Music that renews. Music that heals. Music that revalues, bringing together tradition and modernity, past and future. María José Llergo, Sofía Kourtesis and Sinego released albums to put on repeat, to dance in the dark or under the big spotlight. Silvana Estrada’s new single comes as a wonderful promise. Fresh sounds brought by the autumn winds.
María José Llergo – ULTRABELLEZA
Flamenco is experiencing a new boom. It has been mixed up, modernized, renewed and popularized again. It probably had something to do with Rosalia’s global stardom, as well as C. Tangana’s great collaborative work for El Madrileño. Originally from Andalusia, although trained in the music schools of Catalonia, María José Llergo emerged on the scene in 2018 with the single “Niña de las Dunas”. In 2020 she released her EP debut Sanación, addressing injustices such as discrimination, displacement and machismo. That same year she stood out performing “La Luz” for A COLORS SHOW. In 2022 she won the Goya for “Best Song” for “Te Espera el Mar”, from the soundtrack of the Spanish film Mediterráneo. Now it’s finally the turn of her full-length album ULTRABELLEZA.
Foreshadowed by the acclaimed “RUEDA, RUEDA” and “SUPERPODER”, Llergo’s new album turns her Andalusian foundations – based on the long-standing traditions of flamenco singing – towards the lands of pop, along more sophisticated sound paths such as those of nu R&B and electronica. ULTRABELLEZA is a celebration of the transformative power of love, an ode to diversity. It’s inspired by that kind of love, a love without cracks, barriers or prejudices, as a source of power. María’s honey voice raises that emotional manifesto to share a resilient and empowered message. These songs don’t hide who she is, but instead celebrate who she has become through hard work and suffering.
Sinego – Alterego
Different sounds and cultural expressions from Latin America come together in Sinego’s new album Alterego. Conceptually subdivided into El Día and La Noche, the album tries different styles, creating unique atmospheres, but always focusing on its common thread: dance music. Born in Bogotá but based in Mexico City, he’s become a cultural explorer for this album – he even pointed out Anthony Bourdain’s culinary traditions as inspiration to embark on a journey through the diverse landscapes of South America, Central America and the Caribbean. “I aimed to unravel the essence of distinctive rhythms such as boleros, tangos, and mambo, and craft a multifaceted auditory expedition,” he said.
Sinego describes Alterego as “a musical odyssey that delves deep into the rich tapestry of Latin American cultures through electronic music.” The album opens by naming an eminence of Ecuadorian culture, giving way to the charming singing of Tonina Saputo in the dreamy “Boa Noite”. There are more guest voices for more soundscapes, from the Mexican Pahua in “Sol” to the Chilean Fernando Milagros in “Espiral”. And others were invited directly to the party, from Angélica García in “Quema” to Cucu Diamantes in “Tropicana”. House music producer, DJ and multi-instrumentalist, he’s become the new face of Latin electronic music, a key figure in understanding the new position of the scene.
Sofía Kourtesis – Madres
Music heals. Sofía Kourtesis’ new album is another irrefutable proof of this. Madrescarries a story of overcoming that begins when Sofía, in the middle of a tour, shortly after the death of her father, receives the news that her mother has been diagnosed with cancer. Her mother’s health deteriorates and she becomes desperate, turning to social media to try to contact Peter Vajkoczy, one of the best neurosurgeons in the world. Vajkoczy finally takes care of Kourtesis’ mother, even though it’s a high-risk operation. She survives. Today, mother and daughter can enjoy each other’s company. It’s easy to be moved while we dance, excited, between sighs of joy, to the electronic beats of “Madres” or “Vajkoczy”.
Born in Peru, but living in Berlin since her late teens, Sofía Kourtesis has become one of the most striking artists of the Latin electronic scene. In 2019 she released her self-titled debut EP, followed by two more EPs, 2020’s Sarita Colonia and 2021’s Fresia Magdalena. Last year she began to preview her album Madres with the single “Estación Esperanza”, a kind of remix-remake featuring Manu Chao, based on the song “Me Gustas Tú”. Of course, Sofía addresses other topics, such as her queer identity and the Berlin nightlife that take over house gems like “Si Te Portas Bonito”. Peruvian cultural influences emerge in songs like “El Carmen”, to achieve a blend of folkloric rescue and avant-garde electronica.
Silvana Estrada – “Qué Problema”
“For me, it’s a letter to unrequited love,”Silvana Estradaexplains about “Qué Problema”, the brand new single she produced herself and has just released, even though it’s a song she wrote a few years ago. “When two people love each other but only one has the will to try. I think it’s a difficult situation to handle, people aren’t clear, we come and go. We make a lot of trouble for not saying things. This was my attempt to say them.” Here, she returns to the layers of acoustic sounds and calm rhythms that suit her cozy, enveloping voice so well. A beautiful song to mitigate the wait for this year’s Latin GRAMMY, where she’s nominated in the “Best Singer-Songwriter Song” category for her viral anthem “Si Me Matan”, inspired by the constant and regrettable femicides that plague Mexico.
Originally from Coatepec, a mountain town in Veracruz, Silvana Estrada grew up in a house where not only music was made, but also instruments: her parents are luthiers, and musicians came to her home daily. Nowadays she’s one of the greatest talents of the Mexican indie scene. She had an overwhelming 2022, starting with her breakthrough album Marchita, continuing with her EP Abrazo, and being crowned as “Best New Artist” at the Latin GRAMMY. This year, not to be outdone, she’s been preparing the ground for what follows, releasing three singles for now: a quite respectful version of “Tom’s Dinner” by Suzanne Vega, “Milagro y Desastre” and “Qué Problema”.
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Cover photo: María José Llergo via María José Llergo