ÌFÉ’s New Single “Bangah (Pico y Palo)” is an Exhilarating War Cry Inspired by Yoruba Deity Ogún

Lead Photo: Photo by Laurence Heinz
Photo by Laurence Heinz
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Afro-Puerto Rican outfit ÌFÉ has been drip-feeding us powerful singles since the release of 2015’s “3 Mujeres (Iború Iboya Ibosheshé)”. Led by Otura Mun, the band fuses electronic production and traditional Afro-rooted Caribbean rhythms, making spiritual music that speaks directly to the soul. Now, a year and change after they captured our attention with their hybrid sound, they’re finally releasing a full-length debut, titled IIII+IIII (pronounced “Edgy-Og-Beh”), expected to drop at the end of this month.

The album’s lead single is “Bangah,” a title which is literally a battle cry for freedom. The track carries a drive and relentlessness similar to Kanye’s “Black Skinhead,” achieving its impact through scarce but effective instrumentation and lyrics full of vivid images of machetes and knives.

“Bangah” is a reflection on the Yoruban “God of War,” Ogun –hinted at by elements like the three nails, the colors black and green, and the number seven. Mun filters this through a whole lot of auto-tune, declaring the band’s musical independence. But this battle is personal, and no blood will be shed, as his banner is the Arabic greeting “As-salāmu ʿalaykum,” a peace greeting. In its last stretch, the song switches to a flavorful rhythm which backs Mun’s chants to the Orisha, praying for spiritual cleansing.

Learn more about ÌFÉ and Otura Mun’s history and journey in this beautifully-shot documentary by VSCO.

IIII+IIII is due out March 31.