Laru Beya - Aurelio
When humans finished their nomadic wanderings, they picked out a good spot on this big, blue ball to settle down and raise a culture. But, not everyone got a choice in the matter. A slave boat crossing the middle passage from West Africa shipwrecked on the Caribbean island now known as St. Vincent. The survivors and their descendents hooked up with the Callingo, offspring of the Arawak Indians and Carib locals, producing a distinct new culture called the Garifuna. In 2007, Andy Palacio turned in the most buzz worthy album in world music circles since the Buena Vista Social Club. Called Watina, the disc opened ears to a language and culture that by modern time had all but faded into extinction. In 2008 a massive stroke claimed his life, but today, a good friend of Palacio has released an album in his memory. Again, Laru Beya by Aurelio Martinez opens our ears a little farther than we’re used to in compelling and soulful ways. At the heart of each composition is the beat of more familiar Central American rhythms like punta and paranda but also semi-sacred African pulses like hungu-hungu and gunchei. The voices of Garifuna women, the likes of which endeared us on the Umilali follow-up to Watina make a strong contribution. But, no voice is more haunting or beautiful than the languid, elastic electric guitar strokes of Mamandou ‘Jimi’ Mbaye. He provides a modern and contemplative aura to the tunes which have been masterfully contemporarized by Aurelio’s producer and friend Ivan Duran. Laru Beya is the highly anticipated second release on Sub Pop’s new trans-cultural label, Next Ambience which brought us the fabulous I Speak Fula by Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba. This release only strengthens our confidence in the label’s ability to provide fresh and evocative listening of global importance.