Battle of Santiago – La Migra

La Migra
Title: La Migra

Artist: Battle of Santiago

Label: Made With Pencil Crayons

Formats: CD, MP3

Release Date: April 28, 2017


Battle of Santiago blends together Afro-Cuban and Canadian influences rooted in jazz and electronic music to create their atmospheric sound. Recorded in a private Canadian studio, the band titled their album La Migra, translated as “deportation police,” not based on the current political climate, but rather on their own experiences and challenges migrating to Toronto. The sentiment extends to the related struggles in the United States all the same. La Migra is the third full-length album release on their own independent label following Full Colour (2012) and Followed by Thousands (2013) since Battle of Santiago formed in 2011.

La Migra opens with “Aguanileo,” a dedication to the deity of warriors named Oggun in a seven-minute jam that builds and falls with creative technical sound manipulation. “Rumba Libre” follows the introduction with a percussive meditation detailed with saxophone riffs. Each track vamps with consistently complex rhythms and instrumental variety, creating an album teeming with intensity. The energy exhibited throughout the music of La Migra is cumulative, drawing listeners into a deeply focused state of mind.

Particularly with “Barasu-Ayo” parts one and two, Battle of Santiago’s utilization of choral and solo Yoruba chants weave together with sustained electric guitar chords, Afro-Cuban rhythms, and carefully crafted electronic tones to produce a peculiar and entrancing listening experience. Whether witnessing La Migra performed live on stage or listening to it through headphones with eyes closed, it is interesting to imagine the varying experiential states of mind that could be induced by this pulsating music.


Reviewed by Jennie Williams

The Battle of Santiago – Followed by Thousands


Title: Followed by Thousands

Artist: The Battle of Santiago

Label: Made With Pencil Crayons

Formats: CD, MP3

Release date: March 5, 2013



Followed By Thousands, the latest release from the Toronto-based band The Battle of Santiago, marks a step forward in the consolidation of this band’s multicultural sound. Grounded in jazz, electronic and Afro-Caribbean musical traditions, as well as in contemporary approaches towards interactive multimedia art and theater, The Battle of Santiago honors the polemic events that occurred during the soccer World Cup of 1962 in Chile, where in a match full of violence and body contact that came to be known by that name, Chile beat Italy two to zero. Founded by bassist Michael Owens, this band also includes three Latin percussionists, a saxophonist/flutist, and a guitarist/sound manipulator in a musical set-up that they define as Afro-Cuban-Post-Rock.

This new album is more charged towards the rave side of music than towards the more electro-Latin-jazz ideas that were included in their first album Full Colour, therefore making it more suitable for a party environment, where dancing would be the more reasonable reaction to this music. Followed By Thousands is a balanced blend of atmospheric sounds, jazz solos and harmonies, Latin percussion beats and improvisations, and electronic backgrounds and sounds, all of which provide a steady backing groove that will make you tap your foot.  On the group’s website you can listen to a full version of the album, as well as to their previous releases!

Reviewed by Juan Sebastián Rojas E.