Some folks like to pick one discipline or project and focus on it. Martin Perna is not one of these folks. Perna is known for playing baritone sax in Brooklyn's Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, and as a session player with myriad indie bands -- not to mention his superadobe architecture, his visual art and his children's book. It's Ocote Soul Sounds, though, that brings Perna to Pittsburgh this week.
Ocote is Perna's band with Adrian Quesada, of Austin's Grupo Fantasma, and, as such, combines the Afrobeat of Antibalas with the Latin groove of Grupo. Perna and Quesada are the main players; others fill the orchestra on a rotating basis. Ocote's third record, Coconut Rock, was released this past summer. Tracks range from the Fela Kuti-reminiscent "Revolt of the Cockroach People" to more soothing, breezy Latin sounds. (Brazil's Tita Lima lends vocals on one track.)
Perna's politics are never far from the surface in his work -- his children's book, BLACKOUT!, highlights the positive cooperation that occurred during the New York City blackout of 2003, casting sly aspersion on the roles of technology and government in communities. It's true in Ocote Soul Sounds as well; song titles like "Justicia" and "A Prayer for Gaza" color the band's back catalog.
The politics of dancing, though, will likely be primary when Ocote brings the international fusion to Thunderbird Café on Tue., Oct. 20 (a show presented by CP contributor Manny Theiner). The band's funk backbeat makes movement seductive, regardless of your take on contested lands.
Ocote Soul Sounds with Cha & Latino Moods. 9 p.m. Tue., Oct 20. Thunderbird Café, 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $10 ($12 door). 412-682-0177 or www.thunderbirdcafe.net