Chicago Roots

ÉSSO is the brainchild of Chicago born songwriter and producer Armando Pérez. He curated an inner city big band of rotating members which definitively unsealed an agile sound propelling them to perform for mutli-cultural concerts and festivals alongside Grammy winning artists. 

The group made a splash by invoking polystylistic enthusiasm from the uncompromising urban streets that birthed House music, as well as undeniably potent movements in hiphop, punk rock, and free jazz. Drawing on these raw influences, the Chicago based band effortlessly merge Chicano and Boricua roots music with Cuban son into a rhythmic sancocho filling dance floors and providing ample evidence of Chicago’s presence as a hotbed of diverse new music in the States. 

Their bilingual lyrics bring gusto to the socio-political conversation while adding context to inspired musical compositions and alluring beats. Swirling guitar, brass horns, spoken word and group singing add to their tropical funk outfit with a fearless focused spirit intact. ÉSSO’s foundational versatility has taken the band on tours across the US and into Mexico behind their critically acclaimed releases of original independent music online and on vinyl. This is the soundtrack of rebel streets remixed for the future by its outspoken immigrant youth.

ÉSSO has performed for notable music festivals including: Redbull Music Xicago Festival, Ruido Fest, Chicago World Music Festival, Taste of Chicago, Clark Street Festival, South By Southwest (SXSW), Festival Cultural de Zacatecas (MX), Do Division, Pilsen Fest, Michelada Fest, Villapalooza and many more street celebrations across the US.

They've shared the stage with: Cafe Tacvba, Natalia Lafourcade, Bomba Estereo, Ozomatli, Los Amigos Invisibles, Kinky, Princess Nokia, as well as Songhoy Blues, La Santa Cecilia, Sonido Gallo Negro, Los Rakas, Chicha Libre, Saul Williams, Jeremy Sole, Jenny & the Mexicats, Gaby Moreno, Alice Russel, Euforquestra, Boogat and more.

Live band members include: Armando Pérez (guitar/vocal), Kevin Miller (saxophone), Dan Lieber (drums/percussion), Ezra Lange (bass), Diana Mosquera (vocals),  Luis Tubens (vocals), Matthew Davis (trombone) and special guests. 

*** Their notable experience and active work in performing for grassroots community organizations and volunteer programs has helped raise awareness and vital funding for important after-school, immigrant justice, humanitarian, and fair housing programs across the US. Members spearhead free all-ages library programs for families, educational music presentations, and workshops focused on cultural recognition in music, poetry and the arts.


Records and T-shirts

"Juntos" 12" Vinyl Record / Digital


A mix of timeless and modern Afro Latin grooves from Chicago's excellent ESSO Stylistically, the sky is the limit, with arrangements that roll from a broad palette of Latin jazz & soul instrumentation to more of a modern dancefloor vibe, and from instrumentals to bilingual vocal tunes.

(Limited edition of just 200 copies!)  

Sonic Octopus Unisex T-shirts


Newly designed T-shirts are available while they last. Soft black cotton blend for comfort and a bit of stretch. "El Sonido Sonic Octopus" logo in front, and back tag on reverse side. Thank you for your support!

Sizes available are: S, M, L, XL, XXL


ESSO Juntos cover art CD

From group singing to soulful lead, to spoken word and hip hop inspired – it's as beautiful and diverse as the city they call home. "Baila", "La Calle", "Cumbia Del Encanto", "Somos Hermanos", "Mi Gente", "Stone Eagle", "Sangre" and ""Piramides". Latin funk music from this Chicago band.


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ESSO at Pride Fest 2018


"With all the kinetic energy, welcoming vibe, booty shaking and joy onstage, ESSO is hardly just a band but a happening." 


"With Juntos, ESSO have created a milestone project for the Midwest alt-Latin and global bass scenes. ESSO’s founder Armando Pérez grew up on the streets of Chicago, soaking in the city’s rich culture of hip-hop, house, jazz and rock. On Juntos, Pérez has masterfully fused those sounds with a kaleidoscopic array of Afro-Latin rhythms, touching on everything from reggaeton to merengue."


"At a time when we've seen consecutive natural disasters pummel places such as Texas, Puerto Rico and Mexico, it's sometimes difficult to see beyond the incredible pain and images of destruction. But just when you think that mother nature's force has become too much to bear, you hear a story about strangers lifting each other or unlikely heroes emerging from the trauma. And it's in these times when songs like "Mi Gente" from Chicago's ESSO remind us that "Solo la gente cuando está unida puede moverse."Only when people are united can they move forward."


"It's appropriate that ESSO is based in the Heartland. The group sounds like love, with pulsing, vital rhythms and a knack for putting together warm sounds from funk, hip-hop, tropical Latin music, Afropop, and cumbia in such a way that they raise each other up high."​ 


"...ESSO works because the group speaks to something burgeoning in contemporary society. They understand the ways in which we consume music: voraciously, eagerly and indiscriminately. More important, they understand why we do so... Esso is more than just the music. Rooted in the lyrical and instrumental content of the ensemble's music is a unifying goal of camaraderie and openness."


"Groove-tastic local band ESSO mix up a swirl of global sounds—their massive musical range covers funky Fela Kuti-style Afrobeat, Hendrix-­flavored psych rock, Latin boogaloo, and more. ...You'll want to put on your dancing shoes every time you hear 'em! The group released a thumping new self-titled LP recorded during the past year or so at Belmont Electric Studios, and it's a nonstop blast of dance-floor power."