Connect with us
Debut Album: Afro-Andean Funk, The Sacred Leaf

Bass CDs

Debut Album: Afro-Andean Funk, The Sacred Leaf

The Sacred Leaf Traces Shamanism, Indigenous Peruvian Culture, & Human Rights alongside the powerful, healing Coca Leaf…

The coca leaf is a sacred plant of the Andes with many healing powers revered for thousands of years in Andean culture. Often chewed while doing agricultural activities, the coca leaf has an important role in rituals where shamans make sacred requests to the leaf.

NEW YORK, NY – Latin Grammy® nominated Peruvian singer and producer Araceli Poma and bassist, composer, producer Matt Geraghty have just released (May 31, 2022) their debut album, The Sacred Leaf featuring their new band Afro-Andean FunkPoma and Geraghty were nominated for a Latin Grammy® in 2020 in the best Long Form Music Video category. 

Araceli Poma met Geraghty in a recording studio in Lima, Peru in 2019 while she was invited to be part of a documentary and album called ‘The Warrior Women of Afro-Peruvian Music.’Geraghty brought this music travel series to Peru to highlight emerging artists and discover hidden cultural treasures in the Americas. With a focus on Afro-Peruvian women artists, Geraghty and team invited nine distinguished singers and percussionists to be part of this historic all women recording and documentary. 

This serendipitous encounter between Geraghty and Poma would start a creative partnership leading to teaming up on a documentary in Puerto Rico and beginning to write new music together.

From that moment on, the two began to join forces to break cultural barriers and after two years of collaborating together and receiving a Latin Grammy® Nomination, a new band was born: Afro-Andean Funk, which made its debut in New York City in 2021.

Poma’s unique talent as a singer is equally matched by her talent as a producer. This is exemplified by Poma’s relentless work to bring Peruvian music to the world, documenting the legacies of the masters and creating platforms for women artists to share their stories and their struggles against racism and marginalization. 

Poma now takes a creative leap forward with Afro-Andean Funk and the result is a fresh new sound, blending roots music of the Andes and the Afro-Peruvian scene with electronica, funk and rock, alongside West African grooves.

“I am proud of my roots and I want Peruvian music to reach the whole world with our new sound,” exclaims Poma. “We are inspired as much by artists such as Susana Baca, Victoria Santa Cruz, David Byrne and Caetano Veloso as well as by Thom Yorke, Empire of the Sun, Herbie Hancock and James Brown.” 

“We don’t see any limits stylistically to our music so I think The Sacred Leaf is a reflection of that,” comments Geraghty.

Afro-Andean Funk’s first release, The Sacred Leaf, presents 9 original songs with Araceli Poma singing in Spanish as well as in the ancient Incan language known as Quechua–thus paying homage to her Andean and Afro-Peruvian roots. 

Poma continues her work of bringing visibility to the painful stories of women in the Americas with the first single track “Luchadora del Ande” (Woman Fighter of the Andes). Poma composed this piece to specifically give a powerful voice to thousands of indigenous women who were victims of the Peruvian government between 1996 and 2001, when mass sterilizations were carried out against their will!

“We wrote ‘Luchadora del Ande’ inspired by these women who have been fighting for justice for years,” says the singer. “This song features ‘spoken word’ by one of the victims, Victoria Vigo, who speaks to the solidarity with other survivors and raises the voices of these women to let the world know they will not remain silent.”

The nine original tracks on The Sacred Leaf, composed by Geraghty and Poma, reflect the duo’s deep love for music from a variety of styles and places. Their music expressively mingles a broad spectrum of traditional and modern musical styles such as Afro-pop, Huayno (a popular form of Andean music and dance), electronica, drum and bass, funk, Cumbia (a folkloric music and dance that originated in Colombia) as well as hard rock. Lyrics on the album span across different languages like Spanish, Quechua, Haitian-Creole and English as well. 

Best known for his cross-cultural and inclusive music collaborations, Geraghty has woven these many styles alongside Poma’s lyrical approach cohesively in the nine eclectic compositions. The songs are driven by his prominent melodic electric bass playing along with his own supporting background vocals on several tracks. 

“I admire the stories, music and cultures of all the many artists I have been fortunate to work with. We also know that music has the power to spotlight issues that need more attention – especially relating to marginalized peoples and cultures. That is why we have several compositions featuring Quechua in our music. It’s a language that is disappearing and it’s important to preserve these traditions,” says the Latin Grammy®-Nominated producer. 

The second single from the album, ‘Agua del Olvido’ (Water to Forget), brings to life the ancestral stories of the jungle and the shamanic rituals that take place during Ayahuasca sessions in the Peruvian Amazon. And, the title track, ‘The Sacred Leaf’ pays tribute to healing powers of the coca leaf. That track also features the star Haitian singer and producer, Mannobeats

“In addition, we worked closely with the well-known electronica artist Grod from Argentina in the development of key ambient sounds and electric beats as well as the incorporation of live percussion instruments from my Afro-Peruvian traditions such as the checho, the cajita, the donkey jaw bone and the Peruvian cajon,” says Araceli. “You’ll also hear the Andean stringed instrument known as the charango on several tracks. It has an important role on songs like ‘Luchadora del Ande,’ ‘Me Permito’ and ‘Tanto Tanto.’ 

The sum total of Afro-Andean Funk’s album is a music that is not only deeply reflective of its roots and history, but is a music that finds unity through a diversity of sounds, languages and stories — a catalyst for demystifying cultural differences and building bridges between musical communities. 

The album was produced by bassist Matt Geraghty. All compositions were written by Matt Geraghty and Araceli Poma. Electronica arrangements are by Grod. 

Visit online at

More in Bass CDs



To Top