Sonic duo Lulacruza consists of Alejandra Ortiz of Colombia and Luis Maurette of Argentina. Their partnership brings transcendence to our ears. Their sound is trance-inducing; their spirit is rendered tangible through speakers, as transformational solely through sound waves as on stage. Their newly-released sixth album, Orcas (Jumpsuit Records, 2015), was named after the ever inspiring South Pacific island they recorded upon. Invoking the roots and origin of music itself, it is simple, soulful and enchanting.
We had the honor of learning about the music making process from the musicians themselves. Listen to Orcas as you read along and delve into Lulacruza’s world.
WS: Please tell us about your process and the personal significance of fusing ancient rhythm and chant with modern technology.
Ale: I feel that I'm in an altered state when I receive the songs... I don’t compose them or write them, but it’s more like I channel them. Then, I sing them to Luis, as they came to me: with melody, lyrics and harmony. And between us, we choose the sonic environment for each one, with both folk and electronic instruments, with Luis adding all of the sound design and most arrangements. To be honest, this is a rather natural process for us, as I imagine it was for musicians in the past to use rattles, drums, flutes….The songs come and want to be sung, we just use the tools that are available and at hand.
Luis: There is something very powerful in ancient ritual music, which is not often found in contemporary sounds, and which has been a strong draw for us for many years. It's hard to define it because it’s very mysterious, but what happens with a majority of ancient ritual music is that it breaks open our present reality and allows other realities to be seen, or at least felt. We have been in the presence of this music time and time again, and once you experience it, any resemblance of it brings you back to what you felt and saw during that time, almost as if an indestructible memory has been awakened inside. These are powerful experiences that cannot really be described. People use all sorts of images and metaphors to express the inexpressible. And in a way, music is the perfect tool for exactly that.
Even though we resonate deeply with this older ritual music, we also live in a modern world, where we are exposed to all sorts of music and artists, aesthetics and genres, and so it is also a natural process for us to try and translate the powerful elements found in ancient music into a modern-world, musical language.
There are certain artists and movements that for us best evoke this mystery. For example, to us, late 90's, early 2000's electronic dance music was as close as modern music got. The feeling of collectively dancing and going into a state of "trance" was a close reminder to Cuban batá or other trance-like rituals, where people are possessed by spirits.
WS: If a listener absorbs one message from your music, what do you hope for them to understand?
Ale: Perhaps, that we actually have the capacity to create our reality... and thus, that we can feel whole again, part of a community, part of nature, part of the cosmos. Our creative potential is limitless and, if used consciously, anything is possible.
WS: What does Wild mean to you?
Luis: Wild is that which we have no power over. There is something incredibly enticing about going into the wild, experiencing the wild. It's about losing control, handing it over—to mystery, destiny, whatever you may want to call it. Even though as a society we build tools for more and more control, there is also an innate quality in all of us that yearns [for] the chaos. It’s part of what makes us human.
During our lives we all have to grope with the fact that, at some point, we all completely let go into the wilderness that is death. There is nothing more wild than death, and though we don't necessarily see it, death is something that we interact with in ourselves on a daily basis.
Take a peak into Lulacruza's stirring visual album directed by Vincent Moon:
For updates and performances follow Lulacruza on Facebook.