Blending tradition Cuban music, jazz, and contemporary Afro-Cuban sounds, OKAN embraces every culture and welcomes it as its own. In the religion of santería, “okan” means “soul.” This is embodied in the great sophistication of their music – a look to the history of Cuban music with a modern and fresh touch; the evolution of Cuban music outside of Cuba.
Elizabeth Rodriguez was born in Havana, Cuba and is a classically trained violinist. She was a Concertmaster of the Youth Orchestra in Havana. Since moving to Canada in 2013, she has been pursuing her musical career as a singer and violinist for several bands including the Juno-winning band of Jane Bunnett & Maqueque and The Battle of Santiago.
Drummer/percussionist Magdelys Savigne was born in Santiago de Cuba and is classically trained in Orchestral Percussion. She graduated with honours from University of Arts in Havana, Cuba. The award-winning percussionist, vocalist and composer is also a member of Maqueque and the Battle of Santiago, as well as Bill King’s Rhythm Express.
Both Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne have performed frequently throughout Canada and The United States of America with Maqueque and The Battle of Santiago, participating in festivals including Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, Miami Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Toronto’s Luminato, San Jose Jazz Festival, and other high profile venues like Birdland, The Blue Note, Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center. In their hometown of Toronto, they have given multiple performances at Koerner Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Beaches Jazz Festival.
Elizabeth and Magdelys represent women fighting to be heard and seen. As renowned soloists in their own right, they combine their individual careers and backgrounds into a deeply profound soul.