As a part of the Afro-Andean Funk duo, Araceli Poma, a Latin Grammy-nominated Peruvian singer and producer — together with bassist, composer and producer Matt Geraghty — often makes music about Indigenous language, culture and shamanism.
Their latest project named “ The Sacred Leaf,” the first release as Afro-Andean Funk, was inspired by the coca leaf, which is sacred to Indigenous Peruvians.
Poma's grandmother was skilled at reading coca leaves for people who wanted to get guidance from the plant — similar to reading one’s fortune in tarot cards.
“‘The Sacred Leaf’ is very important because it is the connection with my grandmother. I think I have the responsibility to spread the culture that my grandmothers gave me,” Poma said.
In the first track, which bears the name of the album, Poma sings in Quechua, in an effort to preserve the native language of her grandmother.
One of the goals of this new album is to unite cultures through music, something at the core of Afro-Andean Funk, which came together in 2021, according to Geraghty.
“What we've done with Afro-Andean Funk is to go deep on Peruvian roots music. The beautiful thing about Araceli’s musical heritage is that she comes from both the Andean culture as well as the Afro Peruvian roots culture,” Geraghty said. “So, we have been bridging the gap between those two worlds within Peru to [create] the music that is, world music, funk, rock, jazz and finding those commonalities through our original compositions.”