Music
11:29 pm
Sat August 9, 2014

'Global Village' Presents New Collaborations In Latin Music

Originally published on Sat August 9, 2014 4:17 pm

World music DJ Betto Arcos joins NPR's Arun Rath once again this weekend on All Things Considered to share some of the music he's been spinning on Global Village, the show he hosts on KPFK in Los Angeles. This time around, Arcos presents four collaborations between female singers and guitarists, a list that includes a duo re-imagining traditional Mexican music, jazz crooners and more. Hear his conversation with NPR's Arun Rath at the audio link above.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

If you're just joining us it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath. I've got a familiar face in the studio with me now, a familiar voice to you out there. Our friend, world music DJ, Betto Arcos. And I can't think of a better welcome back to the West Coast then to have you, Betto, sitting in front of me with a stack of CD's. Good to see you.

BETTO ARCOS: It's great to see you and it's always wonderful to be here.

RATH: So I was excited when I heard about your theme for this week. Tell us what you've got.

ARCOS: Well, I'm a big fan of the guitar. I play guitar myself and occasionally I do sing and even with my wife. We have a duet going on. And I think one of the best things about music is guitar and voice and especially guitar and female voice. So I prepared a set of four guitarists and four singers, four female singers because every duet that we're going to be featuring today has a different quality, a different approach to singing and to playing the guitar.

RATH: Nice. Well, let's hear your first song. This is a song called "Claveles." Let's hear a little bit of that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CLAVELES")

ARWEN LAWRENCE: (Singing in Spanish).

RATH: That is beautiful. Tell us who that is.

ARCOS: This is a duet from the bay area. The guitarist is from Mexico. His name is Jorge Liceaga. And she's American. Her name is Arwen Lawrence and they have a group called Cascada de Flores, which means waterfall of flowers. And what they're doing here is they're interpreting an old Mexican song from the pennisula of Yucatan where there's a great musical culture called trova yucateca. And she is singing in the style known as bambuco which is a very, very African influenced style of music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CLAVELES")

LAWRENCE: (Singing in Spanish).

RATH: It sounds very traditional. Is it just a retro take? Or are they doing something new with this music as well?

ARCOS: They are reimagining it because the traditional way of playing and singing this one is not exactly the way she does it. But she is reimagining it. She is giving the song much more modern, much more present, much more current quality to to it. And I love how Jorge, who plays the guitar, meets up with her voice. It's just a beautiful pairing of the two.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CLAVELES")

LAWRENCE: (Singing in Spanish).

RATH: Next up you have a collaboration between a flamenco guitarist and a Latin jazz singer. Tell us a little bit about that.

ARCOS: This is a jazz vocalist Mancos Arreola (ph), a jazz vocalist originally from Mexico living in New York. And flamenco guitarist and producer Javier Limon.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NATURE BOY")

ARCOS: And what they're doing here is they're taking a standard called "Nature Boy" - classic American song - but they are taking us a little bit into andalucia (ph) with this beautiful kind of flamenco style called solapur polyuria.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NATURE BOY")

MANCOS ARREOLA: (Singing) There was a boy, a very strange enchanted boy. They he wandered very far, very far, over land and sea. A little shy, but so am I.

RATH: So jazz by way of Spain but still a fairly traditional sound.

ARCOS: It is but I think what's interesting here is that she is not singing flamenco. She's really interpreting her own way but he's meeting her somewhere in the middle and creating something completely new.

RATH: If you're just joining us I'm speaking with Betto Arcos. He's host of the Global Village on KPFK here in Los Angeles. And he's brought a brunch of new music with him. OK, Betto, what's next?

ARCOS: I want to play this song by this singer from Catalonia, her name is Sylvia Perez Cruz, accompanied by this fantastic guitarist who plays in this case the electric guitar. His name is Raul Fernandez Miro.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PICCOLO VALZ VIENNESE")

SYLVIA PEREZ CRUZ: (Singing in Spanish).

ARCOS: And she's singing this song that is the poem by Federico Garcia Lorca, the great Spanish poet. But it's the music of Leonard Cohen. The song is called "Piccolo Valz Viennese" which in the U.S. it's known as "Take This Waltz".

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PICCOLO VALZ VIENNESE")

CRUZ: (Singing in Spanish).

RATH: Her very passionate style of singing, it almost reminds me of some of the Balkan female singers or like the Fado singers of Portugal.

ARCOS: Absolutely. The thing I love about this singer, Sylvia Perez Cruz, is that she takes somebody else's song and she owns it. She makes it her own song. And this is what she does - not just in the song but throughout this record, which is just a beautiful album called "Granada." And again notice in this sound you're going to hear a bit of that kind of Sonic Youth, Nine Inch Nails, rocking guitar. I love this contrast of that sweet voice against that sound of the electric guitar.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PICCOLO VALZ VIENNESE")

CRUZ: (Singing in Spanish).

RATH: OK, Betto, we have time for just one more. What's that going to be?

ARCOS: This is a singer Kavita Shah and guitarist from Benin, Leonel Loueke. And the song they're going to perform is going to perform is called "Oju Oba."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OJU OBA")

KAVITA SHAH: (Singing in Portuguese).

ARCOS: Now you notice she's singing Portuguese. She sings in Portuguese, in Spanish, in English. She's a polyglot. She studied at Harvard University. She's got this amazing dexterity with musical languages. And it's just like she owns the song. She wants to almost tell people that this song was meant for her.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OJU OBA")

SHAH: (Singing in Portuguese).

RATH: It's amazing, I mean, she's billed as a jazz singer but she seems pretty hard to classify.

ARCOS: Absolutely. I really think that what she's doing something completely new.

RATH: I tell you, the Indian-American jazz artists these days are doing well - Viche Ire (ph), Rudarsh Muharnthapa (ph), and Kavita Shah is amazing.

ARCOS: Fantastic. She's a really wonderful - I'm looking forward to her next record. This is a beautiful album. It's called "Visions."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OJU OBA")

SHAH: (Singing in Portuguese).

RATH: In the studio here with me, this is Betto Arcos. He's the host of Global Village on KPFK in Los Angeles. Betto, it's always a blast having you here. Thanks for coming by.

ARCOS: Thank you so much for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "OJU OBA")

SHAH: (Singing in Portuguese).

RATH: And for Saturday, that's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.