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Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: Bad Bunny – nadie sabe lo que va a pasar mañana

Nobody knew the Latin sensation would release this unexpected album.

On October’s mysterious Friday the 13th, Bad Bunny released his fifth solo studio album nadie sabe lo que va a pasar mañana, which translates to “Nobody Knows What Will Happen Tomorrow,” once again defying the laws of the reggeaton sound. 

Fans only got a few days’ notice of the album’s upcoming release, insinuating that nobody really knew what was going on. But the Latin sensation is back with a new album—Bad Bunny caught fans off-guard. 

Steering away from the traditional reggaeton sound, Bad Bunny brings classical harmonies in the intro track “NADIE SABE” (nobody knows) and in “MONACO.” “NADIE SABE” is solely composed of violin and cello while Bad Bunny sings about living in the present moment and taking control of your own life. 

“MONACO” pays a heartwarming tribute to the late French singer, Charles Aznavour, with the classic violin intro to “Hier Encore” starting the song, only to switch gears to hard rap. The song’s interlude is a passage from Aznavour’s classic, referring to how he “caressed time and played with life like we played with love and lived the night.” 

“MONACO,” “NADIE SABE,” and “TELEPHONO NUEVO” are the more mysterious tracks as they start with softer tempos before and then they catch you off guard with a rougher tone. He uses a lot of dialogue and sound effects to transition from both beats, namely a Formula One car engine playing on top of the interlude and a phone dial saying “the number you have dialed has been changed.”

“TELEPHONO NUEVO” starts off with a softer beat until he announces “[he’s] gonna change his number, we’ll call later” before Luar La L’s new number dials in with hard rap. “VOU 787” starts off with Madonna’s “Vogue” intro, accompanied by claps before the beat drops and Bad Bunny attributes how “now [he’s] a model, a photo for Vogue.” “SEDA” (silk) is slow and sexy with a pop flare, holding a “hiding in the sheets” energy. All three tracks add an expensive connotation to the album: silk as the “fancy” material, fashion dominatrix magazine Vogue, and a brand new phone. Bad Bunny gives riches a new sound. 

This album is quite different from the previous four, steering away from the tranquille summer vibes and reggaeton beats, to the eccentric pop, hard rap and classical. Bad Bunny makes several references to pop culture and powerful, strong figures such as Rocky Balboa, Lionel Messi and Diego Maradonna, who are mentioned several times throughout the album. 

nadie sabe lo que va a pasar mañana is a mystery album where each song is different, yet their unique style represents who Bad Bunny is as an artist. It’s an experiment of different genres, styles, and themes, questioning what it means to live life. It’s an anthem about what the album is truly about—a giant question mark that all you want to do is find the answer to. No one knows how or if they can put their finger on it, but that’s the beauty of album number five. 

Trial track: MONACO

Score: 9/10

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Music

How Brazilian funk groove in the Montreal party scene

Even more powerful than the language of the songs is the catchy beat that crosses borders.

In the heart of Montreal’s vibrant and diverse nightlife scene, a new rhythm is electrifying the city’s dance floors: the Brazilian funk. The genre that has been synonymous with the lively streets of Rio de Janeiro, is fast becoming the latest sensation in Montreal’s buzzing nightlife. From the shores of the favelas to the lively atmosphere of the city, the infectious beats of this genre have found a new home in this Canadian metropolis showing that Brazil has progressed far beyond samba or bossa nova.

Scottie Tippin is a resident DJ at Le Mal Nécessaire, a bar on St. Laurent. “The resurgence of disco and funk in 2023 in Montreal is massive,” he said. “I have a ton of funk as an influence because it is a genre good for everyone. It’s in no way polarizing for an audience.” 

The artist said that once you start playing anything funky, the requests come in spades. “I’m fully invested in funk following the steps of amazing DJs like Shogo, Walla P, and Akpossoul,” Tippin added that Brazilian samples inspired by Bossa Nova are also part of his inspiration. 

Renowned artists who incorporated funk references into their songs gave space for new artists to enter the music scene. Madonna, for example, joined Brazilian artist Anitta on “Faz Gostoso,” a song that not only invested in the funk beat but also sang sections in Portuguese. Anitta, in turn, not only took advantage of this chance but also worked alongside other artists such as Maluma, J Balvin, Cardi B, Major Lazer, Saweetie and Becky G, among others, in order to promote the genre through other languages, such as English and Spanish. The singer is currently the winner of two VMAs for Best Latin Video and was nominated for a 2023 Grammy as Best New Artist. Funk has room to grow.

In Montreal, Rabaterapia is a strong funk reference. The project started last year with the mission of bringing people together through the power of dance, specifically Brazilian funk and pop music. “Montrealers have shown interest in our classes, predominantly fueled by their intrigue for Brazilian funk,” CEO of Rabaterapia Priscilla Sanchez said. “We believe that this genre has a universal appeal that helps people to transcend borders.” 

According to her, introducing funk to Montreal has allowed Rabaterapia to add another layer to the eclectic art scene, offering Montreal an opportunity to dive into a dance form that is both exciting and deeply rooted in cultural significance. “We feel very proud of introducing a piece of Brazilian culture here. Every beat and move of funk is an expression of our spirit,” Sanchez added. “Our project aims to serve as a cultural bridge introducing them to the dynamism and vibrancy of funk while fostering a sense of community and shared experience.”

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Music

Mexico Sexi Time is finally here

The Toronto-based artist has released her latest album after three years in the vault.

Enter Chiquitamagic, a songwriter and DJ originally hailing from Bogotá, Colombia, but now based in Toronto. She just released her fifth album, Mexico Sexi Time, on Feb. 21, and boy oh boy is it Sexy Time galore. 

Chiquita Magic’s real name is Isis Giraldo – her stage name chosen “Because I’m smol,” she said. The artist has mixed Latin melodies and rhythms with electronic synth-based and drum machine hardware to create an experimental fusion of cumbia, choral, and reggaeton funk.

The Concordian spoke with Chiquitamagic about her artistic process and Mexico Sexi Time.

 

The Concordian: How did you come up with the name Chiquitamagic? 

Chiquitamagic: It was such a long process. I first went by Chiquita because I thought it was cute and I’m small and that’s what people would call me. It’s also intergenerational because my mom is small too. However it didn’t capture the essence of the music in any way, and the word magic is so fun. It used to be two words but now it’s one because two words seems like such a statement. It’s these minor details that only you as an artist obsess over.

TC: What instrument did you start playing on?  

CM: I was studying jazz piano when I was little, and then I started to veer off into other things, like A440 stuff and my ears were getting tired of listening to it so I wanted an instrument with a more microtonal variation. So I found synthesizers and then I went on tour with a band called the Brahja Waldman Quartet, which used to play in Montreal for a while.     

TC: Mexico Sexi Time is a very intriguing name that hooks the avid music listener in. What is the meaning behind it?

CM: I wrote the whole album in Mexico. I was going through a phase in my life where I wanted to feel detached from things and just be comfortable in my own body. I went and rented an Airbnb in the Coyoacán area in Mexico City. I was spending a lot of alone time, where I wanted to confront some of my insecurities and demons about showing my body and showing lyrics that were more explicit than some of my works. It was like an exploration phase of feeling sexy and feeling good and feeling empowered.  

TC: You said Mexico Sexi Time took you three years to produce. What were the reasons? 

CM: It took me a really long time because I did it all myself and I wanted it to be perfect, or at least perfect the way I saw it in my head. There would be like 53 versions of the mix and then [I’d] do six bounces of the masters before I felt like it was right, and then editing all of the videos. There were just a lot of phases to producing the whole thing.

TC: For your first track “A Tu Lado (up)” the acapella is wonderful. What music trick made you come up with it?

CM: I didn’t come up with it originally as the first track, but I wanted there to be some kind of choral element because I love choral music and I grew up singing in choirs and that’s always been a strong part of my music, having lots of voices and layers and stuff. In the context of the album, I would play around with where it was and it would be a good place to open up the universe (of the album).    

TC: As a synth nerd, I loved hearing the drum machine and synths behind “Ganas De Bailar.” Is there a specific period in your life that you can remember mixing Latin music with drum machines and synths?

CM: In my live shows, I was already playing around and mashing reggaeton beats and cumbia beats, even with some funk. I definitely wanted it to be a song where women and people could go out to the dance floor to have fun and dance. It just came pretty naturally and I programmed it on a drum machine called the Roland TR-09, which is modelled off of the 808 but a mini version. 

TC: Run me through the process of collaborating with other artists. Was it enjoyable collaborating with them?

CM: Oh my god, they are the most amazing musicians, I greatly admire them so it was such an honour to have them on the album. I pretty much had the tracks done by the time I asked them to come in and they all lived in the same house in LA at the time and so it was really chill to set up my interface and have them do it. The process was amazing. 

TC: What genre would you define the album as? It feels really sultry sometimes.

CM: I think that it’s kind of a mashup of Latin funk, reggaeton and jazz. That’s how I hear it. It’s definitely influenced by subgenres of rave culture, like there’s definitely techno, jungle and a little bit of dubstep sprinkled in there. I think every artist has the issue of categorizing but basically what I want it to be is fun to listen to, to put on and enjoyable dance to. Those are the adjectives I’d describe it with because the genres are so hard to label.  

TC: How long did it take to write each song on average? 

CM: It was all very different. There are 11 tracks on the album. I rented the place in Mexico for a month and I wanted to get everything done by the time I left. I wanted the album to have a specific vibe so I didn’t set any parameters for myself, I’d go on long walks and would listen to the demos and put them in different orders to see what would take shape and then on my walks I’d say, “Okay, now I’d like to hear something fast,” and would go home and write something more fast.

TC: How has writing this album changed you? 

CM: I still can’t even believe that it’s been released to be honest, because it’s been on my laptop for years and no one has seen it. Just last night I released a video for “Ganas De Bailar” and it was all ready to go but I watched it once more and had to re-edit it because I wanted it to be perfect. It’s changed me and it will continue to change me. When this whole release is done I will go back to it and still feel like it changes me because it’s forcing me to see a side of myself that I don’t feel comfortable showing. It’s kind of like this internal mirror of yourself and you keep looking into it to remind yourself of who you are.   

TC: How did COVID-19 affect you as an individual and as an artist? 

CM: I mean those are really tied together for me, because my life as an individual is reflected in my life as an artist. It was hard, it was a crazy thing to live through, that we’re probably going to see the effects for a really long time whether it be mental health or the exhaustion of people. We’re still not over it completely. For me personally a lot of things got pulled, cancelled and postponed. The whole paradigm of being a performing artist is unclear: how long it’s gonna take and if it’s gonna come back. Obviously professionally that was the whole vibe and for my business ventures it was kind of catastrophic. It’s affected me but at the same time life has its changes, so at the same while it’s something the whole world has experienced together, that’s just the natural flow of life, the uncertainty of it. In fact even with releasing this [album], it’s more of a “Let’s just do it,” because you just don’t know what’s going to be around the corner. There isn’t a perfect time to do something, you just have to do it when it feels right.  

TC: Is there anything else coming up in the works for Chiquitamagic? 

CM: Honestly I’m kind of focused on releasing the rest of this rollout. I have two more videos that are coming out and supporting the visual element of the album. Also just touring, I’m going to be in the States, trying to hit LA, San Diego, New York City, and also I want to come through Montreal and Toronto. 

 

Visual from Chiquitamagic

Categories
Music

Al Di Meola celebrates 40 years of Elegant Gypsy

A pioneer of jazz and world fusion music returns to Montreal to perform his recent album, Elysium

Taking us around the world, one song at a time, is jazz-Latin fusion guitarist and composer, Al Di Meola. Known for blending world music and jazz, Di Meola explores the rich influence of flamenco, tango, Middle Eastern, Brazilian and African music. He is currently touring across North America, performing his most recent album, Elysium. This tour is also a celebration of the 40th anniversary of his record, Elegant Gypsy. The eclectic guitarist will be performing in Montreal on Feb. 25 at Salle Pierre Mercure. Joining him on his tour is Philippe Saisse on keyboards and marimba, Gumbi Ortiz on percussion, Elias Tona on bass, Luis Alicea on drums and violinist Evan Garr.

Di Meola has already performed 11 shows across different cities in the US—the tour began on Feb. 7. He said this tour has been better than his previous ones. “This is the best edition of the band. I put a lot of time into the rehearsals,” Di Meola said. “This isn’t a jam session—it’s people getting the best of fusion, and a lot of work goes into it.” This won’t be Di Meola’s first time performing in Montreal. The Montreal Jazz Festival awarded him the 2015 Miles Davis Award, which honors a great international jazz musician for the entire body of his or her work and that musician’s influence in regenerating the jazz idiom.

Growing up outside of New York City exposed Di Meola to a melting pot of different ethnic music. “My love of Latin music goes on since I was a kid. We had great choices of music, I went to many rock shows, I saw everyone under the sun,” Di Meola said. At 19, his international music career began when he joined a fusion quartet. By chance, a friend of Chick Corea—an American jazz and fusion pianist, keyboardist and composer—sent Corea a tape of Di Meola’s quartet’s live performances. Corea then hired Di Meola in his fusion supergroup, Return to Forever.

Portrait of jazz/Latin fusion guitarist and composer, Al Di Meola. Photo by Erin Cook (Jensen Team).

“Having the good fortune of being 19 years old and touring Europe and getting turned on by other ethnic music from France and Spain—it opened my world,” Di Meola said. Touring in South America, he said, also brought new influences to his music, such as tango. “What you get out of Brazil is so rich. When we are in a certain kind of teenage period, we absorb everything,” Di Meola said. His music teacher also helped him develop his musical style. “I was drawn to popular music, but my teacher was a classical, old-school jazz player. That gave me the best of both worlds,” Di Meola said.

Over the past four decades, Di Meola has released more than 20 solo albums and a dozen collaborative records with the Return to Forever supergroup, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia’s acoustic guitar group, and the Rite of Strings band

Al Di Meola’s music goes deeper than words could ever express. Photo by Erin Cook (Jensen Team)

with bassist Stanley Clarke and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. According to Di Meola, his most recent album, Elysium, was written during a difficult period in his life. “What kept me sane was taking the advice of a couple of friends who said I should write music as a way to channel the pain that I was going through,” he said. He locked himself in the studio and played and wrote music, which he said took his mind off the negatives. “What came out from my guitar, as different and strange as it sounded, I wrote it down. Personally, things started to change. I went from one extreme to another, which explains the title of the album, Elysium, which is a beautiful place to be,” Di Meola said. Elysium was written through the experience of automatic writing, he said. “It was like forward motion, no stalling. By doing that, I came up with a ton of stuff.”

At first, Elysium was meant to be an all-acoustic album, until Di Meola decided to play electric guitar again. “The electric guitar gave it a little twist—it’s a very different record than my previous ones,” he said. Di Meola’s key for remaining productive can be summed up in one sentence: “The rule in my life is to never watch TV without a guitar in my hand,” Di Meola said. Sometimes, he said, it is when you are not completely focused that you can come up with things that are unusual.

Di Meola is looking forward to being back in Montreal this Saturday. “Montreal is probably my favourite place to play because I have always felt welcome here. There is a very strong community that appreciates fusion music. I am really excited to play with this band,” said Di Meola.

Di Meola’s show takes place on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8 p.m at Salle Pierre Mercure. Tickets are available online. Regular tickets start at $69.00

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