Las Lloronas is a young band that emerges in Belgium’s capital Brussels, and which offers their compilation of thirteen songs with multilingual messages. Their name ‘Las Lloronas’, means ‘The Crybabies’ in Spanish, but beyond that point, they continuously evolve in a multicultural environment, with melodies composed mostly by themselves with lyrics in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew, ...
As mentioned in the album booklet: “...We are inspired by a quality often present in folk music. The quality of expressing deep-felt emotions, coming from the guts, real and raw. This gives raise to a shared experience where musicians and listeners together are soaked in a sensation that goes beyond words and talks straight to the body…”.
Although the formation of the band as it appears in the images on the CD are the three female members, Las Lloronas are: Sura Solomon (accordion, ukulele & voice), Amber in ‘t Veld (guitar, glockenspiel & voice), Marieke Werner (clarinet & voice), Mateusz Malcharek (double bass), Vanesa Díaz Gil (saxophone & voice), and Francisco Leal Vázquez (trumpet).
The first song 'Lagrimas' ('Tears'), is a calm and sad melody with initial lyrics in Spanish, which changes to French and swings back to Castilian, and where the accordion, the ukulele, the clarinet, the guitar, and the double bass, develop the instrumental background that represents the melancholy in the poem. The second, 'Seasick', is a totally relaxed piece where the guitar, the ukulele and the voice represent a story immersed in an ocean of nostalgia and wandering emotion.
'Bukra' enters a territory where history, religion and ethnical confrontation have entangled its inhabitants in a hopeless labyrinth; the so-called ‘Holy Land’. The lyrics are in both Palestinian Arabic and Israeli Hebrew. ‘Strange Growth’ is a short beautiful instrumental piece for saxophone, clarinet & accordion. A very curious, seductive and entertaining album from start to finish, with sweet and charming voices, insightful messages, feminist perspectives ('Mutation') and a multicultural framework.
I cannot judge about the other languages, but although the writers and singers in most of the melodies do not have surnames in Spanish, their utterly perfect pronunciation and intonation in Castilian (central Spanish) surprises in all the lyrics, like: ‘La Bruja Mariposa’, ‘Me Confio’, ‘Entre la Sal’, or ‘Prayer’, the ancient prayer in Hebrew shared by the different Jewish communities around the globe. This quality is notorious even in the brief introduction to the popular song ‘María la Portuguesa’, composed by Carlos Cano (Granada, 1946-2000), as a tribute to the great fado singer Amália Rodrigues.
This is another brilliant work supported by the Belgian Muziekpublique, the non-profit organization that specializes in folk and world music, and that since 2008 is also a record label that promotes professional artists living in Belgium and around.
Photo Credits: (1)-(2) Las Lloronas (unknown/website).