"It feels like a summer night at your favorite dance club, heat coming in from outside and from the bodies endlessly moving to the sounds as if in a trance..."
Multi-faceted, Grammy nominated, artist, composer, DJ and producer; these are just some of the ways you might introduce Jahn Lee Aponte. Now, he adds the moniker, TossTones, to his growing repertoire of artistry and identity.
When his debut single ‘Sonoro’ hit all music streaming platforms August 19, we welcomed in a new realm. This is only the seedlings for what TossTones hopes to grow into a massive collaboration with illustrators, animators, writers and designers to flesh out the look and feel of a world in which TossTones can run wild and free as a creative force.
The song is rich in percussive beats and lyrics that poetically weave the origin and foundation upon which TossTones will continue to produce what he calls ‘Afro-Latinx Sci-Fi music.’
The initial burst of sound, feels festive, something a DJ might turn to knowing their audience needs a jolt midway through the night. Whispers come through the first sounds but the first line, “Sonoro, tengo el poder sonoro,” is crooned out with a distinct sound akin to those old school Salsa artists of the 50s, all while maintaining the freshness of an artist hitting their stride in the modern music landscape.
The party mood picks up as TossTones delves further into the verse, delivering lines in a rhythm that has heads bobbing and feet tapping. The fusion and flairs of hip hop, a sprinkle of trap vibes, all masterfully blended with Latin-Caribbean beats carry the story like a heartbeat to the end.
Sonoro is a kaleidoscope of sounds and vibes. It feels like a summer night at your favorite dance club, heat coming in from outside and from the bodies endlessly moving to the sounds as if in a trance. I could really go for a mojito while I dance around my living room to this.
As someone who has deeply appreciated music all my life, I would go as far as to say this track has the makings of a summer smash even well within Autumn–that’s just how good it is. You have to hear this song, once you do you’ll be adding it to your summer playlist, dance playlist, latin playlist, party playlist, all the playlists.
The best part of this drop is that TossTones will continue to drop new music every 8th of the month. The only thing that could be better than this: an entire album.
The song centers TossTones as the main character, the hero, on a mission to create and protect joy and hope for the people of the universe with his god given gift. The power of sound. We spoke over Zoom, the way most people do these days. He sits framed by instruments and sound equipment, looking every bit of the hero in his trademark apparel: an asian conical straw hat.
El Poder Sonoro. The power of sound. TossTones has honed it throughout his entire life. Born into a family of artists in Puerto Rico surrounded by music, art and dance. It was at age six that his journey down the path of percussion began, when his mother put bongos in his hands.
TossTones says his family always encouraged his love of music and supported him in his endeavors. “My parents tell me that as soon as I started walking I was dancing...once I was around 12 (years old) my family said, this kid is all about music.” They told him he should enroll in one of the most prolific music schools on the island, Escuela Libre de Música Ernesto Ramos Antonini.
He later attended the Conservatory of Music Puerto Rico, one of the best music higher education institutes in the Caribbean, but only after having toured professionally as a percussionist based out of London, and all while exploring his abilities in producing and rapping.
He attributes the eclectic variety of musical inspiration to his experiences with friends and colleagues through this time phasing in and out of Punk Rock, Heavy Metal, Hip-Hop, Rap and Jazz while always holding close to his heart his Latin music roots in Salsa, Reggaeton and other indigenous sounds.
TossTones expressed that he’s “always been able to swing between different genres that normally wouldn’t connect.” To him, it’s part of his purpose in life as an artist.
He's had a lot of opportunities to work with big names in music ranging from reggaetoneros, such as Don Omar, Wisin & Yandel and Tego Calderon to Jazz with David Sanchez and some of the biggest Salsa bands in the game, but after some time, he wanted more. He aspired to break out of the background and move into the spotlight that he felt wasn’t big enough, pushing him to make room beside him, instead of behind him, for any and all musicians who would make up his band.
TossTones y La Freetanga are the band of heroes in this story. Think comic book but with more culture.
TossTones can be pronounced Toss Tones, which he says is a spot on descriptor of what a DJ does. Or, like Tostones, which if you hail from Puerto Rico or (really love food) you know to be a delicious fried plantain dish. La Freetanga, his crew’s name, follows in these foodie footsteps, meaning an array of fried dishes, fritanga. It’s spelled Free-tanga because they are exactly that, free flowing creatives with the same aspirations as TossTones.
His name “embodies [Puerto Rican] culture,” and brings more of that identity into his art. “It's my essence, my spirit,” and his favorite food.
Meet the Family
Amanda Del Cid Lugo is a freelance journalist in the greater Los Angeles area who is passionate about highlighting cultures and communities in Los Angeles, especially Southeast L.A. where she grew up and still lives. She is also Producer and Host of Miss.Cellañea, a radio talk show out of Boyle Heights public radio station, KQBH, that features artists, writers, and activists working to educate and improve their communities.