Oh nostalgic Montreal winters. Every year I fear your bitter cold days but revel in the knowledge and experiences you bring me. Think what you may of Black History Month, it does have a way of bringing our attention the beautiful and intricate Afro-tapestry. The legacy of African culture and its diaspora is an endless puzzle and my heart bounds like a child’s every time I find another piece of its story under the couch.
The piece I have today was actually on a mixtape a good friend made for me this past month. I was casually listening to his mix while tidying up, when Eva Ayllón’s voice hit my ears and instantly captivated me. That rich tone that we’ve heard in greats like Cesaria and Omara, felt so familiar yet so foreign at the same time. That’s the beauty of the Afro-tapestry, woven with the same thread but such distinct patterns. Eva’s work tells the story of the Afro-Peruvian reality in all its beauty and horror. Her piece ‘Azucar de Caña’ speaks of the ritual and sensuality of the milling of sugar cane into Guarapo (sugar cane licor). The imagery in her words almost brings the sweet aroma of the fields up to our nostrils but the passion and quiver in her voice reminds us that sugar cane is a bitter sweet memory for the African diaspora.
Not many singers can hold generations of history on a single note, so those who can should be celebrated. Be sure to explore her full repertoire for a powerful rendition of the Afro-Peruvian experience.Azucar de Caña - Eva Ayllón