Every Wednesday we present one heavyweight live band at Flat Iron Square - a meeting place for people, food and friends. Entry is free!
When speaking of the UK Latin music scene, the name Wara resonates across the board. Originally a nine-piece with a scorching melting pot of identities with backgrounds spanning Cuba, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Spain, Germany and the UK, the band formed in 2009, soon finding that they were doing something nobody else had tried: portraying what Latin Americans face when they move to the UK; using their music as a platform to twist stereotypes, bend genres and combine stories in a provocative and intelligent way.
Their critically acclaimed self-titled EP (2011) and album (“Leave to Remain”, 2013) put them at the forefront of the UK's Latin scene, selling out their album launch at the Jazz Café and packing venues and festivals alike, such as the Hackney Empire, Glastonbury Festival, Secret Garden, La Linea festival, Africa Oye, Shoreditch Festival and many more. They also won two LUKAS awards for Best Latin Alternative Act.
In 2017, with three years of individual musical growth and a new album in the pipeline, Wara is ready to return to the UK stages with a heavier, part-electronic setup; Wara frontwomen Juanita Euka (Argentinean/Congolese powerhouse, winner of the LUKAS 2016 for the Best Female Vocalist) and Fedzilla (Chilean/German MC, host of the notorious Love Carnival and currently shaking up London's stages) continue to deliver a strong social message. The name 'Wara' comes from the Cuban expression 'guara,' which refers to someone who is very friendly, energetic and talkative, but with an underlying ulterior motive behind the bubbly exterior; whether it's about defending migrant rights and freedom of speech, denouncing misleading media or commenting on stories of inequalities and displacement, Wara stay faithful to their name.
Influenced by the fieriest of contemporary Havana's Timba and Songo ("Cuban salsa") sounds, borrowing their biting horn lines from the times of the mambo and cha-cha-cha, whilst also covering pan-Latin genres such as Reggaetón and Merengue, Wara also have one foot in London's vibrant global underground: from Ragga, Dancehall and Reggae beats picked up off the Afro-Caribbean scene to bass-heavy Hip-Hop and ska. The multicultural vibe that makes London so unique is abundantly present in their sound.
With contagious, in-your-face vocals, inspired keyboard playing and live production, a super tight Latin/UK mix on the rhythm section and their MC quick on the rhymes, Wara's musical energy is palpable. If there was ever a collective sound that could embody the collision of the Latin and UK music scenes as well as the world at present in all its multi-faceted beauty and madness, this is it.
"There are cool, drifting vocals (...) and rapping (...) with lyrics about the realities of immigrant London life. Then they suddenly change the mood and pace mid-song, the brass kicks in, andthey head out for the dancefloor." Robin Denselow, **** The Guardian
"Socially conscious, upbeat and joyous..." Songlines
"They mash Cuban jazz-funk, clubby beats and smart hooks – lead track 'Flesh And Bone' is a Latin-London blast." Single of the week - Metro
"Wara are at the cutting edge... of the musical pulse." Lopa Kothari, BBC Radio 3
"Wara combine music, words, joy, and social awareness in such a way that as you listen to them your feet can't keep still and neither can your brain, and that's got to be a good thing!" Ian Macmillan, The Verb, BBC Radio 3
The band will play two sets between 7 and 9pm