There’s plenty of life in Dona Onete‘s singing, as if the 77-year-old just discovered the joys of love and romance and can’t help but to sing. Her whole life story (read below) is quite remarkable and enhances the Amazonian rhythms.
“Dona Onete – ‘the grande dame of Amazonian song’ – returns with further tales from the river Amazon on her sophomore album Banzeiro.
Whether she’s championing gay rights, singing about the delights of indecent proposals or praising a former lover for his ‘crazy ways of making love’, Banzeiro is defined by Onete’s honest reflections on life, love and sex, as well as her delight in the everyday pleasures of life in the Amazon, whether that’s spicy seasoning, salty kisses or fishy-smelling water.
Formerly a history teacher, folklore researcher, union representative, culture secretary and children’s author – “I never thought I would be a singer” she claims – Onete recorded her debut album Feitiço Caboclo at 73. A cult figure in Brazil and an ambassador for Amazonian culture, the music she sings is a unique mix of rhythms from native Brazilians, African slaves and the Caribbean – epitomised in the joyous carimbós that are her trademark.”
It’s a shame that we haven’t had any new music from Biorn Borg since 2012 – this Ecuadorian band writes some killer riffs and has fantastic energy. Positive, weird alternative guitar rock, please come back!
“Biorn Borg takes its name from the six-time French Open champion tennis player. The band was born with the idea of rocking forward with a straight face. Their lyrics are direct, provocative and full of urban poetry. Their live act emphasizes a powerful and polished sound with an electrifying feel.”
The latest release from Argentina’s Pakapi Records is La Danza del Agua, a massive collection highlight the very best, and very weird, of American music.
From the label:
“”La Danza del Agua” is an eclectic musical journey led by 38 artists throughout America. Exploring new territories for a label specialized in South American music, this compilation seeks new and exciting sounds in the vast continent from digital cumbias, sound experimentation, freak folk, noise, danceable beats and much more, mixed together to give life to this multiple edition that will be out in mid-July as its first online volume (of two that compose it) and a co-edited cassette version between Was it Das? and Pakapi Records.”
While we wait, check out the label’s latest release below.
Already a big name in Chile, Gepe‘s mellow folk-pop should be in your collection as well. Check out this great profile of the Chilean artist via Remezcla, and check out his latest music video below.
“Chilean indie titan Daniel Riveros — better known as Gepe — has taken a glittering baseball bat made of sparkly electronics and smashed down every wall that stands between traditional South American folk music and contemporary pop. He’s tinkered with reggaeton, re-energized huayno, and reconstructed cumbia. His style functions like a magical lava lamp, perpetually leaving fans in a state of marvel over his amorphous, incandescent creations…The master of reinvention has flaked off layer after layer to deliver a 10-song album that is minimal and largely acoustic. The songs are so scaled back, they would be forgettable if they weren’t so catchy, and they bring out Gepe’s unvarnished ear for melody and simplicity — a side he showed audiences briefly on his solo debutGepinto in 2005.”
Low Dream, one of the best Brazilian shoegaze bands you’ve probably never heard of, is finally on streaming services. My personal favorite is their second record, ‘Reaching for Balloons,’ which best captures the band’s love of Jaguar guitars, lust, and the Velvet Underground.
From Midsummer Madness:
“The two albums, the first demo and a compilation of extras [are] re-released for streaming platforms. Available in digital format here in mmrecords since 2001, ‘Dreamland’ (the demo), ‘Between My Dreams & the Real Things’ (1st album), ‘Reaching for Balloons’ (2nd album) and the compilation ‘Soundscapes’”
Colombia’s System Solar is a musical-visual collective that makes music as vibrant and fun as those sweet Tron outfits, and “Rumbera” is the Latin American groove I needed to get myself ready for the Olympics.
The collective takes Afro-Caribbean vibes and blends it with hip-hop, house, and techno to create a sound that’s best heard on stage – the group’s self-described sound is called “Berbenautika,” which is a fusion of Pikos (sound systems) and Verbena (festival). It makes sense then that the band has made its name in America during its appearances at SXSW- if you go next year, make sure to check them out.
The group’s new album should be released sometime this year.
Lila, the stage name of Eliza Lacerda, perfectly captures that feeling of being on a Brazilian beach as the sun is setting and all the lights of the clubs and restaurants start to turn on. I’ve never been to Brazil, but it works for any beach. If I go to Rio one day, I’ll dive into Lila’s ambient yet soulful atmosphere and never want to leave.