Totem Taboo’s work is very close to music. Not only for being strongly influenced by musical references and its aesthetics, but for loving recreating creators’ universes on stage, bringing their creation to a visual concept through scenography which is inseparable of any good performance art in this transcendent and cathartic live art birth realm. That provides an entire conceptual world to journey through, and the highest the emotional impact, the highest the imprint in the unconscious. I feel drawn to artists that have managed to express their soul in this whole conceptuality which marries all artistic languages possible around their music in a way we can only get deeply inspired from. Although it’s true that Totem Taboo musical DNA is embedded in all kinds of Black music as a big multibranched tree as I already stated with Funktopia Collection,  it is also true that in regards to this whole artistic conceptuality, Totem Taboo really drinks from spiritual jazz, as a like – minded energy blending spirituality and multicultural awareness through other language of expression, the one of sound. Since the only thing that matched the cosmic intensity of the jazz being made in the 60’s and 70’s, were the aesthetics in form of graphics and fashion that came with.

Spiritual jazz is a style of avant-garde jazz music which emerged in the 1960s. It is closely associated with the musical and spiritual philosophy developed by John Coltrane in the mid-1960s (manifested as early as his seminal A Love Supreme album) which was passed on to his collaborators Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders.

Stylistically, spiritual jazz is marked by a mixture of jazz with approximations of ethnic music styles (often a blend of styles evocative of African, Indian, and East Asian musical traditions), religious music of non-Christian traditions, and the ecstatic, transcendental aspects of free jazz. This radical style was closely linked to various African-American political and spiritual movements, such as the Nation of Islam and Afro-Centrism, the introduction of Zen philosophy and yoga in America, a resurgence of Egyptology, as well as the Civil Rights and Black Power movements.

This deep spiritual path transitioning multicultural and political ideas, experiences and insights translated into art about a conscious universe, not being an exclusive favourite style in the above mentioned tree at all, it does feel like a strong part of the tree’s roots and it does resonate as what would  definitely be Totem Taboo’s essence and purpose soundtrack. I hope you leave feeling uplifted drinking from that legacy too.

by Cristina Morales

Cristina Morales is a London-based Spanish-born cultural activist – a transdisciplinary cultural practitioner with international experience working as researcher, writer, curator, speaker, critical pedagogue and artist at the intersection of art, psychology and politics for self and community development . She holds a Master in Arts & Culture Production from the Open University of Catalonia, and a Bachelor in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Barcelona, Spain. Known for her creative, decolonial and hence holistic approach to activism, Cristina is currently freelancing as project manager for Disability Arts Online (UK). She is the founding curator of Counterspace, and founding artist of Totem Taboo (International). She is an artist-in-residence at Design Science Studio, an incubator for revolutionary art by Buckminster Fuller Institute (San Francisco). And she is a freelance writer on decoloniality, cultural activism, and African/diaspora arts & culture, published by media such as the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London); El Mundo (Madrid); Humanities, Arts & Society (Paris); A Beautiful Resistance (Seattle); Inhabit (Global); Ouvrage (Montreal); and Radio Africa (Barcelona) | moralescristina.com