It isn’t often that you come across a project as special as this one. But what makes it so unique? Well, up-and-coming band Oootoko was created by violinist Damien Chierici and it is formed by nineteen different musicians. Yeah, you’ve heard that right, nineteen! What unites them and makes them a great cohesive group is actually how different they are from each other. Individually, they come from different countries, are used to playing different musical genres, and are from different generations. And that’s probably why the final result is such a mystical, beautiful blend of sounds, melodies, voices, and instruments. Today, Oootoko release their self-titled debut album. And trust me, it’s worth a listen.
Speaking of how it all came to be, Damien Chierici explains: “Oootoko is a truly singular project featuring 19 musicians! The project began when an art festival in Belgium offered me carte blanche to invite some musician friends from all walks of life (pop / folk / jazz / rock and classical) who I'd met on the road. We ended up with 17 musicians for what was to be a one-off concert. The concert went off without a hitch, and representatives of the label Flak Records were in the audience. They suggested that we turn the one-off into a real musical project and record an album: OOOTOKO was born.” Truly remarkable, isn’t it?
But putting the twelve-song album together wasn’t an easy feat. “Producing a project with 19 musicians is not an easy thing to do, if only from an organizational point of view: you have to plan ahead to book the studio, schedule rehearsals and so on. The magic happens when all the musicians get together and simply enjoy playing together, without pre-recorded sounds, the old-fashioned way…” further explains Damien. 
A clear example is lead single Medellin, which the band’s founder defines as “much more than just a song; it's a sensory journey into the vibrant Latin American culture.” Indeed, it draws you in from the first notes and then it just grows into a lively, feel-good track that doesn’t let you stop. “Through "Medellin," one can feel all the nostalgia and passion of South America. It's an invitation to dance, but also reflect; a sensory exploration where the warmth of Latin rhythms blends with the melancholy of memories. A song that captures the very essence of life and music in this region of the world,” Damien says. In addition, the single is accompanied by a music video directed by  Belgian filmmaker Cyril Marbaix.
But as we were saying earlier, composing music for nineteen different musicians isn’t an easy feat. Their diversity is beautifully encapsulated in these twelve songs that make uo Oootoko, the band’s first album. For example, Tatihou Garden goes heavy on the strings, especially the violin, and has a sadder, more melancholic feeling to it. It’s dreamy yet nostalgic, evocative but dramatic. On another hand, Eleanor Na Run is more spiritual, especially because Liam Ó Maonlaí’s voice takes listeners to higher plane. And Arthur’s Walk, the shortest song in the album, feels more explorative and cinematic. 
It’s hard to describe what the band’s debut album makes you feel. All songs craft universes that are rich sonically and instrumentally. They let the imagination wonder to unknown places of our mind, which is what art should be all about. So the best thing you can do is to listen to it for yourself and see where it takes you.