MCs who each add a unique vocal presence to the mix. Except for two songs, the album is composed of original compositions first written by individual orchestra members who quickly developed the trust in each other to share their songs with the the group, who then worked together to bring the music to life.The two cover tunes Abrazos included on the album augment the group's original music by offering up English and Spanish-speaking listeners fresh takes on classic material. "Together" allows Abrazos to pay respect to Ray Barretto (a BIG inspiration for the band) and his message of black, white, and red unity and lay down some some percussion-heavy Barrio Funk. The minimalist rendition of "Si nos Dejan" was a last minute addition sung by Coco Vélez accompanied by Jack Glottman on keys. When Coco cordially accepted Abrazos' invitation to lend her voice to the project, there were several boleros she considered doing before deciding that this song had the right feel and tone. The recording ended up being the final touch the album needed as it provided a powerful elder female presence that was missing prior.
Message of Love is a manifestation of Abrazos Orchestra's mutual respect and admiration, creative passion, and, most importantly, the love each member eagerly spreads throughout their local and global communities through rhythm and melody
The Abrazos Orchestra project, is a multi-genre, artist-driven initiative supporting creative and educational growth through music. Inspired by Angel Rodriguez Sr, Aníbal Collazo Jr. and the Abrazos familia, we represent cultural diversity and education through music, reflecting the world community. Our goal: embracing and serving the people and advocating for culture, education, equality, wellness, and peace & progress for all.
Abrazos has proudly worked alongside tireless and inspiring organizations: North Star Fund, Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education, UCTP, The Point, Rocking The Boat and NYC Strategic Alliance for Health & Education to name a few. As individual teaching artists, we provide the finest educational and outreach programs, delivering this within an artistic and sustainable structure.
We are ever fortunate and grateful for our greatest resource; a family of caring and sharing artists who help us walk the walk in our communities, expanding our vision, encourage growth. And collaborating in this album project... amAzing! We send you a "Message of Love" filled with Afro-Carribean rhythms, Salsa, Soul, Cumbia, Afrobeat, Blues, Boogaloo, Reggae, Taino and ABRAZOS!! We are reflection of the world community. Giving thanks.
released July 1, 2014
Featured Artists: Amaury Acosta - Angel Ruben Rodriguez, Sr - Anibal Collazo, Jr - Anthony Almonte - Anthony De Leon - Chico Alvarez - Coco Velez - David Cutler - Djibril Toure - Domenica Fossati - Emanuel Harrold - Frank Almonte - Hiram Remon - Hugo Moreno - Inti Celis - Irvin Lopez - Jack Glottman - Jesse Wallace - Karina Casiano - Luis Camacho - Matt Dickey - Marvin Neal - Melanie Charles - Milton Ruiz - Nicky Laboy - Noah Bless - Omar Abdulkarim - Paniagotis Andreou - Pucho Alamo - Ricky Ortiz - Roberto Borrero - Rogerst Charles - Ruben Lopez, Sr - Ruben Lopez, Jr - Sebastian Nikol - Solo Rodriguez - Steven Santiago - Tommie Nibbs - Tony Domenech - Travis Antoine - Yeisson Villamar
Produced by Anibal Collazo, Jr and Angel Ruben Rodriguez, Sr
Musical Direction by Ruben Lopez, Jr
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Matt Dickey
A very special thanks goes out to Daniel DelValle for the beautiful cover art and to Amy Ponce for photography and design.