A New Mexico band with international roots will bring their danceable music to NM Tech’s Macey Center next. The Performing Arts Series features Baracutanga on Friday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Before the show, enjoy a Latin Vibes PAS social hour at 6 p.m., featuring a Chivita sandwich with homemade chips (beef and all the traditional fixings), plus cash bar with piña colada specials, and hopefully a salsa dance workshop by the NMT Swing Club. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at nmt.edu/pas. PAS Director Ronna Kalish says she cannot guarantee that tickets will be available at the door.
Even Baracutanga’s name evokes scenes of dancing, doesn’t it? Don’t know how to do the “batucada?” How about cumbia or samba? No? No problem. The music is easy to dance to. In fact, “Baracutanga = People Dancing,” promises the band.
Their music will urge you to get up and start moving, but making people dance is more than just having a good time. For Baracutanga, it’s part of their message.
“A dance floor is a representation of an ideal world, because people of different ages, cultures, political views, religious backgrounds are together dancing and having fun,” says Kilko Paz, who most often plays charango, a small stringed instrument popular in South America.
Other instruments you’ll see are horns, vibes, accordion and Andean flutes, with a rhythm section of drums, electric bass and guitar. The members of the band met in Albuquerque in 2009 and connected over their love of Brazilian music. Their first sessions together were drum jams in the raucous samba style known as batucada.
“Then we realized that most of the members played some other instruments like guitar, saxophone, charango, bass, flutes, etc. and we decided to experiment/incorporate those skills,” said Paz.
Since then, the band has been winning accolades, getting people to dance, and spreading their message of non-violence and cultural diversity around the Southwest and west coast, from Mexico into Canada.
The core group has remained through those dozen years: Paz, who most often plays the charango, is from Bolivia; bass player Carlos Noboa is from Ecuador, and powerhouse vocalist Jackie Zamora hails from Peru, while drummer and percussionist Nick Baker, guitarist/accordion player Casey Mraz, and Micah Hood, who plays trombone and flutes, are from the US. Some members are university trained. Others are self-taught musicians.
Their first album, recorded in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Cadiz, Spain, was released in September 2015, enlarging their circle of enthusiastic supporters.
Their newest recording, Volver Atrás, was released last month. It features songs that dig deeper into the band members’ musical roots, “interpreting and mingling folkloric genres such as Brazilian samba and forró, cumbia, Andean huayno, and Colombian chandé to create the perfect sonic blend for an album about where we all come from and where we are going,” they say.
Baracutanga creates songs that cross linguistic and cultural barriers, and in doing so, they say, builds bridges between the south and the north, “overcoming the barriers of discrimination and promoting intercultural experiences that empower Latinos and all people with a positive message of self-affirmation.
“We promote non-violence and our music as a vessel to increase and acknowledge cultural pluralism,” said Paz.
“When you are moving your body and you hear something, it goes in deeper than if you were just sitting still,” observes Nick Baker. “Once everyone is moving, the audience is halfway to absorbing Baracutanga’s message of community, pride and cross-cultural unity.”
Socorroans were treated to Baracutanga’s unique fusion of South American musical styles at the Socorro Sessions Primero de Mayo Fest back in May.
“So many people at that event urged me to bring them for a concert,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish. “The band impressed us all with their musicianship and breadth of music.”
Their members urged Kalish to bring them back, saying, “We have a different show for the theater. We’ll get people up and dancing but we will also give them a lovely concert for listening. Bring us back!”
Baracutanga will be at NM Tech’s Macey Center on Friday, Nov. 19. Tickets are available online and through the PAS office. Tickets are $15 for adults; $12 for seniors and $5 for youth. NM Tech students may get a free ticket with their NMT ID at the door. The concert is sponsored by Van and Sandy Gilbert, the Tech Graduate Student Association, New Mexico Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The band promises that by the end of the evening, you will be delighted, exhausted and, they hope “feeling a little closer to their harmonious ideal.”
Bring some cash to buy their newly released CD.