Peppe Citarella is an Italian based producer of Mexican descent. You probably know him through "Mamafrica," a song he created with a singer named India which was a huge billboard success a few years back. He is now showing his talents again, this time with his new partner in crime, Cristians Afrotronic of Lima, Peru. Together they created a song called "Moyubba," an afro house ballad inspired by the Yoruba religion. The Moyubba EP further features Miami duo Wolf Story on the remix and is released on New York imprint Nervous records.
We reached out to Peppe Citarella to learn more about how he met Cristians on the other end of the world. We also had Afrotronic tells us about his daily life in Lima and how he is representing the Roland brand in South America.
The interviews have been edited for clarity.
How is life like in your city of Aversa in Italy?
Peppe Citarella: Aversa is the city where I was born, a few minutes from Naples. I love my city and my people, they all know me, [and] I have many friends. Once a month I perform in a club named Maggazini Fermi, [it's] very underground, [and] I really like this place. I [have] known the owners for many years and I love the vibe that translates on the dance floor ...
How much did your Mexican mother influenced you in your musical taste?
PC: My grandmother was Mexican, I think that in the family I am the one who inherited something strong from her. I love the Spanish language, it was not difficult for me to learn it. I was always attracted by Latin America and its sound, so many of my productions have the true flavor of Latin music, like "Quimbara", "Celia Y Tito" and many others ….
Tell us about Cristians Afrotronic how did you guys meet?
PC: Cristians and I met via social media a few years ago, he knew my music but I did not know his yet. One day I saw some of his videos when he played the percussions in a very particular way. He uses rare Afro instruments of the "Yoruba" relation. It's the sound that I love in my songs. I contacted him and asked him if he would like to work with me. Cristians replied - "I Was Waiting for it!"
How did you make that track "Moyubba?"
PC: I usually create a track and then ask my musicians how they should play it for me. In this case it was different, me and Cristians share this passion for "Yoruba", the songs we make are prayers addressed to the saints of this religion. Cristians already knows what I want, I show him the track and he manages to express himself with stunning skills! We talk a little bit about it and how it should sound. I liked that from the first moment we have the same musical taste. It's Fantastic! "Moyubba" is a song addressed to Orixa.
Where that "Moyubba" idea comes from?
Cristians Afrotronic: Moyubba is the initiation prayer made by a Santero to communicate with the Orixa. It's a kind of permission and greeting. With Peppe, we decided to give this experience to the world with a spiritual greeting and blessing.
How often do you play percussions?
CA: The music came from when I was very young. My family and the place where I was born and grew up, we live with a lot of drums every day. My life is to make rhythms all the time, with the mouth, with the body, and with the percussions. It is a way to express myself to the world.
Do you have a special relationship with the Roland brand?
CA: I represent Roland in my country and work on the samples for all the development in their products including classical percussion. I recorded the "caissons peruvian" (musical instrument), the "cales" (Peruvian instrument) with them, and these instruments have been used in "Moyubba" with a rhythm called "Cha Cha lokafu", a rhythm used in the religious ceremonies of Santeria Yoruba.
Do people still talk to you about Mamafrica?
PC: Yes, "Mamafrica" is one of the songs people always talk to me about. That song gave me so much visibility as a producer around the world, thanks also to the collaboration with the singer India. The Citarella Dub Piano Mix is the mix that all the fans remember the most!
Any new projects in the making?
PC: Yes, I just finished a remix that I will be out on King Street sounds.
It is a song made by Blaze with vocals by Joi Carduwell called "Be Yourself". Now I'm focusing on my next tracks that will be out on my label Union Records. One of my next tracks will be "Yuma," a song done with Cristians Afrotronic. It will have more of an afro sound. I have others that will be out for the WMC in March in Miami as well.
Moyubba is out on Nervous records. Get the project via Beatport.