London Latin Jazz Fest

Juanita Euka

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Last Show: Tuesday 11 th October 2022

PizzaExpress Jazz Club (Soho)

With Congolese and Argentinian roots and as the niece of rumba giant Franco, Juanita Euka boasts a unique music palette, fusing her African and Latin heritage to become one of the mainstays in London’s vibrant live music scene. Frontwoman of London Afrobeat Collective, Cubanfusion band Wara and Latin/Afro big band Animanz, Juanita released her debut solo album, Mabanzo (‘Thoughts’), on Strut Records this year to critical acclaim. Juanita grew up in Buenos Aires and moved to London at 14, but has always been in close proximity of Congolese music, Afro-Cuban music and Afro-Peruvian music; all of these cultures are embodied in her music, a rich, sophisticated palette of sounds inspired in the Cuban 50s, the Congolese 60s, and US and Brazilian funk and soul from the 70s- all with a cutting edge, modern and unique London twist. She will be performing with a 10-piece band exclusively for the London Latin Jazz Fest, directed by guitarist and composer Greg Sanders and including the likes of Graeme Flowers on trumpet (Brand New Heavies, Quincy Jones) and Will Fry on percussion (Baaba Maal, Giovanni Hidalgo, Jungle).

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Juanita’s upbringing also involved many different sounds in her household with two musically-minded parents and a legendary uncle, the Congolese rumba legend Franco Luambo Makiadi.

A Congolese native, Juanita moved to Argentina when she was 2 years old and first became involved in the arts whilst growing up in Buenos Aires, infusing the heady mix of sounds from the city and studying dance, drama and performance. 

Leaving Argentina after a year in secondary school, Juanita came to the UK and attended Havering College in Essex, continuing her interest in dance.

In 2016, Juanita was asked to join London Afrobeat Collective after the band had seen her performing at The Forge in Camden at a Cuban jam organised by percussionist Oreste Noda. She has since become a mainstay with the band, touring across Europe and recording with them on their 2019 album, ‘HUMANS’.  The step marked another shift in momentum in her career. In 2017, Juanita won the LUKAS award (Latin UK Awards) for Best Latin Vocalist Of The Year.  

Juanita also began working with open-minded Latin and Afro band Aminanz for live shows and their ‘Exotic Other’ album, released on Tru Thoughts in 2018.  

In 2020, Juanita recorded her first solo track ‘Alma Seca’ which quickly led to a live appearance performing the song in series of 3 of blockbuster series ‘Killing Eve’. Landing a new album deal with Strut Records, Juanita can now bring together all of the pieces of her music outlook, drawing on elements of African and Latin styles, hip hop, soul and jazz to create her own unique musical palette.

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Band Line Up

Juanita Euka (vocals)
Greg Sanders (guitar)
Richie Sweet(drums)
Will Fry (percussion)
Alley Lloyd (bass)
Gareth Buckland (keys)
Ashild Bjorkeng Haugen (backing vocals)
Simone Miller (backing vocals)
Robin Porter (tenor sax)
Graeme Flowers (trumpet)