009 - Lulacruza
The latest instalment in the Métron Musik Mixtape series sees a return to South America and to another duo pushing traditional latin sounds toward new boundaries. Lulacruza is Luis Maurette & Alejandra Ortiz, multi disciplined musicians hailing from Argentina and Colombia respectively. Maurette provides the diverse electronic backbone, percussion and charango (A small Andean lute), Ortiz brings beautiful vocals as well as a wide variety of her own instrumentation. Together for over a decade they form a powerful duo capable of sounding both ancient and modern within the same breathe. Their beautiful new LP 'Orca' can be purchased on their bandcamp page, along with many of their other releases - I also highly recommend their visual album from this year which you can watch in full here.
Upon first hearing their debut mixtape I was initially surprised by the selection of British IDM/electronica (no spoilers), but upon reflection the contrast perfectly details the genesis of the duo’s unique sound. In a modern age where music travels further and faster than ever before we’re being treated to unusual hybrids, artists influenced by their ancestral heritage, the cultures in which they reside but also from far reaching sources around the world. It’s within this modern paradigm that Lulacruza’s music, and their mixtape resides. And that’s what Métron Musik loves. So here it is, Lulacruza’s very first mixtape. Amongst the 19 tracks on display here are half a dozen of their own works slotted beside an alchemy of sounds, past and present, from Latin America and beyond.
I had a quick chat with Alejandra (AO) and Luis (LM) about their work, the influence of British music & the British/American colonial complex - here’s what was said:
JH: There’s a few British artists included within your mixtape (as well as your cover of ’Tha’) - I wondered how much British music has impacted the creative process of Lulacruza?
AO: I grew up listening to a lot of latin american folklore as well as British music! I remember very clearly the very fist time i heard Pink Floyd, for instance... It was so deep, and so trippy, i loved it... When we started sharing music between Luis and I, ten years ago there was a lot of British music present, as you can hear in the mixtape.. There was a lot of ceremonial ethnic music and folklore, but also IDM, techno.., which we consider to be the tribal music of our time. We were very lucky to grow up with such a wide range of good music around us. For us there was no distinction, it was just good music.
JH: One of the main goals of Métron Musik is to help promote music from outside of Europe, or areas of Europe and genres under represented in mainstream, and mainstream underground music circles that are heavily dominated by American, Canadian, British, Australian and Central European artists, specifically English language musicians. As South American artists do you feel that you are under-represented in mainstream music in ‘Western’ societies and if so does that bother you?
LM: We are definitely under-represented in the mainstream market. And I think it's mostly a language barrier. European/American culture has had an "imperialistic" approach since they went out to conquer the world, at first as religious missionaries, later as economic and political concepts and more recently with cultural dominance. And they have been quite successful at it, American movies are shown almost all over the world, and music in english has been our "common denominator". This influence is very strong because behind it is a lot of money promoting and pushing it. And it changes people's lives everywhere, little Argentine girls who dress up like Disney princesses, and a "model lifestyle" that is directly altered.
The biggest global music market is in english, and that's why artists all over the world end up singing in english to expand beyond their local region into a global market. There are tons of examples, from Shakira to Fela Kuti. But in more recent years the global music scene has grown. I feel there is a little bit of an exhaustion or saturation in western music, so much of it thats sounds the same, that people are looking for regional and local sensibilities. People are thirsty for african and latin american sounds, and how there merge and dialogue with western sounds.
Language is still a barrier, most people connect to music through lyrics, but even that is changing. We make music in spanish yet our biggest fan base is in the US, people connect not so much to the lyrics but to the music in it's entirety, to the feeling and the vibration they sense when listening to Lulacruza. We hope these barriers continue to fall and that a globalized world is also a plural and heterogenous world.
JH: If you could work with anybody, a producer, a musician, visual artist, author, filmmaker from any era, who would you most like to collaborate with?
LM: What a difficult question. There are so many people that we admire and so many artists that have influenced us in one way or another. I feel there is still so much music to be made, so much to be said about our humanity, our roots and the dreams we conjure of our future. I would like to create music and art that stands firmly in these visions but that is able to penetrate into a bigger arena of exposure, in contact with more people. I would love to work with visionaries, people who are not afraid to express their vision beyond the status quo, and the trends of the moment. There are hundred of examples: Sebastião Salgado, Brian Eno, Wade Davis, and many many more.
JH: So what’s next for Lulacruza?
AO: 2015 has been a very intense year for us... We released 2 albums: Orcas and the Esperando el Tsunami visual album . Yet, we are already working on our next album!
In 2016, we are releasing a series of remixes off Orcas by some of our favorite electronic music producers (the single by Nicola Cruz is already out: http://music.lulacruza.com/album/orcas-remixed-single ). We will also tour in the US, play Australia and Bali for the first time, and are working on our first European tour. Its a very fertile period for us, and we are enjoying it a lot!
JH: Finally can you recommend a couple of records that we might not know?
Mucho Indio "Mucho Indio"
Richard Young "The Naïve Shaman"
Kristine Barrett "The Spirits in my Blood Sing to me at Night"
Varios Artists "Palenque Palenque! Champeta Criolla and Afro Roots in Colombia 1975-91"
Sexteto Tabala "Colombia: Los Reyes del Son Palenquero"
Nicola Cruz "Prender el Alma"
Grupo Socavon "En Memoria de Nuestros Ancestros"
JH: Plenty of stuff to get through there! Best of luck with the remixes and your touring in 2016. Thank you again for all your energy on this project, it’s a real honour to have collaborated with you.
The original artwork below was created exclusively for the mixtape by Jack Hardwicke.
1- Traditional Song by the Waunana from album "Itinerario Musical por Colombia"
2- Lulacruza - Nina Tusuna
3- Barrio Lindo - Yaguareté abá
4- Lulacruza - Cucarachero de Nicéforo
5- Mashup // Pygmee Chants + Spieltape & Shamil - Morning Paper
6- Traditional Tule (Cuna) from album "Itinerario Musical por Colombia"
7- Lulacruza - SImple Reflejo
8- Mount Kimbie - Fifty Mile View
9- Chancha via Circuito - Jardines (feat Lido Pimienta) (Nicola Cruz Remix)
10- Lulacruza & Barrio Lindo - Otoño Primavera
11- Mucho Indio - Wayunaki
12- Mashup // Boards of Canada - Amo Bishop Roden + The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Femal Choir - Pilentze Pee
13- Aphex Twin - Tha
14- Aphex Twin - Tha (Lulacruza Remix)
15- Grupo Bahia Trio - Rumba Juankita
16- David Last - Live at Priceless 2009
17- The Lijadu Sisters - Orere Elejigbo
18- Lulacruza - Casa Redonda
19- Lulacruza - Montañita