Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Montañera: A Flor de Piel Album Assessment


A Flor de Piel, the brand new album from Colombian artist Montañera, cultivates readability from communion. You possibly can hear blunted traces of the nation’s folks music throughout the file, however “Como Una Rama” is among the album’s clearest summonings. At first, solely her elastic vocals dangle within the air, stretching and sprawling into the thickness of the ambiance. Her voice begins reverberating into echoes, as if a refrain of ancestral spirits have joined her. Right here, Montañera sings within the custom of bullerengue, a folks type of music and dance developed by maroon communities (enslaved Africans who escaped bondage and fashioned their very own settlements) on the Caribbean coast of her homeland. Earlier than lengthy, her voice short-circuits, glitching into ripples of fuzz, like a spotty radio transmission. All that’s left within the haze is the steadfastness of her voice.

A Flor de Piel transmits centuries of cultural reminiscence, however the hissing electronics and serene synth preparations remodel the music into greater than mere homage. The album chronicles tales of rebirth, transformation, and self-discovery, typically by way of the purifying and regenerative motifs of water and flora. However despite the fact that María Mónica Gutiérrez’s journey is private, her muted interpolations of people kinds recommend there may be ample data in community-based traditions. A Flor de Piel isn’t just a chic instance of folkloric reinterpretation; it’s additionally a treatise on the liberatory gestures which can be attainable whenever you reimagine musical family tree. In Montañera’s fluid chronal continuum, folks music isn’t an historic artifact, however a dwelling, respiration entity that was all the time meant to free us.

Take “Santa Mar,” which options Cankita (from the group Bejuco) and Las Cantadoras de Yerba Buena, a bunch of conventional musicians from Colombia’s Pacific coast, led by girls from Tumaco. The observe is an providing to an aquatic deity whose holy water possesses cleaning and life-giving properties. On it, speckled marimbas de chonta and orotund vocals, sung within the type of currulao, are shepherds for cycles of life and demise. A repeated chant renders the apply of singing as a conduit for renewal: “Take heed to my tune, which comes and goes from the water/Wetting the earth in order that new life might develop.” Whereas pursuing her grasp’s diploma, Gutiérrez studied vocal traditions from the Colombian Pacific coast, investigating how singing is usually a software for peace-building within the aftermath of violent battle. Although different songs on A Flor de Piel solely gesture at this sort of therapeutic, in its lyrics, “Santa Mar” is a literal declaration of people music’s healing capacities.

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