022 - Kaleema

Heidi Lewandowski, aka Kaleema, is a woman of the world, born and raised in Argentina to a family with diverse European ancestry, educated in New York, a resident of Bogota for a few years before finally moving back to Buenos Aires. Her musical journey is no less nomadic, with a background in Violin, to exploring Hip-Hop, Jazz & R&B whilst studying electronic music production at SAE, New York, to working with German producer and Kompakt label stalwart Gregor Schwellenbach in 2014, and now, studying Piano and composition whilst working on her debut LP as Kaleema. It’s a resume that speaks to the eclectic nature of her work and the intense passion Heidi has for music and culture.

One of our favourite DJ/producers, and great friend of Métron, El Búho, tipped me off about the work Kaleema was doing and upon hearing the lead track from her new LP I was keen to work with her. It’s therefore a real pleasure to present the 22nd Métron Musik Mixtape, a powerful 50 minute journey showcasing Kaleema’s incredible sonic palette including three exclusive tracks including a typically wonderful remix from the aforementioned El Búho, as well as a beautiful collaboration with one of my favourite vocalists, Lido Pimienta, to close out the mixtape. It’s a clear demonstration of Heidi’s musical talents that she has managed to knit together an eclectic set which retains an underlying aesthetic focus throughout. It’s a rich and fascinating listen.

Kaleema is a producer with an incredibly bright future ahead of her and well worth keeping your eyes peeled and ears open for her debut LP dropping later this year. In the mean time you can follow her work on her Soundcloud and find out if she is playing near you on her Facebook page.

I spoke with Heidi about her musical education and the recent problems facing Argentinian live music venues.

JH: I was interested to read about your musical education, studying music production in New York and playing the violin. How have these experiences shaped your production?

HL: Playing acoustic instruments like the violin and piano is essential in my musical production, for me it's as important to compose with the piano as to compose using production software. The development of the ideas comes through contact with the instrument, then I bring it to the computer.

My academic formation allowed me the capacity to take lots of tools with which I was later be able to realise my own musical exploration, and to dare to keep experimenting outside of classical and jazz. Studying in New York was very important because there I was able to fully immerse myself in the creative process and spend hours in the studio playing and composing.

Playing in orchestras and collaborating with jazz, hip hop, and R&B artists was also inspiring because it gave me space to improvise with rhythms and textures that I hadn't worked with before.

JH: The mixtape features some new material that is due to feature on your debut LP, can you tell us about the new record?

HL: Yes, I'm finishing my first album, Nomad, which has 10 songs including collaborations with other artists like Chancha via Circuito, Lido Pimienta, and Sara Hebe. I gave myself freedom to play and experiment with african-american rhythms mixed with acoustic instruments like flutes, pianos, harps, and other stringed instruments. The album is very influenced by dancehall, trap, and hip hop; but there are also more Andean sounds and some purely African sounds as well.

JH: What was the thought process behind this mix?

HL: The primary idea was a mix for traveling, but it also makes you want to listen to it any time of day. There is a guiding thread between the songs which is difficult to explain in words but makes sense when you listen to the entire mix.

JH: What have you made of the recent response by the Argentinian government to the fatalities at Time Warp and the closure of nightclubs and banning all dancing to live or recorded music in Buenos Aires? I imagine this is a cause for concern for performers all over Argentina?

HL: Yes, there have been strong responses to the tragedy in Time Warp and we are all waiting to see what will happen now. The decision to prohibit dance parties doesn't make sense because it's not going to make people stop taking drugs. That ruling was revoked the same day it was made because it was absurd. The government doesn't have anyone to hold responsible for the deaths and that causes them to make senseless decisions.

JH: You’re from Argentina but your grandfather is Polish - is there any part of your music that you feel stems from your European ancestry?

HL: I think my music is very influenced by my familial roots. All of my grandparents were immigrants, from Lebanon, Spain, Italy, and Poland; they were nomads who decided to travel to South America. I think there's an unconscious search for roots in my musical search, like a strong love for ancestral music and folk music from the whole world.

JH: Can you recommend us a few records we may not have heard?

Lately I'm listening to many albums by Uakti, a project from Brazil. I especially recommend their disc Aguas de la Amazonía. Also Prender el Alma by Nicola Cruz from Ecuador, and the band Evha from Ecuador as well. From Argentina I highly recommend the disc Gratitude by Los Espiritus and  "Vestiges and Claws" from José González.

JH: Thanks so much for putting together a beautiful set for us. Has been a pleasure collaborating with you.

HL: Thank you Jack, for the invitation! It's been a complete pleasure collaborating with you.

Valentin Stip - Angst
Eachothers - Heavy Swim
Co La - Burning one in Stockholm
Lucky Dragons - Mirror friends
Kaleema - Nómada (El Búho remix)
Valentin Stip - Hiathaikm
SidiRum - Nidos
Kaleema - Copal
Kaleema - Sempurna
Blocktreat- Botton pusher
Chancha Via Circuito - Encantamiento
Lido Pimienta - La Capacidad (Kaleema remix)

Original artwork for the mix created by Jack Hardwicke.
Métron Records 2018. Hampshire, UK.