Global Beat México: Leiden, Bial Hclap, Vanessa Zamora

Written by Marion Hodges

Spare sounds, heavy impact via Leiden, Bial Hclap and Vanessa Zamora. Photos (L-R): TedX Tecate, courtesy of Bial Hclap and Dama Leona.

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.

Betto Arcos is back with more selects, a taste of what’s to come when he joins KCRW DJ Raul Campos to host our Global Beat: Cosmic Barrio live event and episode on Apr. 5 at Fingerprints in Long Beach.

Arcos will discuss his book, “Music Stories from the Cosmic Barrio,” a collection of 150 stories from his travels across the world of independent music, each the story of a moment in time. Look forward to a Q&A, book signing, and a special guest performance by Guatemalan singer-songwriter and Latin Grammy winner Gaby Moreno.

“I feel like all the stories that are included in the book are timeless stories about music and creativity … in [musicians’] places, in their homes … interviews that I did with musicians on the road, backstage, in a restaurant, in the studio,” Arcos says of his writing process. “I wanted to have a physical symbol of the work that I've been doing in support of the stories of musicians that I care about.”

Experience it all up close and personal during next week’s 100 percent free event.  

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Leiden – “Las olvidadas” 

Cuban-born, Guadalajara-based singer-songwriter Leiden's latest project has landed her in prison(s). Leiden’s 2022 LP VOLVER AL CORAZÓN (Canciones testimoniales compuestas con mujeres en prisión) is a collaboration with Mexico’s Plan B — a foundation that turns women's prisons into true learning centers — that gives incarcerated women the space to share their stories through song.

The lyrics to “Las olvidadas” (The forgotten ones) were written by María Dolores de León Torres. Leiden went to great lengths to ensure that each woman that she worked with on the project received a legally recognized songwriting credit. Torres was released from prison last year after being wrongfully held for a crime that she didn’t commit, and we invite you to inhabit her powerful words set to Leiden’s sprightly and straightforward guitar folk accompaniment.

Bial Hclap – “Fuerza Vocal (Feat. Pat Boy, Mixe Represent, Zara Monrroy, & DJ Rakalku)”  

Guadalajaran DJ and producer Bial Hclap brings together an expansive, multilingual collaboration to craft this slinky and seductive hip-hop track: Sonora-based Zara Monrroy sings in the Comaac Seri language. Out of Quintana Roo, Pat Boy performs in Maya. Oaxacan artist Mixe Represent (naturally) represents the Mixe language. And the production comes from Mérida's DJ Rakalku. Sounds eclectic, indeed. 

Vanessa Zamora – “MORIR NACIENDO” 

Relax into this slow burning (possibly inspired by psychedelics) indie-orchestral number from Tijuana multi-instrumentalist Vanessa Zamora, who hails from a lineage of pianists. And file this name away for future cool points: Zamora and her band are at the epicenter of a thriving Tijuana scene. 

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