When I first read the description for Pablo Malaurie’s music, I didn’t know what to make of it. “Tropical Japanese music.”
It was such a weird combination that all I could picture in my head was a 10-piece Merengue band wearing Kimonos. Once I finally heard the single, “Carmencita,” I realized that the description poorly represented a masterful blend of two distinct genres of folk music.
On his solo debut, “El festival del beso,” Malaurie combines both Japanese and South American folk rhythms with a minimalist approach. Some songs recreate traditional Japanese melodies simply using a mandolin banjo and a haunting falsetto. Others integrate rhythms more akin to indigenous music of the Andes.
Add to that introspective lyrics and his affected Argentine accent and you’ve got the perfect soundtrack for a road trip in the Japanese countryside ala Motorcycle Diaries.
Considering that Pablo Malaurie used to play guitar for porteño rock band, Mataplantas, I can’t help but wonder where the inspiration for this sound came from. It’s sincere in its approach and so beautifully simple. I can’t stop listening to it.
Stream “Tripa Corazón”
— José Galvan