Monday, April 26, 2010

Rita Indiana y Los Misterios - Another Example of the AmericanPupusa

Wow! I don't know much about her... but the little I see, its one of the most future-forward Latino musics I've seen. I'm still figuring it out this 'AmericanPupusa" concept, with a few attempts at defining it (see my Jean Michael piece, the soundsystem piece, the American Pupusa definition)... but Rita and "La Hora De Volver" brings reinforces some ideas and thoughts on the subject.
First thing I noticed were the synths. Those relentless synths screamed at me as a sound not used too often by Merengueros, at least the ones I've heard. Completely abandoning the traditional piano loops and horn sections (vestiges of the Disco influence I think from Johnny Ventura's innovations), they complement the way music is being produced now across Hip Hop, Dubstep, Future Garage, Indie Rock, and American Pop of bright neon retro-80's sounds. Rita confirms this in this interview about her travels to New York and being exposed to music there.

The simple key hit also brings a sense of minimalism and brutal purism in the sound that I really dig... a tribute to DIY and Punky "I don't give a fuck, I'll do it my way" art. [note: I love pitched up synths]. This adaption of 'future' sounds (synths have been in use since the late 60's and early 70's... but still carry this) bring this genre to a futurism that ties it to the revolutionary Afrika Bammbatta's "Planet Rock" and Prince Jammy's "Sleng Teng" riddims of tying the old and pulsing it forward with the new.

Obviously I'm TOTALLY digging her look and swagger, which is absolutely inescapable. Her height was talked about in no less than five minutes into the interview. Again, I see body-politic at play like Yellowman where we have a 'non-traditional' body at the forefront of musical innovation. There is a level of androgyny here with her chiseled features and short hair. There is the color as well has her height at play. Put all these together and we have an anti (or pro)-masculinist stance of menace and fearfulness.

As far as lyrics and drums, if I understand correctly, this track is a doble-sentido on epic scales... talking about cultural return, death and life, or physical immigration and travel. Gone are the overt themes of sexual innuendo, love songs, sexual predators, woman leaving me, thongs, ass, and so forth. Its not political, it's just life. Juxtaposing this 'return' to the future reinforces the whole idea of futurism soundsystem music like Kuduro and Hip Hop... again tying the past with the future and the present. Finally, the drum patters are much more polyrythmic, moving away from the 4/4 house beats of traditional mainstream Merengue and placing the throwback to more African/Black and poor people's music (Merengue Ripiado in particular). This also cuts into the shuffle sought after by UK Garage producers.

The throwback rhythms remind me of the 'old-school' flavor of "Pepe" and the Dem Bow beat. Calling out to Reggaeton and Merengue, these tracks are a huge flare to the sky about the need to bring it back to the dirty, gross, future funk that we loved about the music in the first place. But just like we all run from Pepe... most mainstream music folks fear the funk...

1 comment:

annano said...

nice piece! i LOOOVE Rita--can't wait for 10/13 album release. I'm not Spanish speaking but i love the sound of the lyrics. Kinda dying to get translations. I know it's really slangy but is there any way...?