Global Beat México: Sergio Arau, Ibrahim Maalouf, Victoria Sur

Written by Marion Hodges

Let’s get cosmic, with Ibrahim Malouf, Victoria Sur and Sergio Arau. Ibrahim Malouf photo by Boby Odieux, and Victoria Sur and Sergio Arua photos courtesy of the artists.

KCRW’s Global Beat is a series highlighting emerging artists from around the world. Our second season takes us to México, hosted by KCRW DJ Raul Campos alongside our curators, México City DJ and music supervisor Junf, director of Festival NRMAL Moni Saldaña, and NPR’s Betto Arcos.

Live from Fingerprints Records in Long Beach, it’s Global Beat: Cosmic Barrio. NPR’s Betto Arcos joins Global Beat host Raul Campos for a cozy chat to unpack the intention behind Arcos’ ambitious new book “Music Stories from the Cosmic Barrio.”

The “Cosmic Barrio” is a liminal, globe-spanning space where anything goes so fittingly this week’s selects take us from CDMX-based rockers riffing on Bach, to French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf in collaboration with the masterful American jazz-baritone Gregory Porter… and many points beyond.

More: Global Beat México: Hypno-psych, acoustic romps, nu-disco grooves

Sergio Arau – “Tocada y Fuga (Feat. Andrea Echeverri)” 

Riffing on Johann Sebastian Bach’s doom-signaling composition “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor,” this cheeky rock number tells a tale as old as time of a crowd-pleasing band with a shady manager who absconds with all of their money. 

Considering the Latinx music royalty involved in making this one — Mexico City's Sergio Arau from the legendary band Botella de Jerez singing lead, with additional vocals provided by powerhouse singer Andrea Echeverri (Aterciopelados) — it’s no wonder this packs such a punch.

Ibrahim Maalouf – “Capacity to Love (Feat. Gregory Porter)”

No trip to the Cosmic Barrio would be complete without some truly cosmic jazz. French-Lebanese artist Ibrahim Maalouf has mastered a specialized  four valve trumpet which was designed by his father Nassim Maalouf

“Capacity to Love” presents an expansive soundscape punctuated by profound lyrics. It’s made all the more resonant by the presence of renowned American jazz baritone Gregory Porter. 

Victoria Sur – “Chabuca Es”  

The equal parts reverent, and boundary-pushing Colombian singer-songwriter Victoria Sur has a particular fascination with Peruvian culture. “Chabuca Es” serves as an homage to legendary Peruvian songwriter Chacuba Granda, known as something of a Bob Dylan figure in her home country. 

Within this deceptively simple acoustic folk number, Sur makes reference to Granda’s classic compositions, and plays with Afro-Peruvian rhythms that have the added bonus of sharing a few  commonalities with the most delightful aspects of Brazilian Bossa Nova. 

More: Global Beat México: Transatlantic cumbia, regional chill, D‘n’B

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