Live Concert Photography: Alea at City Winery Loft 8/28/21
Released last month, the Colombian-born, New York-based artist’s latest album Alborotá features a title that’s deeply personal to her: Alborotado(a) translates directly to rowdy, riotous, loud, disorderly; and in most of Latin America it means being too much, too different, too sexual. Alea elaborates, “I was called an alborotada growing up by my family and friends because I was extremely driven by creativity and imagination,” the Colombian-born, New York-based artist explains. “I fought hard to keep true to this nature, but this judgment took a toll on me as a I got older, and I started to believe that I was the problem. My body was the problem, my womanhood was the problem.” She adds, “I decided it was time to redefine this word, to give it a new meaning in my life and use it as a flag that represented being free, different, independent, outspoken, equal, feminist. I named the album Alborotá because it defines who I am now and what I wish to share with others, this inner fire of strength and overcoming difficulties that liberates you and celebrates you in every way.”
The new album sees Alea further establishing her unique sound and approach with the album’s 10 very diverse songs are rooted in female and Latinx empowerment while featuring material that blends elements of cumbia, porro, corrulao and huapango with pop, Afro Colombian and Latin groove. “I decided that I couldn’t let other people and the environment dictate my freedom, who I chose to love and how I decided to speak about my truths,” Alea says in press notes. “My music became a reflection of that. To be bold, fierce and unapologetic.”
Alea continues, “I wanted to write an album that spoke about my roots as a Colombian Afro-indigenous woman. So this was also an exploration of identity, one that I wasn’t close with until I moved far away and somehow labels became a permanent part of who I was. I had to honor these roots because it felt like a calling. Many dreams of spiritual encounters and re-signifying the pain of being a Latin American woman taught to be silent. With this album we explored realms of music from cumbia to currulao, from a huapango to a vallenato, from folkloric rap to ranchera music; we were bold and authentic. I’m really proud of this work. It was not an easy road, but we did it!”
The Sinuhé Padilla Isunza co-produced album was recorded at Jarana Records. Drawing from Isunza’s background of Mexican, Brazilian and Flamenco music, the tone of the album was set with an organic and authentic vibe created with only acoustic instrumentation through a highly acclaimed collection of collaborators including Latin Grammy Award winners Felipe Fournier, Luisa Bastidas and Flor de Toloache‘s Jackie Coleman, as well as Latin Grammy Award nominee Sonia De Los Santos. “Among them we also featured world class artists like Renee Goust, Elena Moon Park, Jaime Ospina, Miche Molina, George Sáenz, Juan Ruiz and Kika Parra, Alea adds. “Our rhythm, our lock and groove was set by the incredible Franco Pinna on drums. We also had the help and ears of friends like Kamilo Kratc, Nacho Molina and Luis F. Herrera, who listened to mixes and gave us feedback. All arrangements were written by Sinuhé Padilla-Isunza and myself. The entire album was mastered by Grammy winner, Luis F. Herrera.”
Over the past couple of years, Alea has released singles and videos from the album including “Échale Sal,” which was hailed as one of NPR Alt.Latino‘s favorite songs of last year, and the album’s latest single, the defiant feminist anthem “No Me Apaga Nadie.” Last week, Alea played an album release show with a talented backing band at City Winery’s Loft. Check out photos below.