Afro-Andean Funk, following their recent nomination for the Latin Grammys 2022, will release their second album ‘Flower on Fire’ on May 30th..
The Peruvian-American duo, formed by vocalist Araceli Poma and bassist/composer Matt Geraghty, breaks cultural barriers creating a powerful and distinct sound that fuses Andean roots music with American funk, rock, electronica and pop; highlighting stories of social struggle, shamanic rituals, the healing power of ayahuasca.
‘Flower on Fire’, has on its cover the Cantuta, a flower from the Peruvian Andes, symbolic of the resilience of millions of indigenous women committed to preserving their cultural identity, their traditions and their native languages.
The album begins with a song titled, ‘Kukama’, sung by Poma, composed by Geraghty and featuring the voice of indigenous community leader Semira from the Amazon singing in the language ‘Kukama’ — an endangered Amazonian native language, spoken by only 1500 Kukama-speakers in the world.
Poma also sings in Quechua on the album – another endangered language she learned from her Grandmother from the indigenous Andean communities of South America.
“Our new music is deeply connected to my story and experience of moving to NYC from Peru to pursue my dreams in music as well. Moving to NYC and starting my life here has been full of challenges. Yet, I am inspired by all of the many indigenous women that I’ve met here in NYC who through their resilience are preserving our cultural identity and traditions.”
While directly inspired by the stories within Poma’s own culture and traditions, Afro-Andean Funk reflects the diversity of New York City’s international music scene too. Between American bassist Geraghty and Poma, ‘Flower on Fire’ unites funk, electronica, rock and world music with the sensibility of music from Peru for a completely unique sound.
“This new music we composed is a blend of modern musical styles with heart-felt deep lyricism, memorable melodies, funky grooves and rich harmonies,” comments bassist, composer and producer, Matt Geraghty.
Afro-Andean Funk’s second album, ‘Flower on Fire’, features 11 original compositions addressing themes of bullying, personal healing and social justice.
“The world needs to know about the injustices against our people in Peru and South America that have taken place for years specifically against minority indigenous communities. I will not stay silent about the atrocities against them, and through our song ‘Somos LatinoAmerica’ we wanted to show unity with them in their fight for justice and equality,” says Poma.
Featured guest artists include Vox Sambou and Manno Beats from Haiti and Grammy Award Winning Accordion player Gil Goldstein.
Afro-Andean Funk will be performing their Album release event at Lincoln Center July 9th.
‘Flower on Fire’ was made possible thanks to the grant received by the Chamber Music America Artistic Projects Program, financed by the Howard Gilman Foundation.
LATIN GRAMMY NOMINATED PRODUCER | BASSIST | COMPOSER
Matt Geraghty is a 2X Latin Grammy Nominated multi-instrumentalist and music producer best known for his cross cultural and inclusive music collaborations across New York City, Chicago, Europe and Latin America. Matt has produced and recorded 8 of his own albums and 5 traveling music documentaries.
Matt founded JUST PLAY in 2013, a music and documentary project developed from travels and improvised sessions with musicians from New York, New Orleans, Havana, San Juan and Peru. Matt created the project to increase the visibility of artists across the African Diaspora in the Americas. JUST PLAY, now with more than 300 artists, has brought artists together in first-ever historical collaborations.
Matt studied piano rigorously for 8 years and the trumpet with respected music teacher and father of guitarist RandyRhoads. Sports eventually took precedence and his music was left aside. At the age of 17, a paintball accident left him completely blind in the right eye and this marked his true beginning of rediscovering music as a way to heal and move forward.
Starting in 1992, Matt studied with virtuoso bassist Brian Torff, head of jazz studies at Fairfield
University who worked with masters like Frank Sinatra, Stéphane Grapelli and George Shearing. As the lead bassist in the jazz ensemble, in 1996 Matt was awarded the Jazz performance and composition award by Torff.
In 1994, Matt lived and performed in Europe for a year where he discovered the music of Andalucia and North Africa. These musical styles greatly impacted him and influenced his love of music from other cultures.
Soon after he settled in Chicago in 1998, where he studied with notable jazz bassists such as
Kelly Sill and Rob Amster. Matt spent nights learning and playing jazz in the legendary “The
Green Mill”, “Velvet Lounge” and “Andy’s Jazz Club” and studying classical music with Greg Sarchet of the Lyric Opera. He began focusing on writing his own music and in early 2000 he released Two For The Road (2002), Mozaic (2004) and Passport (2006), the latter with Grammy winners such as Paul Wertico of the Pat Metheny group, and harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy.
Grammy winning pianist, accordionist and jazz arranger, Gil Goldstein, guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg, Russian pianist Misha Tsiganov, Armenian oud player Ara Dinkjian and Grammy-winning American drummer Mark Walker.
In 2012, Matt reached a critical creative turning point. Performing nightly in Manhattan and bringing his music to countries like Japan, Colombia, Brazil and Portugal, Matt observed that there were very few projects that allowed for inclusive cross-cultural collaboration.
That’s when Matt created 21, a project that brought together 43 artists from 20 countries, making a series of music videos where musicians created spontaneous compositions. Released every day for twenty-one days, the 21 project united a who’s who including Prasanna from India, Farah Siraj from Jordan, Yami from Portugal and world renowned percussionist Mino Cinelu
Under that same concept, in 2014-2015, Geraghty brought the project with producer and saxophonist Zé Luis and filmmaker Laura Newman to New Orleans, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Havana. This phase of the project culminated in Trade Winds Cuba, an album and documentary featuring more than 100 emblematic artists from Havana filmed in different collaborations for 21 days straight.
In 2018, JUST PLAY continued to create global collaborative musical projects in Peru called “THE WARRIOR WOMEN OF AFRO-PERUVIAN MUSIC,” a documentary uniting the voices and talents of women artists on the Afro-Peruvian scene, filmed by Daniel Thissen and produced by Matt Geraghty and Araceli Poma. This coincided with an album under the same name produced by Javier Lazo, Matt Geraghty and Zé Luis.
“THE WARRIOR WOMEN OF AFRO-PERUVIAN MUSIC” was a landmark recording as one of
the first all women Afro-Peruvian projects uniting female voices as a challenge to racism, sexism and marginalization in Peruvian society.
The accompanying music documentary would go on to get nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2020 in Best Long Form Music Video category and inspire the next project in Puerto Rico with a focus also on women artists.
“When I look at how artists are reinventing themselves this past year (2020) in light of so many challenges, there’s probably no more inspiring example to me than the women artists from Puerto Rico. We wanted to produce a documentary that would spotlight their drive, creativity and determination. Our new work “GUERRERAS PUERTORRIQUEÑAS” focuses on traditional roots music while providing a space for emerging talent on the scene. This continues our mission to create a platform for voices and greater visibility for artists in the Americas.” says producer Matt Geraghty.
Filmed in Puerto Rico in 2020 and 2021, “GUERRERAS PUERTORRIQUEÑAS” features
artists like Tanícha López, Dalí Marie and Nellie Lebrón capturing their music, stories and spirit of resilience in the face of natural disasters, political upheaval and a pandemic.
In late 2021, Matt launched a new band born from the JUST PLAY series called
AFRO-ANDEAN FUNK featuring singer Araceli Poma from Lima Peru who was featured on the Peru album and documentary. AFRO-ANDEAN FUNK merges the music, stories and traditions of Afro-Peruvian, Andean, Jazz, Funk and World Music. Their debut album ‘The Sacred Leaf’ with all original compositions was launched in Spring of 2022 and nominated for a Latin Grammy in Best Alternative Music Album category, competing with Rosalia and Bomba Estereo.
In the Spring of 2023, AFRO-ANDEAN FUNK launches their follow-up album ‘Flower on Fire’ recorded at Power Station Studios in NYC.
Matt is currently also working on the next Just Play music documentary featuring the music and stories of leading women artists in Salvador, Bahia Brazil. Release date is scheduled early 2024.
For more info follow Matt and his projects on Instagram at