But playing consistently, even deliciously, in 4/4 time or making eldritch noises with the musical instrument of your choice ain’t all there is on this big blue marble.
And in fact, the idea that Western popular music should recognize, be accountable to and ultimately have the sublime influence of what is going on in the rest of the world is an idea that many rockers discovered when they had gone sour on the rocanrol music.
Sometimes, better yet, this evolution happened when some sought to expand their horizons, turning audiences on to a harmonically and rhythmically satisfying truth that many were subconsciously craving after overhearing stuff like reggae and jazz as they tripped from Downtown venue to house show and back again, and so on, ad infinitum.
And so Ginger Baker went off to Africa to study with Fela Kuti. And so Peter Gabriel re-invented himself in the ’80s and helped encourage a new bifurcation in the big tree that grows and sings for our culture. Locally, back in the ’70s, guitarists like Manny Rettinger formed outfits like Martian Funk Ensemble and later Animal Opera to address the phenomena of world music—and then the Broadway Elks became Wagogo—a form of popular jamming that incorporates rock instrumentation and compositional techniques, African, Latin and Caribbean poly-rhythms and a deep sense of grooviness meant to connect humans through the experience of mutual hearing and subsequent dancing. Here in 2018 the form is on the rise in Burque again, thanks to dedicated musicians and club-filling audiences looking for the next big wave to hit.
If you still aren’t clear on the concept, ask the folks at Mariposa Music. We did. The cool collective is gearing up for World Beat Spectacular 3.0, happening Friday, Aug. 3 at Sister (407 Central Ave. NW). Weekly Alibi met with the alluring and entertaining core membership of the soulful sonic enclave (Mariposa directors Christi Sanchez and Alex Paramo, Chris Brennan of Revíva and Kyle Molina and Kira Gone of Da Terra Meiga, to talk about—what else—la música, la cultura and the sea change coming to popular tuneage, courtesy of the rest of the world.
Weekly Alibi: Alex, tell me all about the project you’ve got going here.
Alex Paramo: This will be our third version of the event. We’ve moved it around to different locations. We’ve done one at Dialogue Brewing, one at the Launchpad, and now we are planning to put the show on at Sister. The whole intention behind this is to bring different forms of world music together at one venue. Our headliner, Marujah, is like Latin punk. They’re from San Diego, where the scene is really burning up with genre-bending bands.
They’re totally desmadre, que no?
Yeah, but in a good way, combining elements of ska, reggae, dub, cumbia with a punk political philosophy. It’s going to be a trip.
It turns out that those kind of sounds are what draws the big audiences in Burque.
Chris Brennan: Yeah, some people don’t know there’s a big scene for salsa or a scene for reggae. They’re really huge. For reggae, Revíva embraces a lot of variations; Da Terra Meiga is Celtic fusion with folk influences.
I noticed that Revíva really works diverse musical influences, from cumbia to ranchera. How do those disparate elements come together?
It’s a blend of music. For us, we don’t view the band as being a reggae band or a rock band. Reggae purists may say we aren’t reggae enough. Rock purists may say we don’t rock hard enough. But when we think of the band as something new, the sum of the parts, then that becomes world beat music. That’s what it’s about, mixing together different parts into something new; the listeners can be surprised by that newness. It’s really cool to play without borders. That concept [of borderlessness] has had a huge impact on Revíva.
As the music scene in general evolves in Albuquerque, how do you envision the place of world music in El Duque?
Kyle Molina: I think it’s always been a force in this town. Sometimes it’s been hidden, but Alex is working toward bringing all of that together. Revíva has been a Burque institution for some time, but this festival is about expanding our sphere of influence.
Kyle, I’ve been fascinated by Da Terra Meiga for some time and people have been pointing to your work, telling me to listen carefully. Could you please fill Alibi readers in on the deets?
Honestly, I’d say I was lucky to meet Ruben Ares, he’s the lead singer and songwriter. Da Terra Meiga is Ruben, we help make it come alive. We each bring our parts to the ensemble, but he composes the songs. I met Ruben through a mutual friend. I was born and raised here in Burque and this is my first serious musical project.
What’s important to you as an aspiring young musician in Albuquerque? How will you help grow and evolve the scene?
Right now—how do I say this—the scene is really about combining strengths. Years ago, shows used to be more singular. If you went to a ska show, that’s what it was, a ska show. Lately there’s been a lot more inclusiveness, especially at house shows. I want to be part of that.
If someone came up to you and asked what Da Terra Meiga was, what it really meant, how would you answer?
It’s love. It’s an act of pure love to play that music. I really like the feelings I get from playing those songs. It’s a very beautiful creation.
Alex Paramo: I think the great thing about Da Terra Meiga is their instrumentation. They have a digeridoo player. Laura Cruz, who is Afro-Cuban, brings her sense of rhythm to things. There is also a Celtic folk element and of course, Kyle brings a steady, creative beat to the whole sound. Christi who books our bands, is always on the lookout for such interesting sonic combinations.
Christi, what does Mariposa Music mean to you?
Christi Sanchez: I grew up with the music scene here in Albuquerque. My brothers were in a band called Stoic Frame. I’ve always been a chronic observer, soaking up the sounds as they come and go. I’ve paid a lot of attention to what people are listening to, measuring their responses to various genres. Finally, I approached Alex with ideas about what was really working in this town, music-wise and what was not. World music is exciting to audiences. People want something different, the thrill of the new. World music has recognizable elements, but it’s a departure from the ordinary, too.
World music is more complex than straight forward rocanrol. Why do audiences want to listen to such music?
It’s groovy music; you can get down to it. People are pleasantly surprised when they hear what Mariposa Music has to offer.
Alex Paramo: There is not really an alt.Latin scene here in Albuquerque yet, like in Southern California. Those sounds are really driving pop culture on the West Coast. Bands like Marujah, Revíva and Da Terra Meiga, together at one festival, is part of an attempt to get that going here.
Christi Sanchez: We want to make that sound available to audiences here. It’s the combination of sounds and influences that makes world beat so alluring.
Alex Paramo: Da Terra Meiga also features a dancer, which adds to the complexity.
Kira as the dancer for Da Terra Meiga, how do you view your contribution to this multi-faceted art form?
Kira Gone: It’s really transformative, transcendent. I hadn’t really danced before this. I was working in the field of martial arts, but the music these guys makes really evokes dance, it really leads listeners to a trance-like, ecstatic experience. Dancing makes the whole experience into something ritualistic.
That sounds totally chill. What other reasons are there for coming out to your show on Friday?
Alex Paramo: Everyone who comes should be ready to dance. There’s going to be a lot of dancing going on. Marujah, being from San Diego, represents a style that may be totally new to Burqueños. That’s really exciting; that mix is so fresh, you just gotta groove to it.