I’ve been getting really into world music lately. World music, meaning music that wasn’t made by “Western” culture of the US and UK, is a bit of an ignorant term but it seems like the only blanket term I can label music from Peru, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Mali, Japan, Vietnam, Russia, etc. Ah well, I’ve found that music from other countries past is a refreshing breath of air getting away from the pop music of today and even most of the stuff I listen to.
Now, getting into this fantastic group: El Polen is a band from the Andes mountains in Peru and they made a wonderful hybrid of psyche/hippie rock that was popular in that time and traditional Andean music. Their songs include instruments like flutes and jangling percussion, they sing in Spanish and the vocals are set in these infectious, layered harmonies. The album, Fuera De La Ciudad, is ripe with sincere energy and raw emotion and is lo-fi in the sense that it was recorded in one take, it’s all very live. There are little fuzzy spots and blips in the recording, but it sounds like the band crowded in one small room with friends and created a work of art. There isn’t a single part of this album I don’t like. It’s warm like a handwoven sweater and feels like a gathering of all your closest family and friends celebrating life with you.
The song that I’ve chosen to showcase is probably the most “Western” song out of the album, featuring a guitar line I’d expect to hear in an old folky song from the 60’s/70’s and a bassline that I’d probably hear in like a soul song by the Temptations or something. There are a few violin solos and they’re really jazzy and sound improvised yet confident. Then the dreamy, harmonized vocals come in and remind me a bit of Beach Boys a bit, a bit of Panda Bear too. Then another violin solo comes in that bounces around in the soundscape like a jovial bride romping around in an open field. It’s a really fun song, much like the rest of the album. So if you like this, you have so much to listen to after that you’ll love. Check out “Mi Cueva” below:
If you loved that, you can download the whole album here
I’ll probably have a world themed music show on WHUS next semester, so watch out for that as well!
Have a great day!