The band Orishas was founded in France in 1999 by the producer Nicolas Nocchi. The name of the band has religious roots. In a certain Cuban religion, orisha is one of many forces of nature. Accordingly, Orishas means several forces. The band was established with an idea to mix Cuban music with hip-hop.
After the band was created, the members worked for one year in Paris to create the first album A Lo Cubano (2000). It was extremely popular. The LP received a platinum certification in Spain (more than 100,000 copies were sold), which none of the hip-hop bands ever managed before. The album was also certified golden in France and Germany.
After the release of the first album, the band went on a long European tour, which lasted almost two years. They performed on many famous world stages, including Olympia in Paris and Royal Festival Hall in London. The band was quickly gaining international recognition. It was getting harder and harder to book Orishas. They almost never performed at private events. After the European tour was over, the band traveled to Cuba, where they became very successful.
In 2002, Orishas recorded a new album Emigrante. A year later, it was nominated for a Grammy as the Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album. The LP received a Latin Grammy as the Best Rap/Hip-Hop Album. After the release, the band went on a tour and visited more than 10 countries. The Times magazine called Orishas one of 10 most important bands beyond USA.