"Familia" is ¡Chiringa!'s debut album which rides on the success of their interpretations of popular Latin covers by producing original songs with diverse danceable grooves, including salsa, cumbia, reggaetón, bachata, cha cha cha, tango, samba, calypso, funk and more! All songs were written by Shireen Amini except for the featured cover, "El Cuarto de Tula" best known as performed by the Buena Vista Social Club and written by Sergio Eugelio Gonzalez Siaba. The album is a mix of songs in English and in Spanish, expressing the bilingual nature of the band and a variety of themes from festive to empowering, emotional to downright silly. "Familia" will take you on a journey that never rests too long in one place but will keep you engaged, happy, and dancing. Shireen is strongly influenced by some of her favorite Latin artists, including Juanes, Juan Luis Guerra, Gloria Estefan, Ozomatli, the Gipsy Kings and Santana. You can hear the fusion sounds of these artists come through on this album, blending tropical elements with popular American styles. Shireen is also deeply committed to making music that has a positive influence on the planet, inspiring joy and unity, and also advocating for people to be themselves and stand for higher values during an era when such extreme and divisive discourse is happening in the United States. The track "When You Wake" was born of a 'medicine melody' that Shireen received while connecting with nature that speaks in a raw and free manner about coming into your authentic expression in the face of cultural ills. This track in particular has influence from one of Shireen's favorite bands, Nahko and Medicine for the People, and features Central Oregon's hip hop master, Mosley Wotta. The track "Los Bellos" was written in response to the Orlando shooting on June 12, 2016, a tragedy that struck Shireen very close to home and to which she aimed to respond with invigoration to love even more in the face of a hateful act. And "Sheila E." was written on the waves of inspiration after Shireen got to open for, meet, and watch Sheila E. perform in February 2016 at the Tower Theater in Bend, Oregon. Her mind was blown. She saw that Sheila E. had paved the way for female artists like herself and wanted to pay homage by singing out 'I-I-I-I-I-I-I wannabe, wannabe, wannabe Sheila E., Sheila E.'
The takeaway? Let's not forget the roots of where we came from, let's celebrate life and free ourselves of unnecessary burdens, and let's all get down together like one big familia. Enjoy!