Tag: Latin music

New Video: Brussels’ Romina Palmeri Releases a Gorgeous Bachata Ballad

Romina Palmeri is a Brussels-born and-based, Italian-Belgian singer/songwriter and dancer, who can trace the origins of her music career to her childhood: growing up in a family of musicians and performers, Palmeri was surrounded by the music and rhythms of the Mediterranean and of her Italian heritage. At a very young age, the Italian-Belgian artist trained in classical dance and hip-hop and began singing.

After studying sports and animation in high school, Palmeri’s love of the stage and of performing led her to the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, where she earned a Master’s Degree in theater and speech. Upon graduation, she landed several roles as an actor including Solange in Lucy Mattot’s A coups de ciseaux de couture, a montage of Jean Genet’s Les Bonnes. Since 2016, the Brussels-born and-based artist has landed roles in Festival Bruxellons! productions of musicals like Evita, Sunset Boulevard and My Fair Lady. Palmeri has also played Studio 100’s and Ketnet’s Mega Mindy.

In late 2019, the Italian-Belgian artist played Yvette in Bertolt Brecht’s Mére Courage et set enfants, directed by Christine Delmotte. She then joined the cast of the musical Notre Dame de Paris, playing the roles of Esmeralda and Fluer-de-Lys. And since last year, she has has been the understudy for the roles of Maria, Elvira and Isabel for he musical, Don Juan.

Despite what seems like an already busy schedule, Palmeri has managed a music career: she has contributed backing vocals to several albums by Francesco Palmeri and Frédéric François‘ 2013 effort Amor Latino. She is currently working and recording her own original material, as well as covers in French, Spanish, Italian and English.

Earlier this year, Palmeri released a gorgeous cover of Selena’s “Dame un beso.” Building upon the momentum of that cover, the Italian-Belgian’s latest single is an original track, “Dulce Miel,” written in the traditional bachata ballad style. Centered around shimmering acoustic guitars and bachata rhythms, “Dulce Miel” is roomy enough for Palmeri’s gorgeous and expressive pop star-like vocals. As a native Queens boy, the song brought back memories of hearing bachata out of the windows of local house parties — but as Palmeri explains, the song is a passionate love song with a very simple message: love always wins.

Directed by Georges Vanev, the recently released and sensual video for “Dulce Miel” stars Palmeri and Julio César Gutarra as a beautiful, young couple, who are madly in love.

New Video: Alea Releases a Buoyant and Defiant Feminist Anthem

Alea is a rising, La Guajira, Colombia-born and New York-based singer/songwriter, composer and musician. She attended La Colegiatura Colombiana and later Berklee College of Music.

The Colombian-born, New York-based artist’s latest album, Alborotá was released earlier this month. The album’s title is deeply personal to Alea. Alborotado(a) translates directly to rowdy, riotous, loud, disorderly; and in most of Latin America, it means being too much, too different, too sexual.

The album title Alborotá is deeply personal to Alea. 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, out spoken, 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.”

Alborotá further establishes the Colombian-born artist’s unique sound and approach with the album’s 10 diverse songs that break the traditional Latin music mold while being deeply inspired by it: rooted in female and Latinx empowerment, the album’s material blends Latin folklore inspired by 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!”

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 two years, the Colombian-born, New York-based artist has been releasing singles and videos from the album, including “Échale Sal,” which was hailed as one of NPR Alt.Latino’s favorite songs of last year. Alboratá’s latest single “No Me Apaga Nadie” is a bold and defiant feminist anthem centered around a gorgeous arrangement featuring Latin and Afro-inspired percussion, strummed flamenco-styled guitar and a regal, mariachi-like horn line. And over that arrangement, Alea leads a defiant call and response vocal section. “The title refers to the fire within, the fire that you are,” Alea explains. “Not permitting anyone dim you down. It’s a call to be rebellious and free in a society where you have to claw your way in to be part of the conversation.”

streets of New York — specifically Uptown and the Lower East Side — with her homegirls. As a native New Yorker, I found the fact that she could literally dance along Delancey Street past Allen Street without anyone caring or particularly noticing anything both hilarious and very much a New York thing. But she’s also boldly taking up space with an infectious joie de vivre. We also see moments of friendship and deep affection between women, as we also follow the Colombian-born, New York-based artist help a friend hurriedly move.

New Video: Combo Chimbita Release a Gorgeous Visual for Meditative “Todos Santos”

Acclaimed Latinx group Combo Chimbita — — Carolina Oliveros (vocals), Prince of Queens (synths, bass), Niño Lento (guitar) and Dilemastronauta — features members of New York-based Colombian folk collective Bulla en el Barrio and is a sort of related side project. Interestingly, the members of Combo Chimbita can trace the origins of their genre-mashing sound, which feature elements of cumbia, electro pop and Afro-futurism, to their experiments with different traditional music styles during their late night residencies at Park Slope, Brooklyn-based club Barbes. Most of that experimentation included explorations between visual identity and improvisational long-form trips that would eventually lead to their self-recorded, 2016 full-length debut El Corridor del Jaguar.

Unsurprisingly, the members of Combo Chimbita have cited Sun Ra’s Afro-futurism as a deep influence on their work and overall aesthetic — with the New York-based Latinx group crafting their own take, one, which they’ve dubbed Tropical Futurism. “The idea that the future doesn’t necessarily have to be this super white Western high-tech Star Wars stuff; that the indigenous ideas and culture of people of color, people of Latin America, can also represent a magical and substantial future,” Combo Chimbita explain. “It’s a vision that maybe a lot of people don’t necessarily think about often. The old and deep knowledge that indigenous people have of the land has been neglected for many years as part of capitalism and colonization.”

2016’s Lily Wen-produced sophomore album Abya Yala found the band further establishing their Afro-futurism-inspired take on cumbia and other traditional Colombian folk styles. Shortly after the release of Abya Yala, the members of Combo Chimbita began to receive attention locally and elsewhere for their live show, led by Oliveros’ powerhouse vocals and commanding stage presence. Eventually, the acclaimed Latinx group caught the attention of ANTI- Records, who signed the band to the label and released their third album 2019’s Ahomale.

Much like countless others, the pandemic wound up putting the act’s plans on an indefinite pause — but they used the time to write a batch of singles, including their latest, the slow-burning “Todos Santos.” Featuring atmospheric synths, skittering beats, a sinuous bass line, hypnotic four-on-the-floor-like drumming, expressive guitars, Afro-Colombian percussion and Oliveros’ yearning vocals, “Todos Santos” finds the act continuing to effortlessly and seamlessly mesh the ancient with the hyper contemporary.

e Mother of all Orishas in Yoruban tradition — and guardian of the ocean, representing home, creation and love. “Todos Santos gave us an opportunity to situate our instruments in such a special place, out in the open near the ocean, with no people around, just listening to the wind and watching the birds,” the band’s Prince of Queens recalls. ““It generated a peaceful & tranquil energy, which reflects our capacity to heal and to forgive, something we often lose sight of through the hustle of day-to-day life.” Dilemastronauta adds “The track’s hypnotic drumming was done in collaboration with Grammy-nominated percussionist Philbert Armenteros, a Cuban-born Babalawo and dear friend to Combo Chimbita who helped us perform this special homage to Yemaya.”

Directed by Iván Vernaza, the recently released video for “Todos Santos,” is the second of a series of visuals accompanying news Combo Chimbita material that follows the journey of Colombian sisters in a non-linear storyline that began with
“Mujer Jaguar” The videos were filmed and produced in Cali, Colombia at the beginning of a national uprising that has seen the government respond with violent repression against its citizens. “Mujer Jaguar” followed a young woman, whose fiery presence was connected to the current resistance across Abya Yala. “Todos Santos” is a gorgeously shot, nostalgia-fueled fever dream centered around an interconnected community of women, who guide and love the video’s roaring and passionate protagonist.

e surrounding mountains, we knew this song would be healing, purifying, and hopeful. Those maternal characteristics are something we wanted to evoke through the single and its video, recognizing that the young girl who roared in ‘Mujer Jaguar,’ had a process of learning and unlearning, of guidance and autonomy, which she uses to confront life,” Carolina Oliveros explains in press notes.

New Video: Maria Isabel Releases a Sultry Banger

Maria Isabel is a rapidly rising New York-born and-based Dominican-American singer/songwriter and R&B artist. The New York-born and-based artist quickly exploded into the national scene with the release of last year’s EP Stuck in The Sky, which revealed an artist who while being influenced by Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Selena and Shakira could writer material that thematically touched upon mental health, her family history, her Dominican heritage and her romantic relationships with an unvarnished honesty and vulnerability — in both Spanish and English.

busy year: She released the “Buy Your Own Flowers”/”Love song” single earlier this year, which led to her performing in a COLORS session last month — and to her signing to Warner Records. Maria Isabel’s major level debut “No So Para Ti,” features a reggaeton inspired take on R&B centered around skittering tweeter and woofer rattling trap beats and glistening synth arpeggios. The song’s production serves as a silky and lush bed for the rising Dominican-American artist’s sultry vocals singing lyrics in Spanish.

While being a summery, club banger, the song is a bold feminist anthem with a wisdom and self-assuredness beyond her relative youth: The song’s narrator comes to the powerful conclusion that that loving and appreciating herself is much more important — and a much stronger love — than what she might find with most people.

Directed by Alfred Marroquin, the recently released video is a a sort of feverish yet intimate behind-the-scenes peak of the young artist’s life that sees her returning to her home and bedroom, talking to and hanging out with her girlfriends and coming to the realization that she doesn’t have to give a fuck about anything that doesn’t serve her in the way she needs.

New Video: Acclaimed Argentine Producer Lagartijeando Releases a Mischievous and Trippy Dia de Los Muertos-like Visual for “Sidreal Cumbia”

lobal electronic music circles as Lagartijeando. Zundel’s work has been deeply influenced by this travels throughout Latin America: his psychedelic dance tracks often feature traditional folk sounds from the Bolivian altiplano, shaman chants, charagano loops, Brazilian jungle beats centered around modern electronic production.

the forthcoming album’s latest single “Sideral Cumbia” is a sculptured soundscape centered around minimalist drums, a bouncing baseline, brief bursts of staccato guitar, delicate synth arpeggios, traditional Latin percussion and an enormous horn section that keeps the song tethered to the earth just before it’s about to float off into the stratosphere.

eputation for blurring the boundaries between Latin music, folk. funk and electronic music with a mischievous and trippy flare. 

Directed and edited by Lucía Cárdenas, the fittingly trippy and mischievous visual for “Sidreal Cumbia” is shot in a gorgeous and cinematic black and white and follows a trio of people wearing black robes performing mysterious rituals while skeleton wearing kids bop around. It’s dia de los muertos surreally thrown into every day life.

Mati Zundel is an acclaimed Argentine producer, musician and DJ best known worldwide as Lagartijeando. Throughout Zundel’s career, his work has been deeply influenced by his travels through Latin America: his psychedelic dance tracks often feature traditional folk sounds from the Bolivian altiplano, shaman chant and charango loops, Brazilian jungle beats and contemporary electronic production.

The Argentine producer, musician and DJ will be releasing a new album through Wonderwheel Recordings, which is slated for an October release Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Sideral Cumbia” is a sculptured soundscape centered around minimalist drums, a bouncing baseline, brief bursts of staccato guitar, delicate synth arpeggios, traditional Latin percussion and an enormous horn section that keeps the song tethered to the earth just before it’s about to float off into the stratosphere. The song will further cement the Argentine producer, musician and DJ’s reputation for blurring the boundaries between Latin music, folk. funk and electronic music with a mischievous flare.


New Video: London’s Mariachi Las Adelitas Cover Amy Winehouse

Rising London-based septet Mariachi Las Adelitas is Europe’s first all-female mariachi band. Founded in 2013 by bandleader Anna Csergo (a.k.a Anita Adelita), the act, which features a collection of exceptionally talented musicians and vocalists from Mexico, Cuba, Colombia and the UK, actively shatters stereotypes in an extremely male-orientated genre. Their repertoire includes the mariachi classics, as well as mariachi-styled arrangements of well-known and beloved classics in English.

In their almost decade-long history, the septet has established themselves as a highly in-demand live act. They’ve opened for Arcade Fire at London’s Earl Court. They’ve shared a stage with the two-time Grammy Award winning Mariachi Divas at International Mariachi Women’s Festival, where they received a standing ovation. They’ve also played the Victoria & Albert Museum and at The Roundhouse. And they’ve serenaded Selma Hayek on her birthday.

Late last year, I wrote about the septet’s debut single “El Toro Relajo.” Featuring a new arrangement by the band’s founder and recorded during pandemic-related lockdowns, the gorgeous Mariachi Las Adelitas rendition revealed a self-assured and super talented band that can really play– and a vocalist, who belts like a young Linda Rondstadt. The London-based septet’s latest single finds them crafting a loving Huapango mariachi arrangement of Amy Winehouse‘s classic, heartbreaking ballad “Back to Black.” Both versions are gorgeous –but interestingly enough, the mariachi rendition somehow manages to enhance the bitter heartbreak at the song’s core.

“Writing this arrangement was a delicate and controversial issue for Mariachi Las Adelitas,” bandleader and producer Anna Csergo explains in press notes. “Mariachi is a complex traditional art form that we want to preserve, revive and bring out into the wider world. Arranging a popular song from our hometown of London had to be done with the utmost respect and authenticity for the style. We decided that if we were going to cover a non-mariachi song we would arrange it in true mariachi style.

“Of course we also wanted to do justice to the writer herself, not make a bad copy of already great music.”

Much like its immediate predecessor, the song was recorded and produced remotely as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions. The recently released video was also shot and edited in a similar DIY fashion, so we see the individual band members performing — in full mariachi regalia — in their backyards, their home studios or their dens. The video is a reminder that for contemporary artists everywhere if there’s a will, there’s a way.

Rising London-based septet Mariachi Las Adelitas is Europe’s first all-female mariachi band. Founded in 2013 by bandleader Anna Csergo (a.k.a Anita Adelita), the act, which features a collection of exceptionally talented musicians and vocalists from Mexico, Cuba, Colombia and the UK, actively shatters stereotypes in an extremely male-orientated genre. Their repertoire includes the mariachi classics, as well as mariachi-styled arrangements of well-known and beloved classics in English. 

In their almost decade-long history, the septet has established themselves as a highly in-demand live act. They’ve opened for Arcade Fire at London’s Earl Court. They’ve shared a stage with the two-time Grammy Award winning Mariachi Divas at  International Mariachi Women’s Festival, where they received a standing ovation. They’ve also played the Victoria & Albert Museum and at The Roundhouse. And they’ve serenaded Selma Hayek on her birthday.

Late last year, I wrote about the septet’s debut single “El Toro Relajo.” Featuring a new arrangement by the band’s founder and recorded during pandemic-related lockdowns, the gorgeous Mariachi Las Adelitas rendition revealed a self-assured and super talented band that can really play– and a vocalist, who belts like a young Linda Rondstadt. The London-based septet’s latest single finds them crafting a loving Huapango mariachi arrangement of Amy Winehouse‘s classic, heartbreaking ballad “Back to Black.” Both versions are gorgeous –but interestingly enough, the mariachi rendition somehow manages to enhance the bitter heartbreak at the song’s core.

Doubleheader is a collaborative project between Arthur Comeau, a musician and producer, who has released material as Radio Radio, Nom de Plume and under his own name — and multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger Jean Massicotte, who has worked with Patrick WilsonJean LeloupLhasaArthur HAlejandra Ribera and a lengthy list of others. Interestingly, Doubleheader finds the acclaimed musicians and producers blending a wild mix of ideas, genres and sounds, including beatmaking, DJing, hip-hop, worldbeat, pop and others — as a way of showing the world what pop music can feel and sound like in the 2020s and beyond, continuing a larger push towards a genre-less world. Importantly, the duo’s sound and approach is specifically crafted to be a reflection of the world we should be aspiring to right now — a multicultural world that celebrates diversity in all of its forms.

The Montreal-based act’s 10 song, full-length debut Slim Wall finds the duo collaborating with an equally accomplished collection of Canadian vocalists including 2020 Juno Award-winning artist Dominque Fils-Aimé, 2019 AFRIMA Award-winning artist AfrotroniX, 2020 Juno Award-winner Djely TapaSamito, EIDHZ, Quentin Hatfield and TEKE: TEKE’s Maya Kuroki to create material that eschews genre and language constraints in an interesting yet accessible fashion.

Late last year, I wrote about “Djanto,” which featured achingly plaintive and evocative vocals from acclaimed Malian-Canadian artist Djely Tapa artist over shimmering acoustic guitar, skittering beats, twinkling synth arpeggios and a soaring hook to create a club-banging track with elements of reggaeton and Afropop.  Underneath the euphoric, club friendliness though, the song is actually centered by a thoughtful and much-needed message: we have to take care of our only home — and that taking care of nature involves protecting both animal and human life.

Slim Wall‘s latest single “Criddora,” is a strutting and laid back, sun-kissed jam centered around skittering beats, reggae-like riddims, shimmering and reverb-drenched squiggling guitar blasts paired with Samito’s achingly plaintive vocals, which to my ears, manage to evoke longing and desperate loneliness within a turn of a phrase. Because of our forced confinement and isolation, the song’s ache feels so deeply familiar to me — as it should to you.

“‘Criadora’ is a reggaeton with a deep luso blues flavour and laid back beats and guitars,” the rising Montreal-based duo explain in press notes. “The song tells the story of a tortured man in a state of near-madness searching for relief. Exploring social isolation and stereotyping, Samito offers insight into the perceived discrepancy between what is said about him and what he believes is true.”

New Audio: Cumbiasound Teams Up with Lis Flores Varela and Boogie Castillo on a Globalist and Funky Take on Cumbia

Daniell Fridell is a multi-instrumentalist and producer with a deep background in jazz, funk, soul and Balkan music. Throughout his lengthy professional career, Fridell has played and produced material for albums, commercials, TV and theater while residing in Denmark and Sweden. As a result of his work, the currently Sweden-based Fridell has toured across the European Union, Africa and the US.

Fridell’s latest project Cumbiasound draws from Colombian cumbia and Peruvian chic with elements of reggae, Balkan folk, Afrobeat, sou and jazz added to the mix. Cumbiasound can trace its origins back to 2010 when Fridell was first introduced to cumbia. “2010 I heard cumbia the first time while standing outside of a supermarket eating ice cream,” Fridell explains in press notes. “It was blazing hot and all of a sudden this music came out of the speakers. ‘What’s that?’ I asked and the rest is history. A true love affair.”

Earlier this year, Fridell released his Cumbiasound debut, Vol. 1: Instrumentales, a critically applauded effort that found the Swedish-based multi-instrumentalist and producer collaborating with Erik Axelsson (trombone, euphonium) that received attention across the blogosphere for being a blissful bit of escapism — and for being an oddity in our increasingly globalized world. South American cumbia convincingly done by Swedes and other Scandinavians? Uh, why not?

Fridell caps off a successful year with his sophomore Cumbiasound EP, Cosas del Universo. The EP, which sees Fridell collaborating with vocalists Boogie Castillo, Lis Flores Varela and José Pereelanga and frequent collaborator Erik Axellsson continues where its predecessor started off — but while digging deeper into several different styles of cumbia paired with 70s Palenque rhythms.

Interestingly, many of the collaborations on the five song EP can be traced back a couple of decades before: Fridell first met Chilean-born, Swedish-based emcee and vocalist Boogie Castillo in the mid-90s, when Castillo was a member of Helsingborg, Sweden-based hip-hop act DOSS. They managed to meet again in 2012 and they collaborated on a couple of early Cumbiasound tracks, including Fridell’s Cumbiasound debut “Calzones Largos,” which was released on the net label Caballito. Considering it a great time to get together to finish old ideas and create new music, Fridelll and Castillo wanted some additional flavor on the EP, so they recruited Lis Flores Varela to contribute her vocals.

Simultaneously, Fridell had been working with Congolese vocalist José Pereelanga on a number of different occasions and invited the Congolese vocalist to broaden the effort’s overall sound. Fridell and his collaborators are hoping that with Cosas del Universo, they have crafted material that can appeal to a broad audience — while adding a Scandinavian twist.

“Maz Paz,” Cosas del Universo’s first single is a breezy yet dance floor friendly anthem centered around shuffling, Latin polyrhythms, a looping and fluttering flute line, an Afrobeat-inspired guitar line, a sinuous bass line and an infectious hook. Boogie Castillo and Lis Flores Varela contribute impressive and inspired turns rhyming and singing to the mix. “Maz Paz” finds the act crafting an infectious and funky bit of cumbia with a globalist and genre-defying bent.