¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat
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¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Latin Funk




"Celebrate the sounds of ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat"

by Sandra Trevino

“Holy funk!” I mouthed in admiration as my head bopped to the first few seconds of ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat’s new single, “I Want To Be WIth You,” off their just released self-titled full-length debut album. The “Fela inspired Fania blends” ring true across 12 solid tracks that sway from tropical beachside anthems and reggae hip hop to funky cumbia tributes and spoken word cumbia rebajada. It’s Chicago magic all around. Join the band on Friday, June 19 as they celebrate the release of this new recording with a live performance at Double Door.

“Our first EP release ‘ThanksMixTape’ (available on our Bandcamp) was primarily instrumental. The new record focuses our palate on arrangements, songwriting, and lyrics. Adding lyrics offers us the ability to communicate a message, whereas music alone communicates a feeling/emotion. Working with vocals really allowed us to blend our sonic textures with mental concepts. Having a platform for lyrics, we chose to write about things that are important to us and our culture, our people historically and now. Messages of unity, tolerance, experience, awareness, sustainability, love… these are dominant issues to us as we (and our friends) start their own families and look to the future,” explains Armando Pérez, the band’s lead guitar and vocals.

ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat’s new album features plenty of guest musicians and collaborations with artists like Boogat and poet Luis Tubens who snaps on “Mundo Vale.” There’s also a sassy cumbia-styled transformation of Vivian García’s song, “Cold Bed.” And, even though we thought the Afroqbano version of Loc@s was IT (duh, we play it all the time!), well, hot damn they come along and slap us into another atmosphere with this new version. Those horns, the smoky vox and that flute, tho’! ¡Chacho mang!

From beginning to end, there’s a refreshing surprise in every track. From Latin funk, jazz and dancehall to house and spoken word over reggae cumbia, ¡ESSO! is an urban sound amalgam of Latino roots in Chicago. Listen to “Esso Strut” and try not to get up and boogie. It’s too contagious. The same goes for just about every one of the 12 tracks and we haven’t even touched on the complexity and impact of the accompanying words and poetry.

The album was engineered and recorded at Belmont Electric Studio with help from Rollin Weary, IV Labs, Mark Yoshizumi and Ezra Lange. Musicians for the album were Armando Pérez, Kevin Miller, Dan Leiber, Ezra Lange, Vivian García, Greg Spero, Julian Lloyd Harris, Puerko Pitzotl, Erin Marisol Corine, Juan Pablo Lugo, Ryan Schoen, Boleszek Olisnki, Maurice Cade, Diana Mosquera and Peter “Maestro” Vale.

“In short, people can expect conscious lyrics/vocals accompanying the band’s festive musical arrangements, as well as a deeper exploration into the Latin fusion and house music we grew up with here in Chicago,” says Pérez.

After their recent set for “This is Pilsen – Bohemian Past, Latino Present,” at Thalia Hall, where they shared the stage with Ondrej Havelka & his Melody Makers and Katerina Garcia, the band is set to perform at Double Door where they are officially celebrating the release of ¡ESSO! Tickets available here. - Radio One Chicago

"ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat does just what you'd expect"

By Britt Julious

Eclectic doesn't do Esso Afrojam Funkbeat enough justice. The supergroup — featuring Armando Perez, Vivian Garcia, Dan Lieber, Ezra Lange, Julian Harris, Kevin Miller and Puerko Pitzotl — succeeds by creating without any rules, at least toward genre.

Incorporating everything from dance to funk to cumbia, Esso Afrojam Funkbeat is best enjoyed when you simply let the music flow within you.

And the group wouldn't have it any other way. Each band member grew up in diverse communities across the city, with opportunities to stretch in their musical pursuits and interests. "We were all forced into institutions and activities that presented a lot of opportunity to expand our multicultural horizons without knowing it," said drummer, percussionist and vocalist Lieber.

More than a jam band, Esso Afrojam Funkbeat works because the group speaks to something burgeoning in contemporary society. They understand the ways in which we consume music: voraciously, eagerly and indiscriminately. More important, they understand why we do so.

All genres of music are more accessible than ever before, ready to be grasped within seconds through whatever means loads quickest. That means we're no longer restricted in what we listen to because we are no longer restricted by how and when and where we listen. And in turn, this means experimental, progressive and reflective music like that of Esso Afrojam Funkbeat has finally found an outlet, along with an audience.

The group is a derivative of Sonic Octopus, a label Perez, the group's co-founder and bandleader, created. "Literally, it means sonically we can go anywhere," Perez said. This translates to a sound that is intentionally global, with fusion elements. Lyrics are written in English, Spanish and even French with a Latin core. "We like to do whatever we want, which is everything," Perez said. Garcia, vocalist and lyricist, agreed. "I am a firm believer that anything that moves a person is art," she said. "Creating sounds with so many styles and voices allows us to reach and relate to a wider audience."

Esso is more than just the music. Rooted in the lyrical and instrumental content of the ensemble's music is a unifying goal of camaraderie and openness. "We tell people that they are brothers and sisters, really, and it's not something on the surface," Perez said.

The band tries to embody those same collective ideals whether through its music or the members' everyday lives. "We embody these beliefs and we really want to make the world a better place," Perez said. "We all want to perpetuate family someday, and we're all intelligent enough to know that it starts with us."

Their latest community-oriented act is to take Esso's live show to the daytime, creating an event that features the same enthusiastic music and audience but includes families. The group's sonic experience is one that is rich, inviting and lively, a perfect match for energetic children and parents alike. "We really want to give back, and that's something the band lives and strives for. We would like to see change for the better," Perez added.

They hate to preach and would rather ask people what they think. Even before Esso plays songs, members often ask people what they think of the music, making the concert experience one that is broader than just performer and viewer. "You never really know what's coming next as a member of the band or as someone in the crowd," saxophonist and vocalist Miller said. "We all listen to so much different stuff that one of us might break out with a lick or sound we were thinking about and running with it."

Perez mentioned his experiences in other cities, specifically that other cities are more welcoming or friendly with strangers. People walking down the street say hello to one another, something he thinks is missing from Chicago. "People are guarded from each other, and I'm trying to bring (that openness) back to my city," he said.

The lyrics of one Esso song can be translated as "If we all are one, let us dance together and get along." This effort, hard won, is what allows the group to thrive rather than buckle under the weight of its size. "All genre-blending bands are just bringing what they know to the kitchen and cooking together," Lieber said. "We think our gumbo tastes good!"

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Tickets: $35-$85, (773) 283-7244 or portagetheater.org - Chicago Trubune

"2015 Was a Killer Year for Local Music"

How does working in music change your perspective on music? It simply makes you want more.

In my role as a music “selectah”, radio co-host/producer, I’m always in search of new music and events that tie into their community instead of distance away from. In my neighborhoods, a night out include doses of culture, dance and creativity, plus, some tacos if you’re lucky.

As the year comes to a close, the last of this cycle’s events take shape across the city’s neighborhoods. On any given night, in almost any part of the city, you’ll find something magical going on.

If you’re a Facebook fiend, such as I, then you’re bound to see that notification pop up in your feed reminding you of the impossible-to-get-to-in-one-night list of events that you had clicked ‘interested in,’ right? Well, seeing that growth in number as the year wraps up, I think about all the events I attended throughout the year and all the great music and artists that roam our city.

Being part of a university-based radio station, WLUW 88.7 FM, and focusing on independent music, I’ve seen and heard the passion for sound these Chicagoans exude. It’s a beautiful thing to observe another human blossom as they immerse themselves in their craft.

In 2015, there were quite a few releases across the board and I’m proud to focus specifically on Chicago. Here’s a recap of the sights and sounds that kept this writer thrilled in 2015.


For Chicago Voz, I asked a few musicians and event organizers about their overall view of the year 2015 for the Chicago music scene.

Jose Calvo, bass player in Kelroy and Devilocks, said:
“There were lots of new, but also familiar faces. Bands like The Dead Feathers, Bionic Cavemen, The Kickback, Killer Moon and You are Here are some of them, to name a few. Musicianship and camaraderie amongst bands has grown this past year at the indie level, leading to more doors opening from higher-end venues to allow more Chicago music to be showcased.”

Drummer, Nils Higdon said:
“Looking back, 2015 was particularly special due to this history not only maintaining itself, but expanding. While Chicago’s musicians steadily work to honor traditions, they are also producing great compositions and performances that will project the art form into the future. And the best thing is that there is too much good music in the city to hear all that you want to… I found myself trying to decide between two great concerts a little too often.”

Fernando Garza, DJ, photographer and local music junkie, said:
“I can’t think of any notable ‘major’ label releases from 2015. It seems as major artists played it safe by sticking to their usual formulas. The live music scene, however, was a different story. I think the history-making Ruido Fest reminded me why I love alternative music in the first place and I’m anxiously awaiting next year’s lineup. This past year was also huge for local artists like Dos Santos: Anti-Beat Orquesta and Esso Afrojam Funkbeat who are getting much deserved recognition in other cities. I think we might be at the cusp of a new generation of artists and music and the outlook is hopeful.”

Armando Perez, who released new music this year with his band ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat, said:
“I’ve always said you can find anything you want in Chicago. No matter what style of music you are into, there is a venue, club, party or event that will be including a bit of that scene or genre, so much so that genres are blending and fusing more and more. I see a lot of bands and DJs doing new things and ultimately bridging the gap between styles. This city may be going through a lot of cultural division in politics and business, but the young generation is seeing the benefit of common ground to move forward.”


As far as the year itself, Perez continued, “2015 was great for Chicago. Smaller festivals from yesteryear continue to get bigger and more organized, like Clark St. and Villapalooza. New festivals came in and broke new ground, like Ruido Fest and Hermosa Fest. While other neighborhood fests varied their programming, such as Logan Square Arts Fest, Do Division, etc. New music releases have cemented the city as a burgeoning hotbed and taste-maker on the national stage (SXSW, CMJ, touring bands). I am always excited to see the productivity of Chicago’s musicians. It inspires me, and that’s all I can ask for.”

I couldn’t have said it better! Whether debuting a new music project or premiering never-before-heard recordings, Chicago went deep to produce some killer sounds.

Locally, Sonorama continued its mission of reviving vintage Latin sounds on vinyl. Their residency on-site at 5 Rabbit Brewery served as the backdrop to their monthly ‘El Tocadiscos’ night featuring guests like Rock Sin Anestesia’s (88.7FM) DJ Resistol Cincomil.

It was definitely time well spent listening to Chicago homegrown, in all its sound variations, from artists such as Aryk Crowder, Kelroy, Population, Hurakan, Lykanthea, Antenna the Band, Pinqy Ring, You Are Here, Landmarks, Buya, Killer Moon, Chai Tulani, Black Japan, The Lemons, Son Monarcas, Miss Chiff, Bumbac Joe, Born on Jeffreys, Las Manzanitas, Low Swans, Subele, Nola Ade, Axons, Rumores, The Just Luckies, and everything Chicago Singles Club records because they’re also all about the local.

All the while, Future Rootz, The Boogie Munsters, Soulphonetics, The DisAssociates, Motown Marauders, Basement Boogie, Sobremesa, The Hip Hop Project, Soul Togetherness, Vocalo, Alegría, Beat Swap Meet, ¿Que Horas Son? and other music aficionados put together dance nights to share with each other in the awe of discovering something new.

The summer gorged our ears with sights and sounds from around the world presented in our own neighborhoods. Ruido Fest roared fiercely at the top, joined by community festivals like Villapalooza, Mole de Mayo, Fiesta del Sol, Open Studios, Cumbiasazo and a myriad of cultural events at places like Cultura in Pilsen, OPEN Center for the Arts, La Catrina Cafe, Pilsen Breakfast & Grill, Citlalin Gallery, Lobi Space, Plaza Tenochtitlan, Martin’s Corner, El Mezquite, Caminos de Michoacan, Jumping Bean, Pl-zen, Victims of Art, Carlos & Dominguez Fine Arts Gallery, Honky Tonk BBQ, Co-Prosperity Sphere, many of the shops down 18th Street and, of course, the National Museum of Mexican Art. We can’t leave out Coyote’s and Atotonilco for the late night, munchie-induced, brainstorming sessions.


There were new nights for DJs at places like Lumpen Radio, Maria’s, Harbee, Simone’s, Punch House, La Vaca and Thalia Hall with one-offs at community spaces like Pilsen Art House, Tonantzin, Pilsen Outpost, Sip & Splash, plus the Las Artelitas and Villarte pop-up showcases in Little Village.

A rainbow of art exhibits lit the city year-round. It was great to see the scope of art in Chicago. Local artists hosted art walks and art parties, a successful neighborhood artists month, Day of the Dead celebrations, poetic adventures, afternoons con café, conchas y lotería – even Selena karaoke – and so much more!

Speaking of café y conchas reminds me of all the culinary events that happened throughout the year. Oh, no. I can’t even begin to think of starting a list for that.

What were some of your favorite musical moments in the neighborhood? Please let me know what I missed. Leave a comment below, on our Facebook, or Tweet at us.

Article by Sandra Trevino @sandratrevino
Photos by José Calvo - chicagovoz.org

"Music: Gossip Wolf"

Groove-tastic local band ¡Esso! Afrojam Funkbeat mix up a swirl of global sounds—their massive musical range covers funky Fela Kuti-style Afrobeat, Hendrix-­flavored psych rock, Latin boogaloo, and more. This wolf thinks you'll want to put on your dancing shoes every time you hear 'em! This past Sunday the ten-piece group released a thumping new self-titled LP recorded during the past year or so at Belmont Electric Studios, and it's a nonstop blast of dance-floor power. You can stream the album (or cop a free download) at Bandcamp. - Chicago Reader

"Best of Chicago"

Voted "Best New Band" and "Best International/World Music Act" by the Chicago Reader's 2016 Reader's Poll. - Chicago Reader

"Armando Perez, of Esso Afrojam Funkbeat: Something Else! Interview"

We caught up with Armando Perez as the Chicago-based funk band Esso Afrojam Funkbeat prepared to release a 2016 remix of Pueblo Unido on Sonic Octopus Records. He discussed this new project in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown, along with his early influences, the formation and future of Esso Afrojam Funkbeat and how the issues facing immigrants shape their work …

PRESTON FRAZIER: Esso is very active in the discussion regarding immigrants’ rights. How does the struggle impact your music?
ARMANDO PEREZ: We all come from somewhere else. We are all immigrants. America is built on this premise. This diversity is key in understanding others and developing tolerance and solidarity. These human struggles give us a foundation and a purpose in our band’s message. It’s not just immigrant rights; it includes human rights. We aim to convey these passions in our music, live and recorded. It moves us. It anchors us. It gives us something to believe. It feels amazing to write and sing a song about unity and empowerment. It feels like we are being true to ourselves and doing something right. It resonates on two levels: mind and body. We all believe things can get better.

PRESTON FRAZIER: Esso’s self-titled debut came out last year. Where the songs written specifically for the album?
ARMANDO PEREZ: The songs on the debut were not written specifically for the record. It was a conscious collection of our developing material through our first year and a half as a live band. The songs were “road-tested” and we felt ready to debut a complete record. I will say that each song has a “sister-song.” It helped us focus our sound very much!

PRESTON FRAZIER: Where was it recorded? How long was the recording process.
ARMANDO PEREZ: It was recorded at Belmont Electric Studios, a recording studio space I built in a garden apartment in Hermosa, Chicago. The recording process took a solid year. We recorded on our own time and refined elements until everyone was happy with their takes. We then mixed with four different engineers — unheard of! — and mastered at IV Labs in Chicago, Illinois, with Rollin Weary.

PRESTON FRAZIER: How does Pueblo Unido differ from your initial release?
ARMANDO PEREZ: Pueblo Unido is different because it is a collaboration of a different kind: instead of multiple musicians, we have multiple producers. It is the remix album of the same songs on the debut, but re-imagined through the minds of several influential and prolific DJs and producers in our Chicago scene. I sent the stem files of the original recordings and asked the DJ/producers to remix the songs for the record. Also, we are giving it out as a free download to thank all the supporters who’ve encouraged and helped us along the way. Pueblo Unido is essentially an exercise in collaboration and craftsmanship. It keeps us busy as a city, as a scene; it keeps us interested in possibilities and helps push us to make more new music.

PRESTON FRAZIER: Tell our readers about your background.
ARMANDO PEREZ: I was born in Chicago, Illinois, to hard-working immigrant parents from Zacatecas, Mexico. I am the sixth of seven first-generation Americans who were raised in a Spanish-speaking household, but learned English in the school system. My musical upbringing was a series of influential bursts — lessons in music style and genre — at different times in my life. As a child, I listened to a lot of romantic Spanish stuff through my mother. She would hum and softly sing along to the songs playing on the radio. I was then introduced to ’80s new wave, electronica and pop through my older brothers and sisters — the Cure, Depeche Mode, radio hits, etc. In my late grade-school years, I discovered rock music through the Seattle sound explosion of the early ’90s. Chicago was involved in that scene via Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair and Urge Overkill. I asked my parents for a guitar, and my father bought me a second-hand Sears telecaster copy. I started a Guitar World subscription, and played along to my favorite radio stations and albums. I never took formal lessons, but friends taught me basic riffs and scales.

I started writing songs shortly after learning power chords via punk rock influences in high school. During that time period I also discovered hip hop, and a deep love for creative poetry and lyrics. My college years nurtured a more expansive musical appreciation. New favorites in the realm of world music — reggae, dance, Latin, blues — made a strong mark on my style through personal study and travel. I moved to San Francisco in my 20th year and DIY focused on studying jazz fundamentals. I eventually found myself in the production seat, after my interest in songwriting and recording expanded my horizons to include proficiency on drums, piano, bass, beat machines and studio recording gear. I always had the support of my parents, who didn’t understand what it meant to make or write music, but knew I was passionate about it. I discovered later, during my father’s retirement years, that he was an accomplished harmonica player and singer — although he never composed or recorded. He worked so hard to support his family, he never really had time to pursue his passion for it.

PRESTON FRAZIER: When did you start performing publicly?
ARMANDO PEREZ: I began to perform publicly in high school. I formed a band with friends, and we played a local bowling alley turned punk scene stalwart called Fireside Bowl. I must’ve been 15 years old. We played garage parties, basement parties, and dives all around Chicago.

PRESTON FRAZIER: Is that when you met Esso Afrojam Funkbeat co-founder Kevin Miller?
ARMANDO PEREZ: I met Kevin Miller in my late high school years. We were introduced by a mutual friend, Dan Tobiaski. We played in a short-lived fusion outfit called Erbis Rhombus which played in a basement cafe called the Nervous Center. That too was a hub for young creatives searching out a place to share ideas and collaborate on art. Kevin and I went on to collaborate on a live hip hop outfit called Freeform Sessions, one of the first live bands to play in traditionally rock venues around Chicago.

PRESTON FRAZIER: Tell us more about Esso Afrojam Funkbeat’s early years.
ARMANDO PEREZ: Esso Afrojam Funkbeat came to life in 2013 after I was asked to host a monthly jam at Underground Wonder Bar, a downtown Chicago live music venue. I was already performing with Jugo de Mango, a Latin fusion band formed by me and Juan Lugo, around town at restaurants and special events. This particular opportunity at Underground Wonder Bar demanded late hours — from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Jugo de Mango guys couldn’t commit to those hours. That’s when I reached out to Kevin Miller. He and I hadn’t made music for several years, due to general life schedules. We’d reunited at Lollapalooza earlier that same year serendipitously. I asked him to work on a new project with me and he agreed to it. My concept for the night was a Latin-based Afro Caribbean rhythm heavy jam session, which would include all our musical friends we’d worked with over the years. The first line up included me on guitar, Kevin on saxophone, John Heinze on drums, Alec Oroza on bass, Bernie Brooks on keys, Juan Lugo on percussion, Dan Lieber on percussion and Domenichi Morris on trumpet.

As the first year passed, the band’s work ethic became stronger and the concept solidified. Several members were focusing on multiple projects at once, and new members were always being introduced to the stage with us. The lineup was always in flux, depending on the show date. This made it really interesting and fresh from show to show. With the addition of vocals by influential singer-songwriter Vivian Garcia, complete songs were being written and recorded. By the time we finished recording our debut record, Esso Afrojam Funkbeat included over 16 collaborating members. In general, Esso has an elastic lineup. Currently, the live and touring band includes: Me (guitar, vocals), Kevin Miller (sax), Dan Lieber (drums), Ezra Lange (bass), Diana Mosquera (vocals), Lessic “Puerko Pitzotl” Franco (percussion), Matthew Davis (trombone), Jess Anzaldua (percussion), Logan Lu (poet) and Julian Harris (trumpet, though not on the current tour).

PRESTON FRAZIER: How would you define your role in your musical partnership? How is the music composed and arraigned?
ARMANDO PEREZ: My role in this musical partnership is songwriter, vocalist/guitarist, producer, manager, record label. I take on all the roles of band leadership and the “hats” that requires. In my years in the music industry, I’ve learned legal needs, as well as communication techniques to advance the band professionally and (most importantly) foster an open, all inclusive forum where all the musicians feel a sense of ownership in the music we create. We give each member the chance to speak their mind in all aspects of this project.

The music is composed and arranged by process of elimination. There is a spark to start a song, an idea, a riff, a lyric, simple but conceptually strong. The band jams and fleshes each song out. This is where each individual member’s strengths shine. ESSO is a collective. Our music sounds the way it does because of the diverse and multifaceted members involved. We will explore a song idea until it truly excites us! As a songwriter and producer, I have the tools and capability to record everyone in parts and focus on each members contribution. I can then edit, arrange, add ideas, etc, in Pro Tools and send demos to everyone via email or burned CDs. We are constantly in group communication online with gig opportunities and rehearsal/performance schedules. We rehearse as a full band once a week minimum.

PRESTON FRAZIER: Do you write on guitar?
ARMANDO PEREZ: I do not write primarily for guitar. As a producer, I listen for the complete song. This approach really helps me carve an idea out with everyone’s contribution in mind.

PRESTON FRAZIER: How has Chicago influenced your music?
ARMANDO PEREZ: Chicago has influenced my music in many ways. The scenes I’ve been involved in: punk rock, hip-hop. Latin, global, classical, pop as well as the DJ culture in the city have truly nurtured what I would consider a well-rounded appreciation for all genres. The house music scene, the Chicago blues, the local jazz were all strong frameworks for me in my goals as a musician. It was when I realized — in my high school years — that punk and hip-hop are basically the same thing: youth music, rebel music, expression of emotion, intelligent creativity in action. So, I began to fuse elements in my songs. Music quickly became an open channel for expression and emotion. I respected it, and began to appreciate it in a new way. Chicago, as a city, plays everything you’d want to hear. As long as you can find it, it is happening somewhere.

PRESTON FRAZIER: List for our readers your top 5 favorite albums.
ARMANDO PEREZ: That is a tough question for me, truly. I have so many transformative, life-changing albums that have affected me at different important points in my development. I’ll give it a shot! When I think of the best records I’ve ever resonated with, the ones that really touched me, off the top without thinking about it too much, I’d say: Jeff Buckley’s Grace, Depeche Mode’s Violator, Buena Vista Social Club, Los Lobos’ Del Este de Los Angeles and Peter Tosh’s Coming in Hot. - somethingelsereviews.com


1. ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat - ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat (Sonic Octopus Recordings 2015)

2. ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat - Pueblo Unido (Sonic Octopus Recordings 2016)

3. ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat - (currently recording for 2017 Summer release)



¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat is known for delivering powerful energetic performances that unify listeners in dance. They combine upbeat Latin grooves and soulful funk guitars with the strength of brass horns, group singing, and urban poetry. Their original music is Inspired by a wide range of eclectic genres including Chicago's blues, jazzy house, and various global fusion heavyweights. They most recently received the accolade of "Best New Band" and "Best International/ World Music Act" from the Chicago Reader in a 2016 readers poll. Having released a new remix album and toured throughout the year, they are ready to bring their music to new cities and festivals across the US in 2017. 

ESSO has recently supported Ozomatli, Natalia Lafourcade, Bomba Estereo, Los Amigos Invisibles, Sonido Gallo Negro, Kinky, Cafe Tacuba, Chicha Libre, Saul Williams, Alice Russell, Eufórquestra and headlined their own shows in Chicago and on tour.

BRIEF HISTORY:  ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat came to life in 2013, drawing from the members' shared love of funk, soul, and high energy music. Earning their start as the house band for a live music night in downtown Chicago, the rotating members collaborated live on stage until a solid foundation assembled. With a growing setlist of original material, co-founders, Armando Pérez and Kevin Miller, released their first original recordings on an EP mixtape. Catching the attention of tastemakers, promoters, and booking agents, they began to play festival stages and open for national and international touring acts. Releasing their eponymous self-titled full length album to critical-acclaim a year later, the band began to plan short tours.

The band then released their collaborative remix album Pueblo Unido (Sonic Octopus Recordings) in the late Summer of 2016. To follow, they toured through the Midwest, and the East Coast for a full month. Backed by growing buzz and critical acclaim for their recordings, ¡ESSO! continues to bring their unique brand of fusion to premier music venues and festivals across the states. 

***ESSO is proud of their active work in performing for grassroots community organizations and fundraisers to helped raise awareness and vital funding for important after-school and immigrant justice programs across Chicago.

Band Members